“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.
150 thoughts on “Mourning the Death of a Friendship”
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.
Oh, Jaime, I’m so sorry. It absolutely sucks. ❤️
Lost my older by one year sister age 6. Moved house became friends with 2 girls, turns out they both shared my late sisters birthday. Anyhow one homed in on my first true love 2wks after we split. Me and him kept getting together over two more years til I gave up. He went back to her, but 6 years on came to my weddt and I knew his feelings were still as strong. A week later he married her but 2hrs after taking his vows told me he’d married the wrong girl. Thankfully my own marriage was strong. They kept splitting up n called it a Day. The other girls bf didn’t like my bf or me even though he’d introduced them. She came to our wedding along with her family, who’d moved out of London so she spent most weekends at my mum’s house. So many shared memories, holidays etc. No idea when it went too wrong. Anyway today I came across photos of our once in a lifetime holiday and the tears are flowing. Wedding and children bit was the death knell. So 32 years on Reading your blog helped. Thank you x
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.
Oh, Bridget, that’s a lifetime. I am so very sorry.
Best friends for 45 years. She took a powder when my husband died. I am now dealing with two deaths: his and my friendship with her. Thank you for this thoughtful piece.
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.
I can tell you that I am sure your friends cared about you. Honestly, I could think this post is about my friend since this is the reason we stopped talking. She was getting married and I jsut had a baby. Having a new baby was soo rough for me. I didn’t have a lot of support and I was crumbling. My anxiety and depression caused me to isolate myself and there was no way I could focus on her wedding. I was maid of honor but asked to be bridesmaid but even then, I really couldn’t. It ultimately ended with her uninviting me to her wedding. I also felt my own resentment because I felt she wasn’t around in my new chapter of kids. But things happen and people change or just don’t understand what’s going on. Three years later and I am still mourning the loss of my friend but I am too afraid of reaching out and finally saying what I needed to say then.
I feel this allllll too well! I too, recently had a wedding. One of my bridesmaids betrayed me and made up false accusations and twisted words i said that in turn didn’t just ruin our friendship but my friendship with my best guy friend of 20 years. We had been friends since 5th grade. We are in our thirties now. He won’t talk to me to defend myself or tell him what really happened bc it was supposedly said about his wife. Now my bridesmaid and my best guy friend and his wife are bestfriends and I’m left out in the cold looking like an idiot. They have blocked me on everything as well. It hurts. I cry all the time. I feel like someone is sitting on my chest. I feel you girl
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
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.
Me too Denise. 50 year frienship…and I just turned 60. I became wrapped up in caring for my elderly parents through Alzheimer’s, strokes, and everything in between…never once did she offer her support…and yet I saw her helping so many others through things. She felt things were lopsided with her always making the effort. How could we see things so differently?! I have come to believe I just didn’t fit in to her picture of family with husband, kids, and grandkids…I have none of them. The lopsided was just her excuse to give herself permission to end the friendship. What hurts so bad is the dishonesty and being treated like I did something terrible. We have many common friends and they have not reached out..gone as well. I hate wondering what has been said about me. I find myself crying wondering what I did??!! It’s been a little over a year and I am still hurting so bad! Her daughter was my Goddaughter…she had a baby and when this was beginning to go down…I was seeing pictures on social media of all these baby showers, none of which I was invited. Never have met my friends Granddaughter. Just seems so hurtful and wrong. I look so forward to getting through this, not crying myself to sleep, and seeing it as a thing of the past. I wish no one I’ll will and just want to be able to move on!!!!
Same here. I am tragically sad. I am mourning the death of a friendship of 20 years and its SAD!
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.
Hi there Jaime
I’m not sure when you posted….but do you better about what happened….inner peace?
I’m very sorry 💗💗💗
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.
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. ❤️
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.
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.
Goodness, May, I’m so sorry. ❤️❤️❤️
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 😢
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
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 ❤️
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
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. ❤️
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oh, Flower, I am so sorry. That is so painful and sad!
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.
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❣️
RIP my sweet-heart. I’ll miss you!!! These points have helped me a lot!!!
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.
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. ❤️
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.
Oh, Jillian. I am so sorry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. ❤️
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.
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.
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.. ❤️🙏
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.
OMG- I can’t imagine how BEYOND struggling it must be for you to actually have to come face to face with your formerly loved, LONG TIME Friend. I had also lost someone- 2.5 years ago- with whom I had a deep friendship with for over 30 years, and it was abslutely horrible when she ‘took some space’ from me incredibly painful -for awhile at least- to just worry I might run into her in public since we live in the same city in neighborhoods that are close to eachother.! I grieved this deeply and still once in a while feel that pang of sadness & guilt. But I am not sure you can actually fully do the mourning you absolutely need to do, and have the right to do– I don’t know how long ago the ‘breakup’ occurred, if it is still fresh or not, but DO YOU have any paid time off at your job you can take? I mean, this is like emotional trauma to have to live with seeing her and I think for sure you deserve to NOT HAVE TO speak or look at her for a while at least. My heart breaks for you. We are all “lucky” to have found Jen’s insightful and passionate essay. I actually printed it out and keep it by my bedside (My present broken friendship is with someone I’d been very close to for 13 years, and happened very suddenly and explosively.. we were that rare adult friendship where you talk to eachother like, every day or every other day, and it still never gets boring. And this was a Guy Friend. Just wanted to speak up and offer you sympathy for what must be a nasty-horrible-re-hurt-ful work situation. (mine was work related also- I worked for him as an indie contractor and when the breakup occurred he ‘fired me’ as an employee ALSO.
