Em is a millennial writer and student versed in the fine art of heartbreak and friendzoning.
4 Things to Do Immediately When You Have to Stop Liking Someone
- Stop texting them. Any amount of social interaction will leave you wanting more. If you share children or assets, text only regarding those things and be mindful not to emote too much during your (short) conversations.
- Unfollow them on social media. Not only does it provide a false reality, it makes this person you can't have way too attainable.
- Distance yourself from mutual friends for a bit. It'll be too tempting to ask how they're doing or bump into them during social events.
- Remove items from your home that remind you of them, whether it's a t-shirt they left in your hamper or a gift you were planning to give them. While this won't erase them, this is a good way to "out of sight, out of mind" them.
In my early 20s, life was feeling just peachy until my fiancé of eight days blurted out that he wasn't really sure we should get married after all because he was into a girl from work. Cue the record ripping and an entire summer of blasting Bon Iver's cover of the Bonnie Raitt classic, "I Can't Make You Love Me" to blur my shower-weeping. As my skin chapped under the hot water, I was pretty sure I was the only one to ever experience heartbreak to that magnitude.
Maybe it's someone you loved deeply for a long time like me with my fiancé, maybe it's a fling and they're just not ready to commit, or perhaps it's someone you liked from afar but never really had. Or, no judgement, maybe it's someone you really have no right to, like a married chick or your sister's boyfriend. No matter the circumstance, getting over someone you can't have is a lot harder than it sounds, especially if you insist on listening to Bon Iver the whole time.
It's easier when you learn to stop liking them. Yes, I mean you have to actually learn how to not admire this person to begin getting over them.
But why should you stop liking someone?
The truth is, no one is 100% worth fawning over when it really comes down to the nitty gritty. Like yeah, everyone has positive attributes and when you're in a happy, committed relationship it's wise to focus on your partners good traits. But everyone also has a handful of negative attributes and if you're in the business of letting them go, shifting your focus to these less attractive aspects, instead of obsessing through your rose-colored-glasses will help you move on in one piece.
Accept That You're Let Down
Before you can do the hard work of moving on from your feelings for this person, you have to give yourself a chance to really feel those feelings. According to studies on the psychology of sadness, allowing yourself to move through the pain of a romantic let down means you're more apt to find long term peace because you've already processed your sadness. It turns out, getting all of those tears out in the shower while listening to Bon Iver that awful summer ensured my heart didn't break over and over for that guy for years to come.
How to Do It
- Write. Even if you've never done it before, write about your feelings. Whether you're just typing it out in Google docs, texting to a friend you can trust with your heavy feelings, or journaling, putting words to your emotions is a great way to admit your true feelings to yourself.
- Listen to sad music. Besides Bon Iver, there's loads of heartbreak songs that'll inspire your own cry sesh.
- Be okay with not okay. It's okay if you don't have the energy to look your best right now, to socialize like you used to or to commit to the things you did before this. You're not totally okay right now and that's okay. It'll get better, but this is a season of not great and it's perfectly normal.
Spend Time With People Who Like to Do The Same Things You Do
Once you've let yourself feel all the feels, get your butt up and get out there. I don't mean date, I don't mean try to connect romantically with anyone, I just mean remember that there are other people like you—find those people. My fiancé and I, for as much fun as we had together, had almost no common interests outside of hooking up and watching Netflix.
Getting around likeminded people reminds you that there's others who appreciate the same things in life that you do.
How to Do It
Don't wait to meet these people, go to them!
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- Say yes to the next after work happy hour.
- Cull through your social media and engage with local friends who seem into the same stuff you're into whether it's volley ball on the beach, bird watching or canvassing.
- Volunteer for something you're passionate about - you'll meet other people with the same values and interests and you'll be enriching yourself and others along the way.
Once my fiancé and I split I started going to stuff I didn't have the time or space to enjoy when we were together. Through these new experiences I met people who were more like me and being around them reminded me that not only am I very likeable but that there are other people whose company I really dig too.
These new experiences...reminded me that not only am I very likeable but that there are other people whose company I really dig too.
Stop Listening to Music That Reminds You of Them
Listening to songs that match your heartbreak is important, but songs that you identify with that person pre-heartbreak need to be thrown off the rotation for a while.
Think of it this way: if you're trying to have a future away from this person, you don't need to keep pulling yourself into the past with tunes that bring their face back into your mind.
How to Do It
Find new music! Search playlists on Spotify or YouTube and just start hamming it up to tracks you might not have given attention to before.
Reflect on This Person's Negative/Toxic Attributes
Because, and really let each of these words sink in, no one is all that great. I mean, you like them, and you're cool so they're probably pretty cool. But be real, we're all flawed with cracks where the toxic shizznat seeps out. Focus on those parts of this person you pine for and it'll be easier to regard them on a human level instead of on this otherworldly plane you've likely viewed them from until now.
How to Do It
Grab a pen because we're going to start writing again to list the toxic traits that the apple of your eye displays. I once found myself so enamored with someone that I briefly considered following him across the country (his suggestion). We had a lot in common, enjoyed doing the same things and had a blast goofing off together but when he ended things I started to let the little red flags I'd once tried to ignore, wave right in front of my face. Things like...
- He only seemed comfortable being intimate when he was drinking.
- He was quick to put down other people behind their back.
- He was jealous when I went out with other guys even though we weren't exclusive.
- He didn't like cats. Like, wtf.
Going over these negative attributes helped me to stop liking this guy quicker. Also, when he slept with my married friend. That helped me really get over him too.
Going over his negative attributes helped me to stop liking this guy quicker.
Try Something New
Now that you've identified this person's negative traits, you can start refocusing on yourself. After my break up with my fiancé and a string of not-so-great rebounds, I realized it was time to get back to myself, but so much of who I was was wrapped up in the people I'd dated. Taking on a new hobby or learning how to do something you've always been interested in is a fantastic way to grow beyond your feelings for another person.
How to Do It
- Learn a new language! Apps like Mango and DuoLingo make it easy to do in a few minutes each day.
- Get a fitness tracker. I picked up a FitBit and started getting into the communities on their app. Meeting people and doing virtual races with them has helped me not only focus on myself in a positive way, the exercise is helping me to feel healthier and better about myself and the better I feel about myself, the less I worry about someone who doesn't like me back.
- Search hashtags on Instagram for hobbies that may not have ever dawned on you - pottery, meditation and stained glass art all have very cool communities.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Em Clark