Mourning the Death of a Friendship

“If a friendship lasts 7 years, psychologists say it will last a lifetime.” I’m calling bs on that cute little meme. Many people are fortunate enough to have such relationships, and I count a few long-term patient people among my friends. But still many more of us know that the time you put into a friendship is no guarantee of success. Friendships end. Not all, but many do. Sometimes it’s with a fight, a betrayal, a bang. Sometimes it’s with distance, time, a whimper. And none of us are immune to the death of a friendship after a major life change – weddings and babies are like sieves that not everyone makes it through.

I’ve seen my share of friendships end so don’t think I’m referring to any one person when I say I’ve mourned. Years ago I found myself searching the internet for coping skills on friendships ending. My face was sticky with hot tears, my stomach knotted in grief. I was in pain, in mourning, in disbelief, and didn’t know what to do. There was nothing I could do to salvage this relationship that had once been so precious to me, and I couldn’t just sit with the sadness. I needed something to do, a guide, a tip, some way to get through this.

But there was nothing.

Lots of stuff about how to get over an unworthy boyfriend, a few things on how to pick yourself up after the loss of a job, but nothing about how to deal with the loss of a confidant, surrogate sister, and the other half of so many happy memories. Sure, the stages of grief can apply, and yeah, getting over someone isn’t too terribly different just because you didn’t date. Love is love and grief is grief, but there’s something distinctly tragic about the loss of a friendship that leaves us raw and aching in a way no other breakup can. Friendship is felt in a different part of our selves, has a comfort and familiarity to it that we don’t notice until it’s gone. We trust our friends with our secrets and share with them our silliest of memories, so when they leave they seem to take those with them. It’s like the door we were leaning against suddenly opens and we fall flat without the support we didn’t realize we’d come to rely upon. Even when that door opens slowly, we can feel it giving way, but we still can’t stop it and we’re still left standing alone with a whole half of ourselves exposed that was previously firmly against our support. Got some good news to share? A secret to spill? An inside joke that you’re dying to laugh at? You turn and are left with the gaping doorway now, a giant hole. Instead of the familiar you are left with… nothing. Well, the pain is there. The ache of missing someone who is very much alive, of the realization that you must retrain your brain and rid yourself of the muscle memory that tries to constantly direct you to where your friend once was. The old adage tells us that when a door closes a window opens, but loss is much more an exposed and open door than a shut one.

This is where I was when I found myself searching for how to deal with the living loss of a friend.

Over my years of hurting and healing I’ve come to a few realizations that I hope will help you in coping with the same loss. I can’t say I have tips or tricks or exercises, because really you can’t trick a heart into healing or speed the process up, but you can allow it to make itself whole again.

First, allow yourself the memories. Whether there was a huge, emotional blow-up over a devastating betrayal or the two of you just drifted apart, you get to keep the memories. If they’re good ones, you’re still allowed to smile at them. No matter how mad or sad you are at the end of the friendship, the memories before that are happy and should be left that way. You had your laughs, your jokes, your special movies and shared memories. Your friend was a comfort and a joy at one point – don’t rewrite the past by not allowing yourself to remember those times fondly. Whoever that friend is now, they were special then. Keep it that way.

Don’t try to replace them. The closer the friend the larger the void they leave. Sure, you’ll have another best friend someday, and no one is ever limited to the number of friends they’re allowed. But don’t try to find a replacement. Don’t try to find a knock-off version of the friend you’ve lost. Don’t compare potential suitors to the past ones. Sometimes you’ll need more than one person to fill all the gaps the lost friend leaves behind. This doesn’t mean the new friends aren’t as good as the old one, it doesn’t mean you’ll never find that same closeness again. It means that everyone has unique gifts to offer each other, and while one may fill your laughing tank you may need another who will listen without judgement. Don’t try to find someone who will do everything for you. Don’t compare your new friendship to the deep one you’re grieving. And don’t scroll through your contacts to create a queue for best friend auditions. The living person you’ve lost was special and unique, and  whether you think of them now fondly or ferociously, who they were to you will always be special and unique. Let everyone else be as special and unique as they can with you.

Wish them well. Seriously. As you work through the stages of grief – or as you work through the disbelief at whatever event has led to the end of your friendship – wish them well. Whoever they are, they’re stuck with themselves. You’re not around anyway to see them hit their shins on trailer hitches so why waste your energy hoping for it? It would be impossible to remember the good times fondly if every thought of the person you shared them left you seething  with bitterness. Healing just isn’t possible while holding onto hatred. However it ended, they once meant a great deal to you. Protect what you had – and your own heart – by wishing them well.

Don’t wait around for them to realize their mistake. Denial is part of the natural process of grief. Hope is inescapable and can protect the heart by easing into the pain of sudden blows. Let yourself accept that it’s over. Delete their contact information from your phone. Yes, at some point they may miss you, too – you’re awesome, after all, right? But don’t pin your hopes on getting a text or message bursting with apologies and promises and invitations to dinner. Allow yourself to accept the finality of the situation. It will suck. It will hurt. But it’s the reality.