We all have different heartfelt stories and at the core of them are the same emotions of hurt, loss, pain and overwhelming sadness. My girl best friend, twin flame, we called each other, I thought would last a lifetime. We spoke every day and were always there for each other for all of our 5 year friendship. Then she met a new guy, I was so happy for her…then she decided that we did not have so much in common anymore…from nowhere, I was heart broken when she told me that the friendship for her was not working anymore and she felt it would be best to not see me anymore…she said it has been brewing for sometime and she just did not know how to tell me…so no big argument or falling out led to our breakup…on her part just meeting a new man and a kind of moving on…I was left devasted with this big immense hole inside. I cried so much…it really felt like a death….a year later, I still think of her a lot. I can’t really hate her, she treated me badly for sure, but I suppose if she did not want to be my friend anymore what could I do? Was she truly ever a friend…It is all so strange….I do sometimes send her a message, not sure if she gets/reads it. I am not expecting a reply…I don’t ask questions, I just tell her what I’m up to, I don’t give any details…not sure why I do it…I suppose I am just trying to cling to some sort of link even if it is one sided…has anyone else done this? Maybe I don’t want to be forgotten…I just send an email then forget about it. I really don’t expect a reply. Sent her an Xmas message. She did reply. Very formal and not like her at all…but at least she did reply. I still wish her the very. best and even though she is gone from my life I feel she is in my DNA somehow. She added sparkle to my life for 5 years and for that I will always be grateful..I feel lonely sometimes, I have other friends but they are like her. We were so close. It was only when when she decided that she did not want me as a friend that I realised how much I leant on her from emotional support, like friends do. And she on me…I helped her in so many ways. Her “Dear John” note read…..”You have always been a good friend to me and you are a lovely person. However I feel that we are no longer compatable and want to move on. Wishing you all the best!!!” Five years of friendship and that is all I get as some kind of explanation why she wanted to ditch our friendship! I really miss her and sometimes it feels like an ache and tears come to my eyes. I refuse to fill that void with hate and “hard done by me” feelings. So I leave it empty and hope that the space in time will be filled with something positive and beautiful.
Omg. What was your reply to this? I’m wondering if she has extremely conflicting views? (ie. religous, etc). Maybe she didn’t agree with something very strong politically that you supported or didn’t support? Very weird message. And also hurtful because it seems like she was only using you until a man came into her life!?
Unbelievably perfect article. 18 years fading away fast. Your beautiful writing is everything I want to say. Thank you.
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..
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?
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!
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.
That is so heartbreaking, I’m so very sorry!!!
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.
That sounds hopeful because I still hurt hugely from a friendship loss.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I cannot imagine how confusing and painful that is! I’m so very sorry!!
It hurts so much to be treated like this I know. I hope you can find peace with the hurt. Good luck
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.
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.
Oh my goodness, what a difficult situation!
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.
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
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 🙂
also sorry for the suffering you’ve had to endure.
I am quite a merciful person to anyone who apologizes to me and have renewed some lost friendships over the years but I don’t think this one is ever coming back because I never knew her to be much of a merciful person in that way, and she changed so much that I could hardly recognize the person I’d known previously. It’s still so hard to understand and I am working to accept that it will never fully make sense to me. at least I know that I tried really really hard to be a good friend. I wish I could take a pill that would allow me to stop thinking about her when I don’t want her in my head.
Thank you, and yes losing a close friend is so hard to process. No one expects friendships to end so suddenly. Unfortunately there is no way to get them off our minds but as much as it doesn’t seem like it and no one really likes to hear it, time does help. It eases that deep ache and old memories get replaced by new ones. It is so hard, so so hard and sadly the only way through is to feel that pain for as long as it takes for it to subside. Best of wishes to you, I hope that you are able to form new friendships with people you can rely on and treat you right. Sending you peace and love – julia
Most definitely. It’s been 2 months since we’ve spoken and she’s gone out of her way to not be in the office while I’m there. (She’s also my supervisor). It’s still hard because she will use old nicknames during meetings but then go back to being strictly professional. Everyone at work knew us as very close so it’s raised a lot of questions. Her emotionally abusive bf cut her off social media as well so I can’t stalk either…probably for the best.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
It’s tough when you work together. I have the option to work remotely so do that a lot now to avoid seeing her. I find I can deal with it much better from a distance. She gave me a birthday present recently and it stirred things up for me again. I was angry- if she doesn’t want to be friends any longer I’d prefer her to just leave me alone outside work. It’s six months since we saw each other socially and not getting any easier yet.
I hope things will for you with time.
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.
I know how you feel. I’ve lost one of my friendship groups and it just feels like a death.
I am devastated. My best friend, my soul mate, my go to gal pal in times of angst and troubles does not want to be friends anymore. We were friends for five years. Speaking almost daily, messaging and hanging out for coffees. She sustained me emotionally and was always there for me. Also I was their for her too! I miss everything, and it has only been two days! I wonder how I will fill the void that I feel. It feels so heavy and full of pain. The worst thing is that she will continue with her life and I will never know what has happened to her. I will never know if she is ok and what she is doing…that is the worst part….she has met a new boyfriend and now feels are friendship is no long tenable!!! She sent me a text, thanking for the our friendship and telling me what a good friend I had been to her….!!!Presently I feel bitter….Such a good friend to her…but she does not want to continue our friendship…..She has a new man in her life….and I am left with a blank, vast, deep, cold void….I hope I will heal. It is just so painful the thought of never knowing how she is doing and wondering if she is OK….that part is just so hard to bear.
Thank you for this article, I’m finding it hard that my close friendship has come to an end. I was recently in hospital with a life threatening infection and needed heart surgery. My best friend came across really patronising, dismissed my emotions and treated me like a child. I felt so stressed and unable to handle her approach so I told her I felt. Instead of trying to talk to me and support me she reacted defensively and made it about her, and since then haven’t heard from her. Luckily I have amazing family, partner and other friends who supported me but the complete abandonment from someone who I considered so close still hurts. Looking back, I can see the friendship was one sided a lot of the times, and I was constantly used as an emotional dumping ground for her but I feel so sad when I remember the good times, I also felt I meant more to her, and it hurts that our friendship was dismissed so easily
Lucy—You deserve better! A real friend drops everything, especially with such a health concern. I am so glad you’re ok! 🙏
Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise that she revealed her self-centeredness to you when you really needed her. Now you leave a space open for, perhaps, a new balanced friendship with someone more deserving of your loyalty and devotion. Life is too short. Hang on to the memories of the good times—friendship for a season and a reason. I had a similar loss without the health scare and after six months I can look back on “red flags” and one sidedness in the relationship with more clarity. I will cherish the good memories we shared and wish her the best in my heart without enduring her draining negativity, victim mentality and temper.
