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How to deal with the loss of a friendship.


One of the best feelings in the world to me is when I connect with another person because of our similar interests/world views, the ease of communication, and just having someone to enjoy an activity or my time with.

Most of us make friends in elementary school and with time we learn from those initial friendships the qualities we look for in a friend. Some adults have childhood friends dating back to school age and some adults have lost touch with those neighborhood friendships and have a few circle of college or work friends.

What happens though when that special friendship has to end? Friendships are different and the same as romantic relationships. Different in that romantic relationships are intimate, the same in that the friend is another person whom we share our time with, secrets, and commonalities. I have definitely had one too many friendships that have ended and when they end, it may be a good thing if the friendship or friend was toxic, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. The loss of a friendship is no different than loss to anything else - in the sense that it is still a loss.

As humans we are constantly changing and sometimes people just "grow apart", although some friendships that end aren't as dramatic as others such as getting into an argument or having a altercation.

How does one deal with the loss of a friendship/friend?

Just like any loss, one may experience the well known "stages of grief" including the following:

Denial- At first, we may not accept that our friendship is over and instead refuse to acknowledge the loss such as thinking of ways to re-connect.

Anger- After thinking about how the friendship ended, we may become upset with the friend or situation.

Bargaining- Maybe the friendship ended in an altercation and thoughts such as "if we never got into that argument, we would still be friends" cross our minds.

Depression- If that friend was someone that was in your life every day and you would contact them to vent about an annoying coworker or hang out with them doing things you loved, depression and sadness may overcome.

Acceptance- Finally, after experiencing all of the stages of grief, we may realize that the friendship is over and done.

How do we get to the acceptance? It can be different for everyone depending on the friendship, but taking it day by day is important and talking it out with someone such as another friend, family member, Therapist, or in a support group definitely helps in the grieving period.

Thanks for talking it out with me,

Melissa