Admit any contribution you may have made to the demise of your friendship. Obviously there was nothing you could have done if your friend turned out to be living a double life as a snake you’d never have recognized, but in the cases of slow death, repressed hurt feelings, misunderstandings that festered, take the time to examine yourself. None of us are perfect. If you seem to have a lot of friendships fizzle, do some self reflection and honestly own – then address – what you may have done to aide in their expiration. Improve yourself. Don’t allow yourself to believe the hype that makes it easier to hate – you won’t heal if you simply point the finger and try to move on. Reflect. Admit. Accept. Grow.

Grieve. It seems so simple to say, doesn’t it? Of course you’ll grieve, right? In all the searching I did for help in getting over the living loss of a friend, not finding much tells me that no, we don’t know it’s okay to grieve. The person is still alive, after all, so what’s to mourn? If you’re mad at them then you’re totally justified and shouldn’t feel the sting of sadness, right? No, dear. A friendship is a living thing, a special something that only exists between the love of two people. It strengthens over time, fills with memories, has its own unique quirks and eccentricities, and must be nurtured to grow. It’s perfectly acceptable – even necessary – then, to grieve its death. There is nothing silly or indulgent in shedding tears over a pair suddenly separated. When a friendship dies a bit of magic is lost, and the cold and lonely reality of what’s left – and what’s gone – demands adjustment, acceptance, healing, and grief. Let yourself cry. Acknowledge the loss. Something has died and it is, indeed, very very sad. It is an end, but not the end, so grieve what you must in order to move on. But maybe wait a while before you watch Beaches, there’s really only so much grief a person need face all at once.

All of this to say, if you find yourself mourning the death of a friendship that ended too soon or healing from one that didn’t end soon enough, you will be okay. You will make it through. You will heal and laugh again. You will even find yourself one day living a life you never thought wouldn’t be shared with your friend and be startled to realize just how much about you they don’t know now. This gone-away friend is not the last one you will ever have. You will make new friends, more friends, different friends. What’s gone is gone but the memories will live on, and so, my friend, will you.

 

 

Author: Jen

I am the wife of an insanely hot husband and the momma of three precious and exhausting kiddos. I have been given way more than I could ever deserve and I really love naps.

81 thoughts on “Mourning the Death of a Friendship”

  1. This is beautifully written and just what I needed right now. Thank you so much for writing it.
    I’m still tragically sad, however now, I am tragically sad, and grateful at the same time.

    RIP Best Friend of 25 years.

    Man, this sucks.

    1. Oh, Jaime, I’m so sorry. It absolutely sucks. ❤️

    2. Googled “death of a friendship” this morning, and this amazing article came up. This Christmas produced the death of a 35 year friendship. So painful. So many tears. Just no words..except yours. Thank you.

      1. Oh, Bridget, that’s a lifetime. I am so very sorry.

      2. This morning I also googled death of a friendship after waking up the past few mornings with such sadness of how I missed these friendships that died 6 months ago. In the midst of planning my wedding with my boyfriend of 6 years, I asked several important women in my life to be apart of my bridal party. Yes, everyone always warned me that you find out who really cares for you when you plan a wedding. 3 of these women and I have been friends since we were 10, now 27, they are no longer in my life, at all. It’s like they never existed.

        You are not alone, that’s the important thing to know through all the sadness. Other women have experienced the death of friendships they thought would last a lifetime. Friends we thought were more family than friends. I debated writing a blog, or a goodbye letter to these women after we parted ways but instead found this beautiful blog post. After 6 months, I am finally mourning the loss of these friends and its strange. I was so strong when it happened and truly felt nothing, I was afraid that I felt nothing, that they weren’t as important to me as I thought. But now, 6 months later and mourning the loss of friends I once cared for so deeply, I am realizing, they never truly cared for me.

    3. Yes 55 year friendship ended. I am 60. There’s a part of me that wants to keep trying to repair but it’s clearly evident in her that she wants no contact. I am excepting the ending with sadness and gratitude as. well

      1. Nancy C Riley says:

        55 years….that’s a lifetime. I never thought I’d read about someone else mourning a friendship that had lasted so long. My heart goes out to you. I too have lost a 50+ year friendship. I’ve been told that I am unwilling to “let go” of my anger, that I need to move on, and other such unhelpful advice. Nobody seems to realize I am grieving a death.

    4. Fareeh Mouk says:

      Same here. I am tragically sad. I am mourning the death of a friendship of 20 years and its SAD!

      1. Liss girl says:

        I am 41. I lost 2 of my best friends. My closest was a friend since I could talk and the other since third grade. They didn’t support a decision I made. It was them or my husband and I chose him. I am happy with my decision but at the same time devastated by the loss of the two people I thought I could always count on. It’s been a year and I will always love them but they no longer hold a place on my heart as they abandoned me during a time which I needed them most. I am ok. I am happy. I just feel like a big piece of me is missing.