The best friend I (thought) I ever had betrayed me in the worst way possible. She had an affair under my nose for three years with my husband. I loved her. All the anger I have been holding onto. Angry that she came in and damaged my life and pretended to be my friend and she got to move on and get married and have a baby while I’m still back here thinking about it everyday. I think about her betrayal constantly and then I finally realized that as much as I hate her and what she did to me. I miss her, well not her but the best friend part. I’ve never been as close to anyone as I was to her and I’m angry she took that from me. I’m hoping this artical will help bring peace to my thoughts and stop the repetitive thinking of her daily and get some normalcy back! I will never ever let anyone in again😢 I feel for everyone’s comments also yours Jen
I know that my comments are coming WAY after the original posting, but having freshly suffered the loss of a friendship, this post really was wonderful for me to land on. It is beautifully written and confirms that I most definitely WILL get through the loss of a friendship I’ve had for over 30 years.
I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, Melanie! You absolutely *will* get through it, but MAN is it painful right now. I’m so glad you found this. Honestly – and sadly – this post remains the most frequently-visited one on the site, and there are new comments weekly from people experiencing the same loss. It’s heart-breaking to see, but also strangely comforting to know it’s not just you, you aren’t alone, it wasn’t all your fault, and there’s nothing “wrong” with you. Again, I’m so sorry for your pain. ❤️
Im getting used to moving on from deep friendships on what feels like a yearly occurrence. Ive lost all of my meaningful friendships/ childhood friendships.
All Ive got is family now and theyll be there forever. And Ive gotten used to people moving on, but the current of life constantlt culling these precious connections is hard. And its so painful to see them move on without a care in the world and to see them so happier without you.
Nobody in the state I live in gives a shit about me. Idk it sucks being so independent.
Through the years I have had friendships come and go. Some that had lasted years, some that hadn’t been very long but oh so strong. Recently I fought cancer as well as almost died on the operating table and realized how small my support circle really is. With therapy I know I have a way of doing negative thinking and massive anxiety but when I look back that was during my grieving process, not what caused the friendships to fizzle out. Do I have regrets of lost friendships, most definitely but that is something I no longer truly focus on. I look at who is here now. I learned how quickly life can almost come to an end so celebrate who is by your side now
I sorely needed this. I am still grieving the loss of a close friend. Well, I really screwed up the friendship, not her. I was really mean to her over an affair between her and another man she got me involved in and with her lack of wanting to walk things out, I just became really angry and said enough is enough. In a very toxic fashion.
Now six months later, I wanted to apologize to her. Not that I believe she’ll accept it and perhaps not even see it. So, I really needed this in order to reflect and move past my mistakes.
Thank you so much for posting this!
I’ve been trying to put words to what I’ve been feeling for about 8 weeks now after a friendship of almost 5 years ended. That’s not a really long time but for an adult friendship, to me it was a very long time and we were really close. I approached her about some behavior her son was exhibiting and it just went all sorts of wrong. Now I question if I should’ve even said anything. She never responded to my last email. It just ended . So thank you for helping me to feel like this grief I feel is normal because it’s really kicked my butt.
I am mourning the loss of a 33 year friendship that I thought would always be there. I’m devastated by it.
Cara I am so very sorry you have to endure such a loss and join this club of so many of us experiencing the same! My friendship was 45 years. We met in 7th grade and are now 60. Her and her family were my family, including being a Godmother to her daughter. I lost them all…I feel like 2/3 of my life is gone.
I cried when I woke, all day, and at night in bed. It is devastating. It has been about 1 year since I’ve seen her. I want you to know… it’s going to get easier with each day. You will have a memory pop in to your head (I’m not sure what your situation was) and start realizing things were fading for awhile. You will begin to realize that it is absolutely your ex friends loss and you will meet others that respect you perhaps far more than what you may have been getting back from your friend. I promise you this…it will get easier and better…and you will move on to have an awesome life….whatever it has in store for you!!!! Hang in there and know it is absolutely okay to mourn and be hurt for as long as you need to! 💖
Thanks, Keely. I considered him my “first real boyfriend” and we’ve known each other since I was 15 (now 48). I became friends with his wife and he became friends with my husband. He was always someone I could turn to…. it’s truly been devastating to me.
about 18 months ago, my daughter was having issues at school. Both of my kids work in tv/film and were missing quite a bit of school. Her teacher that year was very, very NOT understanding. He could not fathom all that she was learning while working on set. So, after that, I asked my kids if they would prefer to do home-learning. My daughter at the time was suffering severe anxiety every time she had to go to school because she was not sure how the teacher was going to react to her being there. She jumped at the chance. I posted on social media asking for my friends’ thoughts and suggestions. My best friend sent me a private message saying that I would cause my kids to become “social re****s” . I had a visceral reaction to his words. And responded in shock. I mean, he knows my kids (they are actually teens). I found his words incredibly disrespectful. He could have simply asked me about socialization etc, but instead he attacked using horrific words (didn’t seem like him at all).
Anyway, I told him he was entitled to his opinion. He said I was being patronizing and condescending and pretty much that was the end of the friendship. I’m still in shock. I can’t believe that he was willing to cut off a friendship of more than 3 decades because I decided to homeschool my kids! (Actually, to be accurate, they are still enrolled in school and I have to report to a certified/qualified teacher weekly, but he didn’t stick around long enough to ask for information, he just jumped to conclusions with zero regard for me or my situation.)
I keep telling myself that it’s his loss, but the problem is, it’s not. It’s also my loss, my kids’ loss (no more Uncle) and my husband’s loss. We all lost out.
I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I know all too well what it feels like to be attacked by your best friend, enough so that it ends the friendship. My opinion: there is always…ALWAYS something deeper. It’s never just the incident you think it is. I wonder why he would do that, especially out of character. Any ways I know it’s shocking. I’m finally out of shock and it’s been nearly 2 years. I still cannot believe it’s been that long. My best friend was toxic. After a long time I came to realize that. I thought it was the incident for so long, then I realized there was a whole lot more to it. There always is. Anyways good luck. I don’t think time will ever heal this kind of thing, I still feel like a limb has been chopped off, but I’m still alive and doing the best I can and I’m proud of myself for sticking my ground, so you should be too. You were only doing the best for your kids. School is so corrupt in so many ways. It’s good they’re getting that skill and fulfilling their passion, you did the right thing and he was wrong not to support it.
Yes, I agree, I think there is definitely more to it but I cannot fathom what it is. He has no interest in even trying to sort it out. Which is interesting because I’m the one who felt attacked. Anyway, if I continue to dwell on it all, I will only drive myself crazy. I’ve been suffering rather severe anxiety since it happened and I have to try to take care of my family and not give this situation more oxygen.
Thanks for your understanding.
And yes, it feels like I’m missing a limb.
Thank you so much for sharing this, Jen.
