Coping With Friendship Loss
Losing a friend is extremely painful. In some ways it’s more excruciating than breaking up with a significant other. Perhaps you were friends with this person for years. Some people abruptly end a friendship after a decade or longer. Maybe there is an explanation for the loss, or perhaps there isn’t. Losing a friend can be particularly painful when there is no explanation as to why. Friendship loss is difficult to cope with whether you’re the person who ended the relationship, or you’re the individual who was “dumped.” Here are some ways to cope with friendship loss, regardless of which position you were in, so that you can heal.
Why did your friendship end?
An important question to ask yourself is: why did the friendship end? If you were the person that ended the relationship, there must have been reasons. It could’ve been that that individual was toxic to your life. Maybe there was a codependent dynamic between the two of you. It could’ve been that they needed more from you than you could give. That is a valid reason to end a friendship. If you tried everything that you could to save the relationship and it didn’t work, that is a valid reason to end the relationship. In these situations you know why the friendship ended because you were the one who initiated it. However, there are circumstances where people don’t know why their friend is gone.
Ghosting. Why did my friend leave me?
If you were on the receiving end of being dumped as a friend, that can be extraordinarily painful. One thing that people struggle with when it comes to friendship loss is closure. Sometimes we know why people leave our lives and other times it’s unclear. It could be that your friend exits your life or “ghosts you” because they are not good at confrontation. Some people are scared of confronting others when they’re hurt or angry. Instead of dealing with the situation they walk away. The truth is you may never know why your friend ghosted you. If they’re unwilling to talk about the situation, you will have to accept that you won’t know the answers. Lack of closure is not an easy thing to come to terms with by any means. Of course, in a perfect world you would like to know the answers as to why someone doesn’t want to be your friend anymore. Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t get those answers. The best thing you can do for yourself is accept that that person is out of your life and appreciate the individuals who are here to support you. Gratitude can get you through tough times. When you appreciate the friends you do have that can soften the blow of a friendship loss.
Managing anger and hurt
All sorts of feelings come up after you lose a friend. You might be angry at how the situation turned out. You could be yearning for closure. These are normal reactions to have after losing a friend. The question is, what do you want to do about it? It’s crucial to remember not to act impulsively. Take a moment and breathe. Think about what you want out of the situation. Do you want to reconnect with this person? Do you want the chance to express your side of the story? Is there a chance at a resolution? Or are you ready to move on? Before determining the answers to these questions, it can help to write things down. Take out a notebook or journal and jot down some of your feelings. You would be surprised at how much clarity you get by expressing your emotions on paper. You don’t have to show anybody what you wrote; it’s for your eyes only. However, if you want to talk about it with a close friend or loved one that’s okay too. Another option is talking about your friendship loss in therapy.
Friendship loss and counseling
A therapist is an excellent person to talk about friendship loss with, because they understand how painful it is. Therapy is a safe space where you can express your hurt, anger, frustration or any other feelings you’re experiencing after the loss of a friend. Therapy is an ideal place to get help for a variety of issues. There are all sorts of different therapists. You could see an individual therapist, couples counselor, sex therapist, addiction counselor, or anybody who specializes in the kind of treatment you need. Just like our physical health, mental health is something we need to take care of so that we can maintain emotional well-being. Losing a friend can take a toll on a person’s mental state. When coping with friendship loss, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. A therapist can be the listening ear that you need during your time of grieving the loss of a friend.