  2. Thanks for this. I have lost my mother in law after 28 years(friendship not death) and one of my best friends after 12 years at the same time and could not seem to move past anger and realized yesterday that I’m grieving. Thank you for this. Very insightful. Been working on forgiveness and healing but some of these are so poignant. Didn’t think about how it was ok to still have good memories. That has been hard for me as some of my happiest memories are with them in it.

    1. Oh, Kris, I am so sorry for your loss! That’s a lot to grieve. It’s so hard to imagine creating new memories without the stars of our favorite memories, but I’m so, so hopeful for you. It’s okay to miss someone you’re hurt at, and I really hope you’re able to heal someday. ❤️

    2. I am struggling with a friendship that, quite frankly, I had to end because it became toxic after she moved out of the area. The friendship was very one-sided (with a generational disparity) with me doing almost all the giving and support and enduring jabs, criticism and at times anger. After so many unpleasant exchanges and reconciliations I came to the conclusion that she was intentionally sabotaging the relationship and I needed out to preserve my own well-being. After all, a friendship that continually hurts isn’t a friendship at all. Still, I can’t eat….feel extreme loss, have cried many tears—but will remember the good times and know that this hurt will eventually pass. She lives alone and has had a lot of hurts and losses and only one relative that she speaks with and only a few friends. Perhaps I was jaded that my friendship would really positively-impact her, but the unprovoked anger finally told me otherwise. Thanks for this forum and any advice as this is so new and raw would be particularly helpful at this time.

  3. Watching the friendship die before my eyes and grieving already. Wish i could just rip on the band aid and just end it.Thanks for the words if encouragement and hope.

    1. Goodness, May, I’m so sorry. ❤️❤️❤️

    2. I’m in that same position. Think we both are just holding on because we’re both scared but not Ute how to come back from this. All I do is 😢

  4. I can relate to this article but he didn’t end the friendship I did yes I’m still kinda angry at him because I did see that it was one sided and I know one sided friendships don’t work at all they never have never will he always put his girlfriend first all the time which was a red flag he never made time for me even though he lives on the same street no he’s not being loyal he’s being selfish he’s changed since he started dating his girlfriend he’s become more irritated and angrier someone I don’t know anymore maybe with time things will go back to how they were but until then no I’ve got no intention of being his friend again I can’t go back unless he starts putting in effort

    1. This hit home all points. It was like it was written to me. I was angry and hurt and sad and probably still am, but I’m heading to well wishes and an almost sense of relief. The beginning was wonderful and fun but something started to shift slightly the last two years and then the last last year I wasn’t feeling the same after some misunderstandings. She did cut me off abruptly but it was getting toxic towards the end and I wasn’t feeling the same. So when she did sever our ties it does feel like a sense of relief mixed in with the sadnesss and anger.
      I hope to visit this article in a few months or a year and see my comment and be in a better place. I know I will be, every day gets better as long as I pray and remain close to my loved ones and will remember to wish her the best in my mind even when I don’t truly feel it yet, I’m going to train my mind to follow my heart to wish her the best ❤️

  5. Thanks for this, so helpful. I’m mourning the loss of my best friend, who is also a family member. I have a wonderful relationship with her children and will still see her at family functions, etc. Do you have any advice for this situation? Thank you

    1. Oh goodness, how difficult! With it being a family member and still loving her children, try not to give in to the temptation to be angry. Don’t force a relationship with the kids, let their mom make that decision (if they’re still young), and still seeing her at family events it will be important to always be kind, friendly, and genuinely wish her the best. If her children are grown, maintain the relationship with them, but never discuss your friendship with their mom, don’t press them for details, just enjoy them for who they are. I’m so sorry. ❤️

  6. Thank you for this. I’ve been holding on to hope that my best friend will come back (she did for a moment then left again) and things could go back to the way they were, but I realized that I need to truly mourn the friendship because even if she does come back it will never be the same. It’s sad but I need to accept it instead of continuing to get my hopes up and trying to force things only to get let down and be crushed all over again…

  7. A very helpful article. I have been going through the death of a close friendship with another woman. She is still alive and is in the same church community. It ended through an emotional blow up including the expression of repressed hurt feelings by the other person. I can accept some responsibility and can forgive (with the other person well in the silence of my heart but I can’t go back to the same type of sharing.

    1. Joy again. I meant to say I could wish her will within the silence of my heart. She was my best friend. We mix within the same community and circle of friends. It is not dissimilar to the end of a relationship within a family where no one is leaving and each will have to face the other. Even social media is an issue. My former best friend likes the posts of other common friends but doesn’t like mine. I took the step of posting to others except her so that I don’t have to experience this rejection each time I post. However, I will still see her like the posts of others. I can’t really cut myself off from everyone else though.

      1. That’s so hard, I’m so sorry. Do you have the option to “mute” her on social media or unfollow for a bit while your heart heals? Seeing that is so painful.

        1. Thanks Jen
          I have been able to mute visibility of the person on Facebook without unfriending them. I can change this back if I want to. I think this meets my needs without unduly upsetting the other person more than necessary.