I’m grieving the loss of two friendships at once. Your line about weddings and babies being the sieves which not everyone makes it though was especially profound.
I’m 27 years old and recently married.
I asked two close friends to be in my bridal party. We had a longer engagement, lasting almost 2 years. I came to regret my decision, feeling like these friends were absent from much of the conservations and planning we would have as a bridal party. When it came time to organize a date for my bachelorette party, they tried to blame my best friend, my MOH for somehow being responsible for not including them more.
I felt beside myself. My best friend was astonished at how unhelpful they were and this caused me a great deal of stress and hurt.
The one friend was so upset with me, because I wouldn’t allow her to dye her hair bright red for my wedding. First she asked about having pink hair, then bright red. She claimed she had undergone a great deal of change in the last year, and wanted to honour those changes. I tried asking her to clarify why she felt so compelled to colour her hair, but she wouldn’t explain further. It felt like she wanted to be the star of the show. I was upset by this. I tried explaining what with so many changes in planning a wedding during a pandemic, there was a specific look I was trying to achieve, and that I would appreciate her having her natural hair colour. Perhaps I was wrong to do this, and I’ll admit that.
I wanted our wedding day to be ideal. Having one out of 6 bridesmaids with bright red hair didn’t seem appropriate to me. I would personally never do that to a friend if I were in their bridal party. She was aware she’d be in our wedding for the last 2 years.
They weren’t entirely terrible. They did give a gift at my bachelorette and at our wedding. For the most part, I didn’t feel like I was a priority to them. I felt they didn’t want to be part of the bridal party. The other friend abruptly left the bridesmaid group chat, without any explanation whatsoever. Each of my bridesmaids lived in different cities, making it necessary to have a group chat online. At one point, I gave both of these friends a chance to attend as guests instead. I knew they were having difficulties themselves and didn’t want to burden them further. I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. They both decided to remain bridesmaids anyway.
Our wedding went off without a hitch. Literally, it was truly uncanny and I was steeling myself for the moment either of them to do something awful.
It was like a fairytale.
The wedding has come and passed now. I have pulled back a lot, limiting contact from both people.
I hope in time I can get over this. It’s one thing to grieve the loss of one friend, but two at once is a lot to bear.
Hey, I just wanted to reach out because my best friend and I fell out over the wedding as well. Being on the other side of it, I don’t think it was right of you to dictate their hair colour, that’s kind of controlling. Plus if a bright colour is what they wanted then that’s who they are and I’m sure you must have known this? Anyways, I know you already said you maybe shouldn’t have done that but I just wanted to confirm it.
Can I ask what happened at the wedding? Sounds very similar to my story.
Almost 3 years ago my friend (or sister as I claimed her) of 22 years and I had a bit of a misunderstanding of sorts and it left me hurt. We never recovered from it though I tried reaching out dozens of times and she never responded. I tried for a whole year and was rejected each time. I felt like someone took a dagger to my heart. I never could explain what losing a friendship like ours felt like and this article hit the nail on the head. Most times I am ok but days like this I am crying my heart out. One day or one year at a time I guess.
Sounds very similar to mine. It’s heartbreaking. What happened if I may ask?
About 5 mths before, my ex-BF got invited to a wedding in Miami and another mutual friend said, why don’t we make it a girl’s trip as well. It didn’t pan out at first but about a month before I happened to find out that they did in fact organize a bit of a girls weekend and nobody told me or invited me.
Wow! So many others going through a similar situation. I can feel the heartbreak as a scroll through the comments. I’ve lost a few long term friendships over the last few years. Cleaning house as you might say. Do I expect too much?? Perhaps. But i am a giving person and I expect the same. Maybe that’s the problem? This last one though really hurts. We were the best of pals. Maybe I sabotaged it? I’m hurt, confused and very sad.
This article and all the comments were very comforting. My ex-boyfriend was also my best friend. We lived together for five years and then went on to keep our friendship for two more. When I finally started dating someone else, my ex couldn’t deal with it and we ended the friendship. While I have fully mourned the romantic relationship, I’m finding the loss of the friendship incredibly difficult. It’s been six months and I’m just now realizing how overwhelmingly sad I am. Like, bouts of depression level sad. I feel like a family member died. I’m not sure how to get over it, but I’m trying.
Sorry to hear of this, it is definitely a loss. Also, I don’t think we ever really get over it but learn to accept what has happened and move past it. Mine happened 3 years ago and I still have moments where it hits me hard. I live in a small country where everyone, knows everyone and we have the same friends… so at times it is very awkward. Hope you feel better soon xo
To everyone here…the loss of my 38 year friendship is now six months. I posted here when looking for ways to cope. The last few months have helped heal a giant hole in my heart. We have not spoken since then, and I don’t expect we ever will. I didn’t just lose her, I lost her whole family. BUT she lost us too. Keep that in mind as you heal. Today will be difficult for me, as Christmas Eve was always a huge part of our friendship. But tomorrow will come and the good memories of the past will still be there. Take care and know that the hurt eases with time and the tears don’t come as often. There is some truth in the old saying that Time Heals All Wounds.
Thank you. I veer between “I’m ok. All will be ok. Life will go on.” and utter devastation.
Your words five me hope. xoxo
I needed this right now. I’ve had the same best friend for 37 years. We come from very different backgrounds – mine was blue collar, middle class, older parents, largely democratic. Hers was white collar, wealthy, average age parents, republican. We knew our differences our entire lives, and they never affected our friendship. We never let them. We were connected by so many deeper things- life, death, love, marriage, divorce, everything. The ties that bind us go back decades and I thought they were strong. Until her adult daughter attacked me for differing political views. When I refused to engage, telling her I loved her too much, she came at me harder. I still didn’t engage, just told her I loved her even after being called a hypocrite, having my faith questioned, and more. I never told my friend about the situation – her daughter is a grown woman who makes her own choices. And I didn’t/don’t want my friend in the middle. But I’m assuming she got drug into it because she has become a ghost. Ignored calls, vague responses, etc. I’m sure she feels stuck, but I never thought anything could divide us at this point. If the situation were reversed, I too would have to say “family first” – that is one thing we were both raised with. But I’m heartbroken that we were even put in this position, and that it’s come to this. There are no words for the void she leaves behind. It’s as painful as a death.
