The loss of a friendship

The loss of a friendship

Losing someone you thought would always be in your life can be devastating.

But friendship breakups are inevitable, and we need to learn how to deal with them in healthy ways.

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@cronkk

Love & Family

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With a romantic partner, you will usually have a breakup conversation. But the nature of a friendship makes it hard to make it final.

Diagnosing what went wrong and how is it affecting you can be helpful. Then try to get clarity from your friend to gain a sense of closure. If a friendship ended badly, you may have to accept that you won't get a final conversation. Try to stop rehashing what you should have said and done. If you did something wrong, you need to apologise.

To the brain, a breakup is a breakup. The feelings tied up in a friendship is profound, and the loss thereof can cause some people to wrestle through stages of grief.

Be honest with other people in your life about what you're going through.

The loss of a friend should not make you feel unworthy.

We often find our identity in our friends. When a friendship is over, we may lose that sense of belonging and acceptance. This is all the more reason to find a sense of self-worth that is innate.

Once you understand the impact of the breakup on your life, then you can treat it appropriately. It might mean talking through things with someone you trust or giving yourself space to grieve.

To help you move on, use the language of gratitude that puts the relationship in the past tense. "I'm so thankful they were in my life during that season."

We often assume that friendships will last forever. Because we don't view the loss of a friendship as normal, it feels like we have failed and should be ashamed of it.

But that is not true. Friendships sometimes aren't meant to be, and maintaining them can be unhealthy.

A concern that comes with a friendship breakup is how it will affect your wider group of friends.

  • Don't hide what's happening. When friend groups don't have healthy boundaries as part of their friend culture, it can happen that the whole group will fall away when one person falls out with another person in the group. If this happens, it means those friendships weren't healthy to start with.
  • Maintaining healthy boundaries means that it is OK to connect differently with one another in a group.

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To be best friends, you are committed to always be on standby. It's not that hard to be there for someone when you can physically be there, but when you're separated by state or time zone, you have to figure out a new way to be close.

Understanding friendships

Understand why some friends stay for years, while others fade away after a few months, or weeks. 

If you understand the nature of the friendship you have with a person, you can better predict where it’s heading, and better understand why this friend behaves the way they do.

Essential for our survival

Friendships need to be carefully acquired to avoid negative influences. Friendships need a continuous effort that can be difficult to manage. They will go through ups and downs and will be subject to time pressure and geographical constraints.

However, our ability to form friendships is critical and a fundamental part of who we are.

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