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Losing Your Friendship Group


Losing that sense of belonging and caring that comes with a friendship group can be traumatic. Why is this and how can you deal with it?


Here we look at:
  • Tribal issue
  • Why the loss has happened
  • Reasons for being in the group
  • Mourning and moving on



In ancient times survival depended on being accepted by our tribe. Having a valued part to play in the community and being able to rely on the help and support of other tribe members was usually the difference between life and death. If you transgressed tribal laws you might be cast out as a punishment. If you weren’t fit enough in some respect it could mean the tribe left you behind – not out of unkindness but to ensure the survival of the majority.
These days communities are much wider, movement from place to place easier and population much thicker. This means you can move on and find somewhere else to fit in. But that can’t always happen immediately, if you’re stuck in a school, college or job. Besides, the feeling of being ‘cast out’ is very primitive and scary. This may be because of our conditioning as humans, but also because you may have a ‘far memory’ of being rejected by your tribe in a former life. 
So coping with losing your friendship group, your current ‘tribe’, is a real issue and you need some extra skills to cope with this.


It’s not always easy to know why your group just isn’t ‘your group’ any more. Rather than just feeling sad and sorry for yourself, try to be very honest with yourself instead. Might you have been selfish or hurtful to others? Are you needy, requiring a lot of TLC? Are you simply boring, with few interests of your own, looking to others to supply you with interest in life?
These can be tough questions to grapple with, but you first need to eliminate any shortcomings that you may have. After all, our ‘tribe’ is there to teach us about ourselves, as well as provide fun and companionship.
If you’re truly puzzled, then ask the person in the group most likely to tell you the truth. This may not be the one you were/are closest to, because that person may try to spare your feelings. Be brave – this may be a hard conversation but it could change your life for the better.
Possibly you’ve lost your group simply because you’ve moved house or job. Understanding your need for a ‘group’ will still be helpful, however, in finding another.


Self-analysis continues with another question – why were you in this group? Is it because of where you work, live or study? If so it’s possible you don’t have much in common, at a deeper level. Is it because of shared interests? What’s happening with those interests – maybe others are going off the boil and drifting away.
Possibly you were in the group because another close friend was, but maybe you’ve never really fitted in. Or – most questionable of all – were you in the group because they offered status of some kind? If so, the things holding you together would always have been superficial.
Perhaps you can’t find a reason you belonged to this group. Maybe it just happened, you latched on out of insecurity or inertia and you enjoyed simply being part. That may be especially hard to deal with, but it means you were with the group because of what you lacked. This is a negative reason. Of course we all lack certain talents or qualities, but looking to others to fill in the gaps makes you vulnerable and doesn’t help you develop.
Once you know why you were in the group you will be wiser and closer to moving on in life.


If your time with this group really is over, it will require some mourning, like any loss. Of course you will feel empty and somewhat lost for a bit. Go over what you did with the group, look at photos maybe, evaluate and ‘make a picture’ in your mind of what it was all about.
What was good about it? What was not so good? Were there things that you didn’t like about the group, that made you feel uncomfortable maybe, and that you put up with because of the good things you received? Maybe you stayed with that group because you were afraid of being alone, or lacked confidence in some way. Now is the time to confront all that.
If you’ve only parted from your group through moving, by all means keep in touch through social media and planning visits. However, be careful not to cling too much to the old ways, because that could stop you finding new friends.
Try to be grateful to the group for all they have given you and taught you. They have been a valuable part of your life and have contributed to the person you are. Try to let go of any resentments – these are just people and however it may seem, they all have their own insecurities. Bear in mind that being in a group may bring out the worst in people. Try to forgive anything unpleasant if you can – this is for your own sake, because it will free you.
You may need to work on accepting that rejection by this group is something that you don’t quite understand. Maybe they don’t either. After trying to make sense of it in order to learn from it, there comes a point at which you need simply to let go. The past is the past, so move on.
When you feel a little better make moves to find another group. This may take time – don’t force it. Friendship groups are fluid things – you can’t just join one like a club. However, one of the best places to start looking for new friends is by following your own interests. You can also look up old friends with whom you’ve lost contact, become closer to your family or just enjoy some time on your own.  
Of course you need to be careful not to shut yourself away for the wrong reasons, such as fear or depression. Nor should you rely on computers and television to give you what you need. However, animals, nature and exercise can be great healers and may even turn up more friends for you in time. Rest assured, your old friendship group was not the only option, and there are better things out there. You might find it hard to believe now, but a while down the line it can all look very different.


When losing your friendship group it’s important to understand the significance of the ‘tribe’, why the split has happened, why you were in the group in the first place, and how to mourn and move on. We’ve looked at these factors above.

Extra support may seem vital now, and we can offer all the help you need with the understanding of our expert Readers. Their insight can help you put everything into perspective and feel encouraged about the future, so put in a call without delay and start your journey to recovery.


PUBLISHED: 06 June 2017

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