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How to Make Friends After a Breakup

By Ashley Edwards Walker

Breakups are never easy. Romantic partners are often the people we rely on for daily support and care, and when those relationships end, it leaves a huge void, prompting us to look for other fulfilling relationships. “When people lose that closeness, assurance, and daily kind of affirmation of getting your needs met, we naturally want to diversify and expand the places where we feel cared for,” says Jeffrey A. Hall, a professor at the University of Kansas who has studied friendship. This can feel especially important if your friend group has shifted, you’ve moved to a new city, or you’re just looking for a fresh start. 

If you’ve recently gone through a breakup and are looking for a new friend, Bumble BFF is here for you! However, keep in mind that your first calls after a breakup should be to established friends and family members. “If someone is emotionally vulnerable or if they’re feeling sad or hurt, it’s hard to start new friendships based upon those emotions,” Hall explains. You have a better chance of attracting new and lasting friendships when you can approach new relationships with a sense of “fun,” he adds. And that makes sense: just like you need time to heal before jumping back into the dating pool, you should be equally mindful about getting to a good place post-breakup before pursuing new friendships.   

That said, there will come a day when you’re ready to expand your social circle, and that’s where Bumble BFF comes in handy. If you’re new to Bumble, download the app and make an account. Then you’ll be taken to the home screen, where you can select Bumble BFF mode. If you’re already a Bumble Date user, just open the app, click the gray silhouette at the bottom left of your screen, and hit the settings icon. You’ll be brought to a menu where you can switch modes to BFF. From there, it’s time to build your profile and start swiping. Here are a few tips to keep in mind. 

Don’t limit yourself to finding The One

Just like we have a tendency to look for The One when we’re dating, we can fall into a similar “picky mindset” when it comes to evaluating potential new friends, warns Shasta Nelson, author of “Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness.” But monogamy isn’t a thing when it comes to platonic relationships. “We can have several meaningful, close best friends,” says Nelson. “And we can have many good friends.” That’s why she encourages Bumble BFF users to seek out a diverse group of people with different interests and hobbies. “Switching from dating to finding friends is a good opportunity to remind ourselves that we don’t have to be narrow with our connections,” she continues. 

Resist venting about your ex

Complaining about your ex post-breakup is a time-honored tradition, but save the venting sessions for people who already know and love you so that a new friend doesn’t feel like they’re being used as a luggage rack for your emotional baggage. “One of the requirements of all healthy relationships is positive emotion from both people,” says Nelson. “That doesn’t mean you have to be happy. You can be sad and acknowledge that.” But spend the whole night talking about your former relationship, and “you risk the other person not feeling seen or valued.” So make sure to stick to the headlines when it comes to your ex, and keep the bulk of the conversation centered on topics that are mutually engaging. A good rule of thumb, says Nelson: “If we’re talking more than 50% of the time when we’re with a new friend, we’re talking too much.”

Try a new activity

After a breakup, it’s normal to feel a little lost. “When we get close to someone, we include them in our sense of self,” explains psychologist and friendship expert Dr. Marisa G. Franco. “So when we break up with that person, it feels like some part of our sense of self has been taken with it.” That’s why she recommends trying a new activity with your Bumble BFF match; having a new experience presents an opportunity to discover new sides of ourselves, which can feel really good. In fact, one of the upsides of going through a breakup is that “you now have this incredible freedom to ask, what do I want to focus on? What do I want to try? What do I want to explore?,” says Nelson. “This is a great time to reach out to people who are very different from you to try new activities and say yes to things that you might not otherwise be willing to do.”

Give yourself a pre-friend-date pep talk

It’s no surprise that breakups mess with our confidence. Still, no one wants to be giving off Eeyore vibes when meeting a new friend—especially when those feelings can make or break that relationship. “When we’re lonely, we actually report liking other people less, having less compassion for humanity, and being more likely to think people are rejecting us,” confirms Franco. “One thing that I always suggest is to assume people like you, because it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.” So, before you head out for your next friend date, don’t forget to take a moment to remind yourself of all the things that make you great!

And don’t forget to follow up!

Consistency is key when it comes to building new friendships. “Following up is a misunderstood part of friendship development,” says Hall. It can be hard to put yourself out there, especially on the heels of a heartbreak. But “if you don’t follow up, then you can’t have a relationship,” Hall continues. So after you hang out with a new BFF match, don’t forget to thank them and let them know you enjoyed your time together. Then suggest meeting up again to see how your friendship continues to grow!