I understand completely. As I wrote previously, my friendship ended not because of political differences (we are on the same page politically), but because I decided to have my kids start home-learning instead of attending public school. I did it because my kids work (in film and tv) and it is their passion. They’ve never had a passion before, but this has been 3 years going strong, so I offered to enroll them in a distance learning programme and the two kids jumped at it. My closest friend, the one I thought would be my rock through everything sent me devastating messages telling me that I would cause my kids to be “social re****s”. I was devastated and had a gutteral reaction to his choice of words. I never thought a friendship of 33 years would end because my kids wanted to learn at home so they could focus on acting and music more. I mean, my decision has less than zero effect on my friend or his family, right?
Anyway, I’m trying to get over it…. but I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it.
Hugs to you. I know exactly how you feel. xoxo
Hi, came across this article during one of my 3am crying sessions.
Loosing my best friend/honorary sister of almost 3 years is painful. Really never thought this will happen to us, I tried to communicate and was willing to work on our friendship, even admitting that I also made mistakes.
It just hurts that she was not willing to fight for our friendship, feels like I valued our friendship more and that I cared more.
I hope this pain and emptiness goes away someday.
I wish I had come across this article and all the responses eight years ago when I suddenly lost a friend I thought I would have for life. For years we had gone running together every weekend, shared our greatest secrets and done lots of wonderful adventurous things together. We seemed to share a similar outlook on life and, as we both had four young children, were going through the same kind of family experiences and traumas. I treasured our friendship. When life in general was pretty difficult, the friendship became very special and important to me. Then, out of the blue, she suddenly became cold and distant with me – sending me a hurtful text and then making excuses not to meet up with me. I was devastated. I told her so and she sort of seemed to understand, but she was clearly no longer committed to our friendship. The weekly runs stopped and she only occasionally responded to my texts. For ages I clung to the hope that she would suddenly ‘see the light’and come back to me full of explanations and apologies but this never happened. It affected me emotionally and physically in a profound way. I just couldn’t believe that she could just give up on me like that. It went against my deepest notion of what a true friendship should be. But slowly things did get better. The stretches in time when I wasn’t thinking about her became longer and there were more and more days when I didn’t cry. I made new friends (including someone who turned out had gone through a similar experience with the same friend years before!). Now, eight years on, I rarely think about her and the deep sadness has gone. I just think that something healthy happened and my mind and body just said ‘that’s the end of it…we’ve had enough of being sad’. I still go running a lot. Occasionally I pass my old friend walking her dog. We always say hello to each other and I sometimes think that she’d like me to stop and talk to her (she always loved to talk to people and finding out about their lives). It gives me a strange sort of satisfaction to keep on running past her and to feel that I have finally managed to leave her behind.
That is horrible. So you never found out why she suddenly stopped talking to you? I stopped talking to my best friend 2 years ago (after a 20 year friendship). She asked to speak but I refused because if I did, I would have nothing but terrible things to say. She couldn’t forgive me for that, and I always worry if I did the right thing. But she was/is extremely toxic. And anytime I tried to tell her how I felt via text she would ridicule me. It was awful, so I refused to meet her. Now struggling to think anyone knows who I am or what a good friend I am. It has physiological haunted me and I will never truly heal. I still value our memories more than anything, but she is a very selfish person and I couldn’t take it anymore.
Sarah, I guess being the dumpee and being the dumper is different. You wisely realized that your friend was being consistently mean or hurtful and just did what you felt you needed to do. I want to just say this (with NO JUDGEMENT IMPLIED okay?) When you have a serious rift with ANYONE (girl /boy-Friend, family member, bestie whatever) even when things have gone way downhill and you just can’t stand it anymore (we’ve all been there) it is important -for both sides- that you give them the chance to hear WHY it is really over for you- in other words, make a final statement even just so you will know you made a ‘clean breast’ of things and not feel bothered by guilt. She may not want to listen, may not care, etc. etc. and it is obv. beyond any ability to fix (happened long time in the past??) or mend. Texting about something very meaningful -as you said you tried to do- IMHO is NOT the best communication for this kind of deep stuff. Phoning them or sending an e-mail, that is better to make impact- then the friend isn’t just non-chalantly ignoring or deleting your serious message, casually and hurtfully to you. You said all you would do is say toxic things to her if you told her why. I get that, totally. But maybe after a month or 2 or 6 months, whatever, you’d be able to say the things she needed to hear from you AND you needed to say to her, minus the intense anger/frustration. O.K., I think you said this happened quite a while ago, so maybe it’s already gone forward too much to even bother with doing this, that’s cool. Just if it ever happens (HOPE IT DOESN”T) again, this might be a ‘thing’ for you to think about. For your peace of mind…again just sayin’ not judgin’.
Hi Nina, thanks for your comment. I didn’t leave her empty handed, she knows exactly how I felt after several very long whatsapp messages back and forth (this is the equivalent to email btw). And every time I said anything about how I felt, she just ridiculed me. So what was the point in meeting her? Or speaking to her over the phone? She was extremely mean and toxic, and quite honestly I just couldn’t bear it anymore. I tried to give her explanations – which she then just threw back at me and invalidated how I was feeling. I also told her a few times I just wasn’t ready to speak about it in person and I needed more time, her response? To tell me she was sick of me, that I was being stubborn, and that she thought me telling her how I felt was ridiculous. Then throwing all the blame to me as to why the friendship ended.
I do agree that most people you should have that conversation, and in many ways, we did. But sometimes you need to know when to walk away. Everything I said I just kept getting attacked, and never got an apology for what she did, which is all I needed. Not only that but I found out things she said behind my back which were truly horrible. I’ve come to realize I did try. And if I wasn’t ready to talk, that’s not my fault. She could have apologized and made me feel more comfortable about the situation, but she didn’t. Alas here we are having never had that final conversation in person. It’s been over a year. I think it’s too far gone now.
Sarah, So sorry you had to go through all of that unrelenting cruelness and horrible disrespect. I now have a larger context for your situation, which again I wasn’t ‘judging’ you on, tho I guess ‘challenging’ is the right word. I hear you saying you really did try to communicate but that she WOULDN’T take in your truth. Sometimes people (this ex-friend) become seriously damaged by something, something totally irrelevant to you and him/her, but then they damage you /someone else thoughtlessly and irreparably. It hurts and totally disrespects you, and NO, you DON”T have to keep ‘taking it’ from her if that’s all she’s going to do. Uuugh. It just sounds so demeaning. I’m glad you walked away from her negativity; sometimes -though not usual-there are situations giving you good reasons to totally disengage and not communicate. This obviously was one of them. Again sad for you that it had to be so painful a break.
