"I Lost a Friend:" How to Cope With Losing a Friendship

Talking to a friend

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Friendships are one of the most important connections a person can come across. When you have a friend, you have someone to weather good and bad days with. A friend will make movie night plans on a weekday to cheer you up and stay awake to plan new year goals aspirations as a team.

However, while friendships are undeniably important, friends may not always be a part of our lives. It doesn’t matter if a friend has been a constant presence for decades, or only a few months—different factors can come into play to bring your connection to an end.

There are different reasons a friendship might come to an end. Likewise, different reactions can follow the loss of a cherished companion in your life. This guide will look into the reasons friendships may fail, and the appropriate ways to handle losing a friend.

Why Friendships End

Friends aren’t just comfortable company during social events or support systems during trying times. A friend can provide the same amount of encouragement, and emotional fulfillment as family members. This is why the dissolution of a friendship can feel just as painful as heartbreak. 

There are different reasons why a friendship might come to an end. These scenarios are discussed below.

You Outgrow Each Other

Under normal circumstances, a friendship usually begins with innocent intentions. These connections are usually forged on common ground: liking the same television shows, enjoying similar kinds of music, or even engaging in common hobbies.

Friendships are unlikely to demand too much and are based on people who purely enjoy the company of others.

However, as the saying goes, 20 friends cannot play for 20 years. There are times when companions grow out of each other.

Sometimes, the interests that started off the relationship are unable to sustain it. In other cases, friendships fizzle because what initially began as common ground, has evolved into different things between friends.

A Fight Breaks Things Up

As humans, our differences are one of the things that make us colorful and interesting. A world where everyone thinks and feels the same thing will appear monotonous and dull. 

With friends, the same principle applies. Friendships teach an accommodation of different belief systems. They are one of the first points where conflict resolution is handled practically.

While differences are encouraged, however, there are some disagreements that may not be resolved so easily. When friends hold different views on matters that are fundamental to their ways of life, these views may prevent the friendship from progressing.

Likewise, where a betrayal takes place, the friendship may be unable to survive the pain.

Distance Complicates Things

Some of the beauty of friendship is found in doing things together. Cooking with a friend, working side-by-side on a term project, going on weekend adventures together—make up the little joys of having a friend.

But with everyday life comes everyday complications. Moving away for work, marriage, travel, and other reasons can put a strain on the friendship.

While there is no shortage of love between friends that find themselves in different parts of the world, this distance can contribute to reduced communication. Ultimately, friendships may end when too much time has passed, and too many events have occurred apart from a once loved peer.

Expectations Might Change

Friendships come in different forms. There may be low-maintenance connections, where friends are happy to communicate and catch up every once in a while. If this kind of friendship ends, it may not hurt so much.

Other times, friendships may be more intense. Here, friends are in constant communication and are usual fixtures in each other’s lives. The latter tend to be involved in day-to-day activities, and may usually expect the same from people they consider friends.

When friends have set expectations from their peers, this can create some tension. The pairing of low and high maintenance friends may be difficult. This is because one half may consider the other as doing too much, while the other remains convinced that more can be done to promote the friendship. Where expectations constantly clash, this can bring an end to the friendship.

How to Cope With Losing A Friend

The value of a friend can be immeasurable. Having a person to reach out to in your darkest moments, someone to laugh and ponder life’s mysteries with can cause a positive leap in well-being. This social connection is so important, it can assist with life preservation in old age.

When you lose a friend, the pain can cut deep. Now out of your reach, is a person you could confide in, and trust to show up for you. To manage this loss, here are a few steps to take.

Learn to Prioritize Yourself

When you lose a friend, it’s easy to get caught up in the pain of loss. This can mean a significant period of mourning the happy times, which can be unhealthy for well-being.

Letting yourself feel the impact of a lost friend is admirable and even advisable. However, this should not become the status quo. Going on walks, exercising, learning about life with loss, can put you in a better frame of mind to manage a friend’s absence.

Strengthen the Bond With Other Friends

The loss of one friend can help to highlight the importance of others present in your life. Where your social community includes friends that are invested in your growth and happiness, this is a good time to show your appreciation.

Spend time with these friends, and nurture your relationship. Now is a great time to take stock of how to grow your friendship.

Speak to a Therapist

While friendships are never elevated to the position of romantic relationships, this connection can be just as important. Because of this, it can be difficult to deal with the pain and isolation that can follow the loss of a friend in your life. 

Seeking expert guidance can help with navigating the hurt and changes that will follow life without your friend.

A Word From Verywell

Losing a good friend is one of the most challenging situations to steer. This is why friendship breakups can feel like an unexpected pain in your gut. 

To navigate the loss of a friend, focusing on yourself, and your existing friendships is a positive step in the right direction.

Likewise, expert advice can help with managing and overcoming the challenges of a lost friend. 

2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Amati V, Meggiolaro S, Rivellini G, Zaccarin S. Social relations and life satisfaction: the role of friends. Genus. 2018;74(1):7. doi:10.1186/s41118-018-0032-z

  2. Blieszner R, Ogletree AM, Adams RG. Friendship in Later Life: A Research Agenda. Innov Aging. 2019;3(1):igz005. Published 2019 Mar 30. doi:10.1093/geroni/igz005

By Elizabeth Plumptre
Elizabeth is a freelance health and wellness writer. She helps brands craft factual, yet relatable content that resonates with diverse audiences.