1) "The Way Life Goes” by Lil Uzi Vert ft. Wonder
Whether a romantic or platonic ending, this song is truly therapy in musical form. Released on Lil Uzi’s popular rap masterpiece, Luv is Rage 2, this one this explores the painful processing of events that follow being unknowingly used for a long time. Especially if the friendship ended very abruptly, the easy, completely voluntary disposal of a friend at the other’s convenience is a harsh reality. Perhaps it was the mutual lack of effort or the consequences of a one-sided relationship, this song captures coming to terms with the confusion and sadness following someone's actions who you once truly loved and trusted. This song illustrates the importance of fully giving yourself permission to grieve and feel all of your emotions. Building a life without someone who once held so much presence can be extremely difficult, but darling, you were full before you met them, and you damn well can still be without them.
Standout Lyrics: “I know it hurts sometimes, but you’ll get over it.” Because we’ve all felt that one.
2) “hope ur ok” by Olivia Rodrigo
The final track on Olivia Rodrigo’s popular freshman album, SOUR, is the prime pick for the friendship that naturally just faded over time, maybe even for no specific reason at all. This song captures the stories of different people she grew up with and the realities of falling out of touch as the years passed by. While this one is not necessarily about an ending, similar themes of growing separately in different directions arise. For the friend whom you had a falling out with but wish the best of luck, this song is for you. This song gives the necessary reminder that not all endings are bad and have to erupt in drama and negativity! In fact, many of them are placed there to teach you something and redirect you towards something more meaningful for your current life trajectory. Sometimes, people simply blossom in different directions.
Standout Lyrics: “Don’t know if I’ll see you again someday, but if you’re out there, I hope that you’re okay” / “We don’t talk much but I gotta say, I miss you and I hope that you’re okay”
3) “traitor” by Olivia Rodrigo
A continuation of SOUR felt necessary, as the entire album depicts the process of feeling disappointment, sadness, and later acceptance regarding the loss of someone you once cared about quite deeply, so I’m going to enthusiastically throw another song of Olivia’s on here. Specifically, SOUR’s fourth track “Traitor” is great in putting words to the feeling of being betrayed and blindsided by someone’s actions in the style of a rock-indie pop ballad. Processing this level of disappointment from someone, typically by one whose behaviors would typically deviate from the hurt you are enduring on their end, is a rollercoaster of emotions that Olivia invites her listeners to explore with her. Unlike some of the other songs, this track explores the constant reminder that the friendship is over and provides some realistic scenarios of seeing your former friend out and about with new people. The stinging, uncomfortable feeling of knowing that used to (and should’ve been) you seem to be like the pesky, buzzing gnat flying around that just won’t leave you alone, and that new reality of being replaced is heartbreaking at first. If you’ve ever cried to this song over someone you’ve missed, I’m waiting for you with a fresh box of Kleenex and a hug. Give it time, love, it’s extremely tough but you will be okay.
Standout Lyrics: “And ain't it funny, how you said you were friends? Now it sure as hell don't look like it” / You betrayed me, and I know that you'll never feel sorry for the way I hurt, yeah” / “You didn’t cheat, but you’re still a traitor” / “Show her off like she’s a new trophy”
4) “Happier than Ever” by Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish took the music industry by surprise with her second studio album, Happier than Ever, donning a more melancholy and reflective tone. Inspired by its identical album title, this song is perfect for the slow-burn, toxic friendship that likely either blew up in drama or gave you no closure (or both). The song’s slow, sorrowful start details the realities of a toxic relationship, which is then met with an abrupt, angry guitar towards the middle, resembling the emotional transition from sadness to anger and bitterness. For all the folks who still lose sleep over what went wrong in their former friendship, this song can grant you all the clarity you need to move on. Taking a step back from the relationship and removing your rose-colored glasses is sometimes the only closure you need, especially if this ending was a long time coming.
Standout Lyrics: “Don’t say it isn’t fair, you clearly weren’t aware that you made me miserable, so if you really wanna know” / “I don’t relate to you, no, cause I’d never treat me to this shitty” / “And I don’t talk sh*t about you on the Internet, never told anyone anything bad”
5) “happiness” by Taylor Swift
When you are able to remember the good while simultaneously acknowledging that the relationship has reached its expiration date, “happiness” is a telltale song for fostering that internal acceptance. As the ninth track on Taylor’s Evermore album, the somber, reflective piece embodies learning how to live happily without another person and find hope and fulfillment within themselves instead. Being able to form other lasting friendships, find happiness, and learn from your mistakes is a wonderful thing that Taylor captures quite beautifully with soft, tender vocals. I highly recommend giving this track a listen once you have made peace with parting ways with this person. Even if this person was not who you once thought they were, Taylor reminds us all that making the conscious decision to forgive and take the high road is the best way to keep from dwelling. Feel your feelings, acknowledge them for what they are, forgive, and move on.
Standout Lyrics: “Honey when I’m above the trees, I see this for what it is” / “There’ll be happiness after you, but there was happiness because of you. Both of these things can be true, there is happiness.”
6) "Sign of the Times" by Harry Styles
"Sign of the Times" premiered as the debut track from Harry Styles' 2017 self-titled (and best!) album, but more specifically, was his first pop single that jumpstarted the success of his solo career. This Billboard hit blends soft rock and power ballad influences with the pressing reminder that although millions of people grieve different struggles every day, time is ticking. Even amongst the darkest times, the reality is that the world still goes on, people process, feel uncomfortable emotions, and that it's okay and a necessary part of the human experience. Acknowledging the negative feelings can grant you clarity in seeing things for how they truly are. In fact, parting ways with a friend could quite well be a "sign of the times" that things are changing, and you are being redirected down a more fulfilling path that serves you far more than the alternative. Not every friendship is meant to last forever, and your personal evolution and growth is worth celebrating, even the more complicated and difficult emotions that can arise as a result of those processes.
Standout Lyrics: "Just stop your crying, it's a sign of the times, welcome to the final show," / "Just stop your crying, have the time of your life. Breaking through the atmosphere, and things are pretty good from here. Remember everything will be alright, we can meet again somewhere, somewhere far away from here."
7) "Soulmate" by Lizzo
It is no secret that this list would not be complete without the queen of self-love and acceptance, Lizzo. Her hit, “Soulmate,” explores the empowerment of being, well, your own soulmate, during tough times and no longer giving people the power to treat you with any less respect than you deserve. While caring for someone else is a wonderful feeling, Lizzo emphasizes the importance of finding that love within yourself first in order to truly recognize your worth. In terms of a platonic breakup, recognizing your own faults is essential, but taking those lessons and applying them to current connections is far more productive than blaming and speaking unkindly towards yourself. In being your own "soulmate," the solace you can find internally shines far brighter than the loneliness felt after a friendship that reached its ending. When in doubt, blast Lizzo unapologetically and walk with poise and grace knowing that making mistakes makes you human, but that self-love will always prevail.
Standout Lyrics: "A lotta two-faced people show me both sides, so I figured out I gotta be my own type" / "Cause I'm my own soulmate, I know how to love me ... I'm never lonely, I know I'm a queen but I don't need no crown"