Thank you. I feel you’ve hit the nail on the head. It was something that ‘forced’ me to walk away from a negative situation. Still painful but just coping day by day.
I have a similar response to Nina’s in this situation. I couldn’t help but think that avoiding talking about the situation and thereby leaving the person always wondering what happened (but never really knowing), would be really hard for them- perhaps harder than hearing what you didn’t say. Furthermore, leaving them without your words allows less opportunity for either of you to learn and hopefully grow as much as possible from the experience. I know I would certainly want an explanation, no matter how difficult but I always value the truth.
I am grieving tonight and went looking for articles or encouragement online in the hopes of understanding or relieving my grief a little bit. It’s so heavy sometimes. I didn’t fully understand why I was grieving because my 17 year friendship ended somewhat amicably but the grief has truly taken me by surprise. Thank you for your words. They have helped to shed a light on a sad and confusing time ❤️
I’m so very sorry your friendship has ended. It is a very heavy weight of loss and grief. Memories come back in waves and the sadness can creep up out of nowhere. It’s been over a year that I’ve lost my best friend of 50 years. Truly, I lost my family. I know it doesn’t make the hurt any easier, but just want you to know your in the company of so many dealing with this. I hope things will become easier for you with time. Please be good to yourself❣️
I’m not sure when this article was written. I am in the process of losing my closest friendship. It feels like a death that is long and drawn out and I’m grieving. My best friend and I had a disagreement last year. I told her something very personal which she disagreed with and rang my husband to discuss, and a couple of her other close friends. I felt betrayed and it hasn’t been the same since. I called my friend out on it in what I believed was in a loving way, but she still got very defensive and didn’t apologize. She believes she is in the right to have spoken about my issue. We keep in touch but its not the same and some days we don’t message at all anymore. The thing I told her was nothing scandalous, it was about my belief in God, or lack of. (We are a part of a high control religion). I feel lost without our constant communication and it feels very off between us. Its been 6 months now.
Ugh, I am so sorry to hear this. I think you were 100% right to state what you believe. I think religion ruins most people unfortunately and it sounds like she’s chosen a fake belief over a good friend. I promise, you will find more like minded people in time. It’s a really good feeling when you do. But I lost my best friend two years ago and it will never feel the same. She really hurt me and has some very serious mental issues, but I still question it everyday.
Losing a best friend is such an inexplainable experience. I don’t wish it on anyone, but sometimes who we are moves away from who they are, and in order to grow we must separate.
Good article. I had a great friend a couple of years ago, knew eachother through my job and she eventually quit back in 2016 (knew her since 2005 when I started), got insanely close like a male to female BFF, we both text eachother a lot and phoned eachother often, had long phone conversations and when I was sad she’d call and when she was sad I’d call. It was a good few years after she quit we were really really close and she told me we are always going to be together getting through everything together, us texting in the morning got me through my rough days and days we planned to call eachother but things happened and didn’t made her sad.
Then comes along a loser boyfriend…I feel like he got her to ditch the friendship. She stopped texting me unless I text her but took her a day to text me back instead of asap, our phone calls were short and not as good, she didn’t hang around me much and made excuses but hung around other friends of hers. They didn’t last quite 2 years and I just messaged her last week, she said she was thinking about me and that we should catch up soon, talked on the phone for 20 minutes and going to go on a hike next week but I am no longer interested in keeping her around much longer. She gets upset when I dissapear, but I get fed up so I take off for months and months knowing she wont ever keep in touch anymore and I could take a break from everything.
Just had a bust up with a friend complicated by the fact that we’re also working on a project together. She took the lead in a creative project in which we were supposed to be equals, because my schedule was packed. We could have waited a few weeks for things to clear for me – but then her schedule would’ve been packed. I’m sure we could have found a way round it – but she ploughed on.
Recently, I’ve been struggling to meet deadlines for the all the projects I’m on – I have a newly diagnosed cognitive disability, and have issues with executive function and time management. I’m getting help, I’ve told her what I’m dealing with. I asked our bosses for an extension – to get the work in – and they agreed. In fact – one of them was relieved, because she too was short of time to read the work that we’d produced.
My ex friend blew up – sent me an email outlining all the times I’d hurt her, her resentment at being lead on this project. (Remember – this is not what I wanted). I was astounded at the things she’d taken offence to, and the role of victim she’d adopted. I ended up grovelling, because I asked for the extension before talking to her first. Which from a tact point of view was a mistake. But I’m bruised and raw from her backlash. I don’t deserve it.
But now I’m switching between anger and sorrow. This is the third time this happened and I feel that I can’t go on like this, being subjected to passive-aggressive abuse. The friendship is dead, but we still have to work together.
So today, I bought a candle and wrote her name on it on one side, and the words “letting go” on the other. When it gets to the end – my period of mourning for our friendship will be over. It’s the only way forward for me. So glad to have found this article today. 🙁
Definitely sounds like a healthy thing to let go of the friendship, even though it hurts. I’m still grieving my 22 year friendship after not speaking for 2 years (we too worked together). However, I would be very cautious of burning a candle and giving yourself a time limit to let go. It doesn’t work like that I’m afraid and if you don’t deal with your feelings properly you will never heal. Anyways, just my two cents but best of luck.
I had a pivotal moment in my mourning process for my former friend today. She cut me off 15 months ago after her possessive ex (now current again) partner told her lies about me, even though I’ve never met him. I tried so hard to resolve the situation to no avail.
We work together and it’s made getting over things that much harder when I have to see her all the time. For the past several months I’ve been stuck in the anger stage, and lately it’s been getting worse and worse, to the point I couldn’t even stand the sound of her voice anymore. Not conducive to a good working relationship!
Anyway, today we had a meeting to catch up on a few work things at her request. While I don’t report to her she is higher in the office hierarchy than me, and I was determined to use today as a chance to stand up for myself. Which I did. And it was great. I realised a couple of hours after the meeting that it unexpectedly helped. I don’t know why, but suddenly the anger is gone and I actually feel warm towards her. We’ll never be friends again, that ship has sailed, and that’s sad but I’m okay with it. I feel like a huge weight has lifted off my shoulders and I know now our work relationship can grow without that huge hurdle in the way. Maybe one day we may even be able to talk about what happened and I’ll finally get a real explanation. But if we don’t, that’s okay too. Acceptance stage here I come. 🙂
Just wanted to share. For those of you who are still dealing with the earlier stages of grief, please know you’ll get through it and get to acceptance one day. It feels fabulous.
