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Losing Friends - Friendship Breakups and Bereavement


The breakup of an important friendship can be very upsetting and almost as distressing as going through the bereavement of actually losing a friend.


They say ‘you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends’. Friends are very important people in our life. They offer us support, guidance and a shoulder to cry on when we need them. Many people even think that they may get more advice from a friend than a member of their family. You may have formed a friendship through unusual circumstances or perhaps both of you went through a similar difficult time, so in theory there is a solid foundation of understanding between you. Friendship is something which we all need and the thought of losing friends through a friendship breakup may at this time to you feel impossible, but sadly it does happen. It can be difficult to deal with losing a friend and there may be several factors that have contributed to this breakup.

Losing friends so close to us can feel similar to a grievance




Losing someone who may have been our best friend for a long time can almost feel like you have lost them forever, never to be seen or spoken to again. Losing friends so close to us can feel similar to a grievance as you are learning to live without them and to eventually accept that they are no longer a major part of your life. So how do you deal with losing a friend? It is important to ask yourself why the friendship has broken up and to look at the situation from both sides, not only your side. Friendship breakups can happen for various reasons:

  • One-sided friendships – are you always the one calling them, making arrangements, giving gifts? Much like relationships, it has to be give and take from both people to make a successful and long-term friendship. If you are the giver, this can be a frustrating relationship. Think about whether you could bring this up with them and would it help to repair the friendship?
  • Nothing in common – perhaps you met this friend through work or because you both had young children, or another friend in common. As the neutral link may have disappeared from your life, you struggle to spend time with this person because there is nothing you have in common and nothing to talk about. Ask yourself, is it worth losing friends over this and do you value the friendship. Does it really matter that you have nothing in common?
  • Being used – friendships can break down because one person uses the other to benefit their own life. Does this person recognise that you feel used and would they change for the better if you gently addressed the situation?
  • The unforgivable – sadly some friendships breakup because one person has done something which has deeply hurt the other and for them, it is impossible to forgive them. This is maybe because they have been disloyal in a major way or perhaps that they have shown their true colours in a way which wants you to disassociate yourself from them.

Losing a friend through a friendship breakup can be hard, even if you feel it was their fault and you feel angry about it. However, it is worth considering whether the relationship can be saved. Was it really all their fault or did you play some part in the breakup? Good friendships are not often come by and if they are close to your heart then perhaps you should not let get pride get in the way. If you feel that you want to make amends and that you could communicate this to them, it may be worth trying.

It feels like we have a huge void in our life and we miss them every day…




Bereavement is an extremely difficult process for anyone to go through, especially when it is the loss of a close family member or the pain of losing a friend. It feels like we have a huge void in our life and we miss them every day. Everyone goes through a grieving process, there is no right or wrong way of doing it, and no predictable length of time. Friendships play a crucial part of our life and losing friends is something that unfortunately we will all have to go through at some stage. It is imperative that during this time you pull in all the support that you can get, whether it’s talking openly about your emotions and feelings with a close friend or family member, or asking for professional help with a bereavement counsellor. Losing a friend can be just as heart-breaking as losing a loved family member, often they have stuck by us through thick and thin and may have guided us through experiences where we would have been lost without them.

PUBLISHED: 23 March 2016

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