  8. I made a best friend who i nicknamed Bee. It was an online friendship that I seriously considered would be a lifetime real friendship. I told Bee things no one else ever knew about and she told me things about herself I knew no one else knew. It was only a year, compared to everyone elses very long friendships, but I poured my entire heart and soul into the friendship. One day she blew up and said I was laying too many of my problems on her to fix, called me a bunch of horrible names. I said my points with kindness and sadness. I told her I would fix my mental state and work towards building our friendship. She ended it. Her friend decided to tell me she was relieved she didn’t have to speak to me anymore. I’ve been trying to ignore the anxiety but reading this made me cry. She’s not coming back, and it hurts.

    1. Oh, Flower, I am so sorry. That is so painful and sad!

  9. 30 years of friendship. It’s gone. Eleven years later I still mourn that loss. But it is what it is and I have no control over it. But it still hurts.

  10. Jen this was a very heartfelt post and helps look back on many years and many friends. My thoughts are how blessed I am by my children’s good friends, also how I have been shaken by their loss. On the bright side is a lunch at Babes with you and my beautiful girl❣️

  11. alolimelo says:

    RIP my sweet-heart. I’ll miss you!!! These points have helped me a lot!!!

  12. I find myself needing to come back to this article over and over. A close friendship of 16 years ended 6 months ago, but contact continued. It grew increasingly negative and cold with time. I’m so nervous about potentially seeing her at a party I’m hosting at the house of a mutual friend this weekend. Even though I know I’ll be surrounded by a ton of people who love and have supported me through all this, I’m still sick with fear and missing my friend.

    1. Goodness, C, I am so sorry. I hope the party goes well and you are OVERWHELMED with love and happy memories from everyone else there. ❤️

  13. I lost my best friend days after my second child was born. I felt her slipping away in the months leading up to my daughter’s birth, and when I didn’t hear from her until days after with a generic “that’s good” text. I was disappointed, and told her as much, that as my best friend, I would of expected to hear from her sooner with more enthusiasm. I saw it as a fight, she saw it as an opportunity out. After weeks of ignoring phone calls, texts, Facebook Messages, anyway to communicate, she sent me an email with the subject line “Goodbye:” She told me how I was ‘too needy’, and that she needed friends that were going in the same life direction as her. I truly felt so alone and abandoned. Now, nearly a year later, I’m still raw, and after repressing it for months with denial and anger, I have found out she is pregnant.
    I hope to find closure and peace with the advice from this article. I am still filled with anger and bitter, and yet I miss her so much.

    1. This resonates with me so much! When there’s nothing you’ve done “wrong” it’s hard to wrap your head around the why. It’s been 3 years (or is it 4?) for me since my best friend said her goodbye to me, and it still hurts. I don’t know how long it will take to heal, and I can’t help but hold onto hope that someday she will come to her senses, and reach out to me again. That’s probably not healthy, but I can’t help it. Even though she has hurt me deeply, I desperately want to have her friendship again. Every time something big happens in my life, she’s the first person I think of…..that I want to tell….and then I remember. I wish I had some words of advice for you, but I’m afraid I’m still just as lost as I was when she left. I can say though, that I understand what you are going through, and I feel for you. I hope that you are able to heal and move on from this. Lots of hugs and love.

  14. ladysmoke says:

    This. I was the one who broke off the relationship because it had grown toxic over time and she no longer was the person I thought she was. But it still hurts. We were friends for so long, on and off. Sometimes, though, you have to let go.

    I haven’t been letting myself grieve, which I think might be a mistake. I mean, I miss her. I guess part of me will always miss her. We had a lot of good times. It just sucks.

    1. This is the situation I’m in. I initiated the breakup since we became toxic to each other and I saw that she began to dislike me. I had to do what was necessary after she did an unforgivable thing. Buy now after ending a 15 year friendship, the anger is gone and it’s just left a gapping hole . At 41 im not going to find or look for another female to get that that closen. I’m lonely as can be but suffer thru it daily, trying to fight depression. Even when I know I did the right safe thing, that she really wanted. Dosent make it any easier when you loose family.

  15. Sean Nelson says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I do apologize that the grief is very fresh for me. But you showed me the path forward.

    The sad thing is I let things get so sideways in my marriage that I took it out on my friend. Then he said I wasn’t even the same person anymore and pinned it all on her.

    I feel like a baby compared to these other folks. I only knew him for 7 years. And I will try to remember the good times, but it is so painful now. I let contempt threaten two relationships and now I can only save one.

    Thank you again for helping. It helps me remember that this is not something that is unique to human history and I’ll figure it out eventually.

  16. This is what I needed to read. My best friend (a widow at 25) is about to get remarried (to a widower). He is great for her and I know she loves him, but I was really holding out hope that she would meet someone who would love who she loves and want to be apart of who she was before him. Very sadly, I am feeling that this is not going to happen and I am broken.

  17. I wish I had seen this sooner. For a year, I have held onto the terrible ending in hopes that it would make me miss the friendship less. I have not allowed myself to remember the good memories. I think I see now that that is not productive and won’t help me heal.