Thank you Jen for this beautiful and thoughtful text. I don’t know where you are in the world or when this was written but I thank you so much.
All of the other readers seem to have lost longterm friendships…My (abrupt) loss comes from after only 6 months but I’m devastated anyways… I have no idea why all of a sudden my friend seems do distant, limiting his interactions to a couple of bland texts each day when we used to talk on the phone sometimes 2 or 3 times a day….We live in different cities but work on some projects together and I’m dreading our next meeting, which I cannot avoid. I love him (as a friend, he’s gay, I’m a straight woman) and wish him the best. I will treasure the memories but boy it is soooooo hard to let go. Allowing myself a good cry (me!! A grown woman!!) once in a while is soothing and I only did that after reading your post. Now if I could just crush my hopes….
Anyway, again, thank you Jen
I really appreciate your openess. I tend to be very militant with my feelings when it is time to move on but a lot happened and I had to leave a friendship of 10 years quickly (long story.) By the time it seemed it was time to grieve we had some big things happen and then pandemic so about 2 years later I realize I never grieved the end. I just had to go and it seems the world set fire. This helped. Now after a few years all of a sudden memories are coming back and I know that means it’s time to finally grieve. It is all very weird considering the context.
Grieving the loss of a 30 year friendship, my ‘sister’ and I so needed to read this today. Beautifully written article, than you
This essay was so helpful to me today. I lost my 40-year BFF in a six-month period that included the near-death of my spouse, the death of my mother, and a long-distance move made, in part, to be geographically closer to this BFF. (We’ve lived everywhere from in the same neighborhood to on different continents during our decades of friendship.) The only explanation she made for why our relationship ended was “I haven’t felt heard by you for a long time.” I don’t know when or why she felt unheard, and it doesn’t matter because she’s moved on without me. Her adult daughter is dearer to me than my own nieces, and I’m afraid of losing that relationship, too.
I’m struggling with having moved to a new town where I know no one, and my loss feels especially fresh today. I appreciate being accompanied by all the other posters who have known this kind of sadness.
Your story is so similar to mine. I lost a 50 yr friendship…her reasoning?…it had become too “lopsided”. I was knee deep in caring for my elderly parents (Alzheimer’s, strokes, etc), my great Niece died at 2 years of age, My Dad passed away, then I moved my Mom in with me…on and on. She was rarely around for me…never called to see how I was…All I can figure is she was SO used to me ALWAYS being there at the drop of a hat FOR HER and she just couldn’t handled that I instead was actually in need of her support.
They were my family (I mean 5 decades…). I too was really close to her daughter (my Goddaughter) and lost that relationship as well. I’m sure this friend passed on “not true” stories about me.
It has been almost 2 years since I’ve seen any of them (my friend, goddaughter, her son, and husband). I am just now slowly seeing some light at the end of a very long dark tunnel I’ve been in. There was not a day where I didn’t cry. That was my whole adult life…now I’m left without a friend or family. Devastating is an understatement.
I am so so sorry you’re going through this. We often times learn someone’s true character when we go through a difficult time and need them most. Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over it…because you will run every scenerio in your head as to what you may have done. She may reach out to you in the future. Do something kind for yourself….get involved in this new community…meet people. It is the worse thing to experience, but you will come out the other side stronger! 💖
This post Jen, will be revisited and revisited again and again… thank you! The writing is also superb, I just can’t articulate properly through my tears.. sadness and relief!
I can’t believe the complete state of shock, and quite honestly grief that has occurred after I have ended a close friendship. Physical and emotional. I know it’s early days and I know I needed to do so, but the sadness and sense of lose is all consuming at this point.
It was a friendship with a man, and he happily partnered up 18 months ago. We had been close and did a lot together, we had lived together as well at some points, as friends, travelled, explored and just hung out.
Since partnering up, I have almost become a social pariah with the small group of mutual friends we both have and have been excluded, save one social function probably 9 months ago.
I never expected to get involved with everything that they were doing as a couple obviously, or even his new group of friends from the partner initially…
I stupidly expected to eventually all be apart of each other’s lives though, maybe not at first… but it’s been a while now! I seriously thought that, yes I would be there… even if it took a little time…
But being excluded from existing social circles and not being able to do much more then pop over for a coffee or to help with renovations with him exclusively, has become unbearable to the point of our friendship becoming untenable. I guess we still do various favours for each other like petsitting… I can’t deny that. However, it is skewed to me helping more.
In retrospect, I probably gave more and maybe even cared more throughout the former ‘fun times’ but I was too busy just enjoying it to realise. It was always enough because essentially he was consistently wanting my friendship. I mean who is truly keeping tabs until it all goes pear shaped?!
Now, he does just enough to make you hope everything’s fine but deep down I know it isn’t…
I have tried to talk about how it has felt to be excluded, shafted really but he just downplays it and talks about how awkward it is for his partner (and apparently the mutual friends too)… really it must just be awkward for him as well.
The small circle of mutual friends were his friends first basically. After years of association I guess I’m a little wounded by their actions but honestly it’s drowned out by my feelings regarding the really close friend. I’ve always been friendly and had some very good times with them, but never I guess never truly formed closer, deeper bonds with them?!
I’m deeply hurt after what I thought was a truly close friendship. And, yes it has left a huge hole. I do wonder if maybe he could have been more honest at some point and not left me hanging on for so long, so to speak. Or perhaps I was a fool for not seeing the warning signs…
Anyway this will be a hard one, we were probably so close because neither has family or friends here and we fell hard for the friendship and had many shared interests, and continued for at least 7 yrs as per normal, another 18 months after.
My other truly close friends have since moved away, because surprise, surprise – we aren’t from here.
I honestly thought we would be close always. Even if one or both of us moved away I had always envisaged we’d still pick up the phone ocassionally or even meet up for an adventure at some point…
Defintely not going to happen now. And the future seems surprisingly stark at this moment.
But these feelings will pass in time, I realise… my mind can’t settle at the moment and as much as I try I can’t find the joy in much at all. Even the activities I love and get excited about. I guess, this too, is normal..
