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How to detach from/stop thinking about someone

Community Member

I've developed strong feelings for a friend/work colleague but they are unavailable - we have a good friendship and are close but I can't help being preoccupied with thinking of them all the time and fantasising about what could be in a different situation. I'm an overthinker and can attach to people easily, but it's debilitating for me to be thinking about them this much when I know it can never go anywhere. Would really appreciate any tips for how to detach from someone in a situation like this and how to reduce my intense feelings towards them.

2 Replies 2

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Abbie121,

I am really sorry to hear that you are struggling with this, it is a difficult situation to be in and can feel so hard to navigate and move on from. 

Firstly, I think it is important that you have been able to acknowledge that the friendship cannot go any further. It is okay to let yourself feel upset and disappointed by this. Often suppressing or denying feelings and thoughts can just make them resurface and fester even more intensely. In saying that, while you should let yourself feel, try not to ruminate or wallow as this can spiral pretty quickly. I know that is much easier said than done, but try to think of what you might be able to put in place to help yourself feel a bit better - it doesn't have to be anything big, spending time with friends or loved ones, avoid self-isolating, doing something you enjoy, planning something that you can look forward to, etc. Try to find a few things to shift your mind and energy towards if you can. Is there anything that has helped you in the past when you've been upset or when things have felt really difficult?

While it may feel really intense right now, know that the feelings are likely to subside with time. I know it is hard to see right now, but it won't always hurt this much, 

There is no easy fix to detaching from them, especially if you do want to maintain the friendship, but I would suggest avoiding looking through their social media. 

Writing can also help to get out what you are feeling and to externalise some of the thoughts and emotions. It may sound a bit odd, but it can be a really helpful exercise. 

I am sorry if this wasn't the answer you were looking for. In any case, be kind to yourself, and take care. Please don't hesitate to reach out whenever you need, we're here to listen.

Thanks very much for your reply Sunny, it’s really helpful. They’re really good suggestions, especially in trying to shift focus to other things. That can be a little tricky for me as I tend to spend a lot of time by myself and don’t have much of a network, but I know I need to put the effort in. A good idea to write out thoughts and feelings too. Thanks again 😊