  18. This was so very helpful. I miss her so much but it’s been years and like you wrote I can’t make her realize what she lost. I deleted her contact information- that was very very helpful. I think she’s deleted Maine anyway. This read was what I needed. I’ll move on. I was wronged but life moved on. Justice may be elusive but I can’t keep waiting. Thanks for this – grieve, own my piece, wish them well and move forward.

  19. This is beautiful. And sad. And just what I was looking for today. How wonderful that as humans we are never truly alone in any of our experiences?

    Thank you. So happy to have stubbled across your blog today.

  20. Thank you for writing this . I didn’t really realize how Common these heart breaks are… to everyone here I am so sorry for your loss .
    My heart hurts like I can’t breath… and it does come in waves. It’s been 1
    1/2 years since we talked . Doesn’t seem possible. We were best friends for 25 years . 💔 I would have never quit on you kel… I don’t understand!!

  21. Reading these words was both hard and needed at the same time. I lost my friend of 20 years last year and the friendship of many of my family members (due to a death that caused a family rift) within 3 months of each other. After, being sad and angry at her seemingly effortless way of moving on, I’ve been searching for answers and help. I’ve never felt this kind of pain before. And, I have a great life so I am constantly mad at myself for being so sad and unhappy. Thank you for these words. I am sure I will be reading them over and over again, now.

  22. I miss my friend everyday I loved her so much. Grieving of a friendship is real it hurts and it’s getting mistaken for a mental illness that it isn’t.

  23. I recently chose to walk away from a 17-year friendship because I learned of lies and manipulation on her part, some of which spanned the entire friendship. Through counseling and self-reflection, I’ve realized that, at times, her treatment of me was a form of emotional abuse – to the point I have alienated myself from other friends and family, as well as avoided opportunities to make new friends or take risks that would lead to personal growth.
    This article is the only one on this topic (there are more out there now) that is so eloquent at describing the gut-wrenching pain and engulfing sadness that can take you by surprise. Or how the void of your secret-sharer leaves you eager to tell a non-existent person exciting, scandalous, or bad news, ripping the hole in your heart just a little more at a time.
    Strangely, thank you. Although I’m sad to know there are so many more people who have felt this pain, it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Truly. As suggested, I’ve owned my part in how it came to this end. I look forward to the passing of more time so I can look on the memories more fondly, versus picking each apart for some sign I should have recognized as a red flag for what was to come.

  24. I don’t know how long ago you wrote this Jen, but I hope I can still express my appreciation for having googled this topic, and then being led to your excellent writing. It is just what I needed. I am a 68 year-old woman who recently lost a friendship of 53 years. It was because I love animals, and their welfare is my cause. I criticized her friend (who I don’t even know and never met) for engaging in an activity that I think is abusive to animals. My old friend was talking about it like it was an amusing story. She knows how I feel. Because I referred to her friend as an a-hole, I ended up having to apologize several times, even though her friend never heard it. My apology was never really accepted, and we parted permanently. I am still in shock and grief after 3 months has passed. Your words, as follows just made me sob out loud: “Got some good news to share? A secret to spill? An inside joke that you’re dying to laugh at? You turn and are left with the gaping doorway now, a giant hole. ” I always think, whenever something happens, oh wait ’till I tell Linda, but Linda is no longer in my life.

    1. Oh, Sharon. That is HEARTBREAKING. A lifetime of friendship, it must feel like losing part of your own history. I’m so very sorry you’re going through this, and for such a reason as standing up for the innocent animals who can’t speak for themselves. Healing will come, but it will take a good, long while. Blessings, Sharon. You are not alone. Thank you for sharing. ❤️

  25. Thank you for this! I am currently struggling with the loss of 2 friendships at the same time. To say I’m not handling it well is an understatement. This is so beautifully written and I hope will help me grieve easier.

  26. The loss of a treasured friendship leaves a very real hole in one’s heart and in one’s psyche. The memories include those where I wish I had been more forgiving, more loving. I wish I could take back the negative feelings I harbored at times. The doubts about the authenticity of the friendship. The lingering concerns about trust. A history of deep sharing only
    intensifies the regret and disbelief that this beloved friend is no longer a part of my life.

  27. Michelle Dimaria says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful article.. I have been having a very difficult time understanding why I have felt so sad, hopeless and in despair over the last few weeks in regard to the sudden distancing of my best friend. I feel better knowing that my feelings are valid and I am not the only one who is going through this sort of anguish, and that there is hope for healing in the future.. ❤️🙏

  28. Thank You so much for this article! I have been struggling over the ending of a 30 year friendship and we have also worked together for 17 years which I believe caused the friendship to end. I cannot speak or look at her, it is hard enough having to work in the same office everyday.

  29. Unbelievably perfect article. 18 years fading away fast. Your beautiful writing is everything I want to say. Thank you.

  30. I know a lot of people have already told you this.. But i need to say it myself : Thank you so much for compiling ypur knowledge and wisdom and writing this. It made me feel less alone. I am young, 21 yrs, and I lost two friendships of 3 years in the same time. May not seem like much.. But i have clinical depression and anxiety. And these two have been my first real friends since i was born.. Before them i struggled with excruciating loneliness for as far as i remember.. And after i lost them I found myself completely alone.. I got used to being in good company with them all the time, and so, all this being taken away from me all of a sudden.. ugh..
    I understand better times are ahead. But until then, i am living hell itself..
    I don’t even have anyone to share my thoughts and pains with. So, your words made me feel less alone.. Thank you..