I also want to thank those who have shared their stories too… it really has been eye opening… I would never expected this level of loss being felt. I’ve been fighting it in fact, thinking I’m being ‘dramatic!’ Thoughts to you all…
Most of the comments are from ladies who have lost living lady friends.
I’m a guy who has lost the close friendship of a lady friend after 9 years.
My feelings changed and I suppose the situation for my friend became too intense to handle and cope with.
We have parted in a clinical and sad way. Im devastated at my loss of a super person in my life. I felt her as a soul mate. I think she saw me as a sounding board and a father figure.
The loss is hurting, lonely and very sad. Im ruder-less and alone. Im unable to talk this over with others so struggling to get through it all solo.
Thanks Jen for your words.
I had a friendship with a coworker that I thought was very solid. I took a promotion at another location for the company we work for and in the last few months my friend has become rude and distant whenever I attempt to reach out. The last reply that I received was extremely rude and hurtful. Realizing our friendship was at an end finally, I was filled with grief. When trying to reflect on what went wrong, I was having a hard time doing so and was just confused about the whole change of behavior. I reached out to my girlfriend for some comforting and to talk about my confusion on what went wrong. I told my girlfriend that I just couldn’t see what it was that led to my friend being this way. Her response was to tell me how she handles someone who is rude or mean like my friend was to me. She said “ They want to act brand new treat them brand new. I just have a don’t care anymore attitude when it comes to that. It sucks, but oh well! I’ll bitch about it too, but at the end of the day, their friendship doesn’t feed me, screw me, or support me.” What should I say to explain to her that dealing with the loss of a friend in this way is not healthy? I think she’s been let down so many times by her friends in the past she’s been traumatized in someway. I want to explain to her that to me I need to mourn the loss and have some kind of closure. It seems to me she doesn’t really understand that friendships are important to us.
In the last week it has really hit me that I am in mourning. I have lost a friend of 18 years. The loss happened slowly, and was partly due to my own frustration with the situation.
I started to pull back 2 years ago after noticing that I was making all the effort to see my “best friend”. I always went to her place because she had young children and things were difficult for her. I brought the wine, the food, and I often paid because they didn’t have a lot of money … everything. I was sure she would return my kindness when I needed her.
But evidently, that wasn’t to be.
When she went back to work she was “very busy” and would have time to “catch up soon”. I started to think that if someone is important to you, you should make time. But her weekends were full with other friends. So I assumed she didn’t realise how she was making me feel and I told her (gently) that I would appreciate if she could make the effort sometimes. I was met with, “well you just live so far away that it’s difficult to see you.” I live 30 minutes from her house. She never had trouble asking me to travel that far. Or asking me to pick her up, take her places, or fit in with her schedule at the drop of a hat.
She then started to be “sick” and cancel plans. A lot.
Finally, it was my birthday and she was busy all month. “So sorry,” about it, but nothing she could do. We did eventually catch up, and she did drive the 30 minutes to have breakfast with me, but it felt forced when before it had always been so easy.
Then, a few months later I was in an accident. I hurt myself so badly I couldn’t walk for 6 months, then needed surgery and had to recover for another 3 months. I couldn’t drive – I actually couldn’t do anything. I was miserable and I needed my friend. And where was she? “Very busy,” … “very sorry”, and coming to see me “soon.”
She never came.
After this, even when I recovered, I pulled back completely. She moved (same suburb different house) and asked me to come over. I said I would next time I was in the area. I didn’t. If she suggested a catch up, I felt she wouldn’t go through with it, so rather than risk myself being hurt again, I (with all politeness) spoke to her as before, but I made no effort to make catch up plans happen.
Another 6 months went by, conversations got less and less, and I was finally pregnant after 6 years of trying – my greatest joy! I found I didn’t want to tell her – my best friend. I told friends who had been good to me while my life was hard though my accident and my surgery. But not her. When she finally contacted me, I did tell her, but I was 5 months along. I think I expected she would realise how badly she had hurt me, say we should celebrate (because she knew what this meant to me) and everything would get back on track. But that was the last time we spoke before a few texts on her birthday a year later when my son was already 6 months old.
We just wished each other well.
The last few weeks, now with my birthday coming up, I am in belated shock that we didn’t mend the rift – that we won’t always be in each other’s lives like we planned for so long. I guess in the back of my mind I thought she would miss me and everything we used to do together, we would talk and get back on track. But she moved on with her life as though our 18 year friendship – where I had treated her better than her own family – never existed.
I thought was in control and had made the decision to pull back for myself. But in writing this I realise she pulled out of our friendship long before I realised anything was wrong.
I still miss her. I hope that won’t always be so.
Tonight I removed her from my social media accounts. It was painful constantly seeing her watch stories about my baby son and saying nothing. I started to have nightmares. I couldn’t understand m what interest she could have in us now if our true, close and special friendship was over and she’s never even met him. Her kids were like a niece and nephew to me, but I had to let them go.
I will say, that reading this article and seeing similar pain from others in this thread, I no longer feel alone in what I have gone through. In fact, I feel just as shocked for all of you that your once “best friend” could ever slip away.
I hope we will all once again know a friend as good and as precious as the one we have lost.
Even though in my case it wasn’t a balanced relationship, I am very loyal and just want to be treated with the respect, kindness, and genuine caring I show others. But, if she called me tomorrow and said she understood what had happened between us and asked to start again, I don’t know if I could.
It sounds like you’ve hit a breaking point where you wouldn’t ‘take her back’ even if the chance arose. This is progress and you’re moving forward. I had this at some point and when it hit I realized I was the good friend the whole time, not her. I went out of my way. 22 years. She did so many things to upset me but I shrugged it off. Not saying I am perfect, but she KNEW I was always there for her – I could not say the same.
Anyways, I just wanted to say I know how you feel. Please know that you’re making progress. Sometimes we make mistakes by giving people too much of ourselves when they don’t give back, without realizing the only reason we’re so close to them is for all the effort WE put in. The only reason they allow it is because we make it so damn easy.
I know it’s hard and upsetting and I thought we were best friends with an unbreakable connection – There is no answer or solution, I guess sometimes people need some time to work on themselves.
Lost two friends of 35 years, one through death, the other still living.
Miss them both terribly. The living friend leaned on me constantly but when it was my time to lean ….. nothing.
Thank you for opening my eyes that
somethings don’t last forever, but a loss is a loss and grief is right there to remind . you