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Unfriended: When Your BFF Breaks Your Heart

Two right hands holding either side of a "Best Pals" heart necklace. The text at the top between the two reads: "Unfriended."
Charnel Hunter
Friendship breakups aren't recognized in the way that romantic breakups are, but for many folks they are just as painful.

Anita got friend dumped for the first time in 6th grade, and she's still not over it. She talks to folks about the distinct pain of a platonic breakup and gets some tools for building strong friendships, setting boundaries and figuring out when it's time to let go.

Meet the guests:

  • Michelle Elman is an author and life coach best known for her activism campaign Scarred Not Scared. She tells Anita about "the mass exodus" — a period of time in which she went through multiple friend breakups.
  • Tony Liu is a medical student and former radio and podcast producer for NPR and "On Being." He shares how tenderness informs how he makes and breaks up with friends.
  • KB Newtonis the founder and creator of HEART Convos. She talks about being a recovering "trash friend."

Read the transcript | Review the podcast

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.
Audrey Smith is a writer, educator, and temporary producer of "Embodied" based in Greensboro, NC. She holds a Master's degree in Secondary English Language Arts Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2018) and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from Oregon State University (2021).
Elizabeth Friend grew up in North Carolina listening to public radio in the backseat of the family station wagon. She has been reporting and producing at WUNC since 2016, covering everything from Army history to armadillos. She's also the co-founder of the beloved summer event series Audio Under The Stars. In her spare time she enjoys exploring the outside world with her family, dabbling in esoteric crafts, and cheese.