  31. Jen, I am a singer/songwriter who is morning the lost a 3 year friendship. I was really moved and inspired by your writing and was wondering if I could use your words in a song?

    1. I love this idea! I’m not sure if there’s something I need to do, officially, but I’d love to hear it when you’re done!

  32. Mary Starusko says:

    I lost a 40 year friend 1.5 years ago. It had been coming. The signs were there – busy everytime I invited her to do something or she simply would email me and say “no thanks.” I asked what was wrong repeatedly to which she always replied, via email since it’s easier than saying it in person, “nothing is wrong” which I accepted for a long time until the reality finally struck me when my Dad died. I called her to let her know. I once again begged profusely for forgiveness for anything I ever did to offend or hurt her in any way. She wouldn’t open up. I asked, pathetically, if this means she doesnt want to be friends anymore. Uncomfortably, she replied: “People change. People go in different directions. We’ll get together SOME TIME, which NEVER happened. She never even called to see how the funeral went or how I was handling the devastating loss of my Father. It was like dealing with 2 deaths! I emailed her a year later to extend the olive branch ONCE AGAIN. ONCE AGAIN, I apologized profusely and said I wished her well. In reply, I received 6 words: “no worries, best to you too.” It’s still very hard and I miss her terribly. My advice: PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. Keep busy. Try to be a blessing to someone who needs it until your blessing comes. God hears ALL prayers and will help YOU. I feel for all of you as I do for myself. The loss and personal devastation is incalculable. Be good and kind to yourself. Time will heal your wounds and mine. I will be praying for all of you as I continue to pray for myself. It’s a rough road, but we will know peace again. I so wish I knew the reason for all of this. I would NEVER have done this to her for ANY reason.

    1. That is so heartbreaking, I’m so very sorry!!!

  33. It took several years for me to fully recover from the loss of an important 20-year friendship. I clung to the feeling she had deeply wronged me and even rebuffed her early and short-lived attempts to resume the friendship. I eventually realized the ways I had contributed to the rift, then turned all that anger and remorse back on myself. Time and life has a way of softening us, however, and I ultimately forgave both myself and her. Yes, we both f’ed up and something beautiful died as a result. It was sad, and I accepted it. I am now more gentle and responsible with new friendships, and treasure old friends more than ever. That was the enduring silver lining of this friendship’s end.

    1. That sounds hopeful because I still hurt hugely from a friendship loss.

  34. friendship of 23 years gone in a flash, from my own blunt, callous stupidity. i’ve never wished my best friend or his wife anything but the best & that’ll never change, but i have nobody to be mad at but myself. we were never actually related, but we were always there for each other & he was more than a brother to me, through my entire military career that took me all over the world with good friends who came & went fairly regularly, the death of my actual brother, the end of my failed marriage that lasted entirely too long, & even through the rest of my blood relatives abandoning me over the years. i’ve never felt more alone, even with the largely solitary life i’ve led, but the hundreds of miles physical distance should at least help some with the healing process as i find my new normal.

  35. Katherine East says:

    I caused the end of an extremely precious friendship because of an awful betrayal which has been irreparable. I struggle with what I did every single day and am in deep grief over the loss of this person. I would do anything to be able to try to repair the relationship but I don’t think she will want to have any contact with me know. I suppose I just wanted to say that some of us who have let down friends and caused tremendous grief and pain do also suffer very much with the loss, especially in the knowledge that we are the cause and that we can’t heal the hurt from our mistakes. I don’t know how to move on from this. It has been several years now.

    1. You could write a letter of apology in which you accept your role in the friendship’s end (as you do in your post), and say how sorry you are things ended the way you did. You do NOT ask to resume the friendship, and you make it clear there’s no need to respond. Then sit on your letter for several days and consider carefully whether the point of sending it is to make YOU feel better or him/her feel better. If you believe the other person still feels wronged and would be soothed by your overture, even months later, then go ahead and send the letter. Making sincere amends to those we have hurt heals us as well as them.

  36. Wow this totally resonated with me. Thx. Grieving the list of my ONLY best friend of 35 years. I tho it this was the one enduring friendship I would be lucky to have my entire life. But it’s not to be. The tragedy of her cancer divorce and messed up kids and life have taken their toll ADN she is no Ofer the same person I loved and felt care for by. That’s fine. In its place is a bitter sad angry person impossible to be around though J have truly tried. I just can’t do it anymore. Feeling lots of guilt over it and she is sure as heck mad at me for “giving up on he as I go away to heal what’s been pretty toxic for me.

  37. Randy Gomez says:

    I love how this is written, thank you I needed, I’m currently a University student at 22 years old. I’m a man, and as a man it’s harder to be honest with my emotions because men are taught to suppress it and “be like a man” and move forward. My best friend is a girl, we were inseparable. We were both together in the yearbook when we went to the same high school, she and I won the “most likely to brighten your day” award for the seniors, and we had a picture of the two of us hugging. We danced at prom together and we graduated high school together and went for walks on the park together. I was so happy when I found out we were going to the same University together, what I didn’t realize though is that even though we went at the same place I thought it would be easier to see each other, it wasn’t we got busier and now she’s so busy she doesn’t even answer my texts or greet me like she used to. I took it as a sign that we grew apart, I tried not to cry but I did, I miss her so much, she misses me, earlier today when I was alone at school when no one was looking I weeped. My best friend’s hugs could take away my temper and soften my heart she was the sweetest thing I’ve met. It’s hard as a man, because I’m told I’m supposed to man up, and just let it go but letting go hurts, I feel hurt. It’s even harder for me being shy I dread making new friends because it’s hard the idea of me making first move to anyone terrifies me. So this friendship was worth it and it didn’t came easy for me. I miss her so much I love her she loves me and we hug each other every time we see each other, her hugs make me happy. She is my best friend forever, my bestie in my heart. I’ll never forget what she did for me and how she introduced me to Jesus I’ll never forget her, I just hope to see her again soon if we can somehow find the time. I love her so much, but for now I got a slow and painful process grieving and healing to get through to fully recover over time.

    – Randy

  38. My husband and I have been friends with another couple for going on 20 years. This couple has been like family for us, our best friends. Our kids were raised together and call each other cousins….their granddaughter calls us “Aunt and Uncle.” About 5 years ago, he cheated, badly…and she left him. They eventually decided to work it out, but needed some help getting back on their feet. So, we let them live with us for about 6 months. No bills, no nothing. It was no problem, and went very smoothly. Fast forward, and we’ve all moved to another side of town, but we still live very near each other…and we are still very close. Suddenly, she starts acting really strange and has a bit of a “relapse” of anger…and leaves him…it culminates in a lot of relationship drama for them. And they both start acting weird with us. We have told them over and over again that we love them…but they both started taking advantage of us, and lying about stuff. Then, went so far as to borrow (more) money. All of a sudden, they just stopped talking to us. We know that they’re back together, because of the gossips in the area. I’ve tried to reach out several times, only to get really crappy responses. The final straw was this weekend…the husband was just downright rude in a text. Like…how did WE become the villains in their lives? I sent a heartfelt text (because they won’t answer their phones) – and it’s just like they’ve ghosted both of us. It’s all still so fresh, that I vacillate between sadness and anger. I feel like we deserve to be told something. This ghosting thing is just so ugly and hateful.

    1. I cannot imagine how confusing and painful that is! I’m so very sorry!!

      1. It hurts so much to be treated like this I know. I hope you can find peace with the hurt. Good luck

  39. Thank you so much for this. Two days ago a big betrayal came out and amongst other things pushing us apart over the past two years I feel that a 16 year friendship is over. Your article is very wise and comforting and I was concerned about losing such a long friendship but after reading your article and seeing such lengthy losses in the comments I feel more comfortable that it’s the right decision and it’s the quality of the friendship as opposed to the length that counts. I also feel a lot less alone in losing such a lengthy friendship but as your article states no one is immune. I will be sure to revisit the article as my grief journey continues.

  40. Thank you so much for this. I’m still young and the friendship is only 5 years old but I couldn’t tell myself why it felt like I was grieving..the end to the friendship was sudden and based on her boyfriend not liking me (after I supported a decision she made to spite him) so he suggested her and I keep a “professional relationship only.” I had to keep telling myself it was not me. It’s only been a couple days but I’m tired of being sad and tired…above all we still work together so I will still have to see her and work alongside her so I feel like I don’t get closure and I’m still holding out for our friendship to fix itself when he’s done being upset with me but…I’m not sure I want the friendship anymore.

    1. Oh my goodness, what a difficult situation!

    2. Justine McLeary says:

      Your situation sounds similar to mine. My ex-friend ended our friendship with no explanation after she got back with her former partner. He’s very possessive and I can’t believe she went back after the trouble she went to to leave. But I would have supported her given the chance. I think he’s turned her against me even though I’ve never met him. I miss her dearly but not sure I want the friendship anymore either because of the revolting messages he’s been sending me. I don’t want that in my life. She and I have to work together too so it’s hard to move on and accept she’d end it like this without the decency of a proper explanation.

      1. The hard thing is, my friend, “Lucille,” is the person I would have been talking to about this very situation, because I was so accustomed to telling her everything and now that I can’t tell her this, I find I’m having to do what I used to do–>write things down. Still, I am bothered by thinking about her even when I don’t want to be thinking about her. I had a lot of feelings of sadness before too, when she pulled away the first time but now I’m feeling more anger because I KNOW she would know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that pulling away when my mother died would be profoundly hurtful. (Justine or Jen, please clarify if I’m typing this response just to Justine now, which is my intention. Thanks). Julia

        1. I know that feeling all too well. Had a friend drop out of my life multiple times and she was the person I talked to about everything so I had to write my feelings down and couldn’t stop thinking about her. She eventually came back AGAIN and I let her but it’s not the same, can’t talk to her about anything and I don’t really consider her a friend anymore. Anyway, I’m so sorry you’ve had to experience that, I know how painful it is and no one deserves that, just know that time will heal your wounds even if that feels impossible now. Also my name is also Julia 🙂

  41. Dear Jen,

    I have been struggling for almost a year with losing a friendship. I haven’t for reasons unknown stopped grieving. At the most absurd times, I remember that – “Oh XYZ would have loved this and got the joke and laughed so hard at it.” I can’t seem to get across to anyone on why it hurts so much to lose a friend vs losing a partner ( much support received here) or losing to death a loved one (lots of support here too). When I say I’m hurt and grieving for losing this friend, all is get is odd and/or awkward stares and the proverbial absent minded pat on the head/back.

    What you’ve written (so very well) really touched a chord in me and I finally feel understood and that I’m not ridiculous to feel this intense pain at the loss. I’m so tempted from time to time to restart the friendship but I know it will be intensely sticky and awkward as families will get hurt despite this being a wholly platonic friendship between 2 people of the opposite sex who saw the other as a person who got the other person’s ridiculous sense of humour/train of thought/philosophy and didn’t need a response for everything communicated.

    Thank you for writing this. This will help me let go of the pain and move on.

  42. A beautifully written article. I have lost my best friend of 38 years. My heart is broken. Hers probably is, too. Truly, no apology could change the finality. It would never be the same. Still, my heart is broken in half. I will love and miss her forever.

    1. Kathy….I’m so sorry that this long relationship ended and in a negative way. Like you, I will always love my friend no matter what. Maybe the fond memories of your life experiences together will help carry you through and with time the pain of that void will lessen. Thinking of you! Sarah

  43. My relationship of nearly two decades with my best friend was also lost to me recently, coincidentally at the same time my mother died. These two events were in fact related. I believed our friendship was sacred. I told my best friend everything, believed we could survive anything. I thanked God for our relationship. After a period of unusual behavior on my friend’s part, I later learned she’d kept a secret from me all these years when, late in life, she made a decision to revisit an extra-marital affair from her youth. This affair was with a man she referred to as narcissistic. That fateful choice resulted in terrible destructive chaos for my friend and ultimately contributed mightily to the end of our friendship. I had a particularly empathy for my friend in this regard and aimed to be supportive because years before, I had a relationship with a similar narcissistic character before knowing my friend. Her relationship with this man chewed up and spat out a beaten up version of my friend. She became utterly obsessed with this relationship. Her life revolved around the relationship, her pain and her therapy over the pain. Twice over a year, she put me “on hold” due to misperceived messages on my part, saying she needed to process her feelings. I had no idea whether she was ever coming back and I went through much more grief than she ever understood. I begged her the first time to return to our sacred friendship. Over time, she became hyper-focused on her body, lost far too much weight, and finally became paranoid and unreachable, even as I tried to offer support I would have wanted in such a position. At other times she thanked me for the support and told me she didn’t know how she could do this without me. When my mother died, my friend knew I wanted her support, not only because that is natural but because I had told this in advance. Instead of being there for me, her preoccupation with the relationship, her wounds, her therapy, reigned high when my mother died, and she put me “on hold” right then, at that crucial time, with no end in sight. ,
    She misperceived messages I’d sent which were meant solely to be supportive and lashed out at me. There was nothing I could say to alter her sad, warped perception. I understood her pain but not her lashing out at me. Over time, I watched as my formerly very strong friend turned into a person I no longer recognized. She knew my mother and had stayed in my parents’ vacation place on a yearly basis but she didn’t even send a card when my mother died.
    If someone had whispered in our ears a year or so in advance of these events, neither of us would have believed it would happen! I lost my mother and at the same time, I lost my best friend. And my friend lost her former healthier self to this life-sucking relationship. Her failure to be there for me when my mother died made clear to me that I needed to say goodbye in order to mourn my mother. My friend’s departure at such a crucial time, no matter what her pain level, suggested to me she may have wanted to pass her pain on to me. She was much nicer to the man who treated her badly than she was to me. I’m still at that stage where I think of so many things I would have told her on a daily basis. Meanwhile, I also have a sense of relief to be removed because the dance with my friend had begun to make me sick in my stomach. That was my warning in advance.

  44. Justine McLeary says:

    Thanks so much for this. I’ve recently lost a very close friend due to her reunion with a possessive partner. She cut me off before I found out they’d reunited and I had no idea why. I’m very lost and find the tears creep up on me when I least expect it and just when I think I have a handle on things. She’s left a big hole and perhaps the worst part is I still have to work with her and it’s not helping me move on. So thanks so much for your post. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my grief.

  45. This is the first year I didn’t wish her happy birthday in 26 years, because I have to let go and accept the loss Thank you for this thoughtful and heartfelt post. I’m mourning today, it’s been years since the loss…but on certain days it hurts more. It hurts more than a death.

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