What Happened to Best Friends Forever? Grieving The Loss of a Living Friend

General / General : Eleanor Haley


The loss of a living friend feels especially relevant right now. Sure, breaking up with a friend has always been hard to do, but 2020 seems to be a banner year for the disintegration of relationships. I blame the giant crevasse that we call the political divide.

The degree to which conflicts and disagreements bend or break a person’s relationships is entirely subjective. Some people view particular disputes, offenses, beliefs, and attitudes as make-or-break. Some manage to keep their friendships stable as long as there is any common ground left to stand on. Some allow second, third, and fourth chances.

Some cling to a sense of shared history and affection for the person they used to know, only to finally realize their friend has shifted so far in their entire way of being and believing they’re effectively a stranger. Am I getting a little too specific here?

Let’s move on.


The loss of a friend as a secondary loss

There’s an added layer of relevancy to this topic for WYG’s audience because friendship loss is a common secondary loss after experiencing the death of a loved one. Hardship changes a person’s support system for a variety of reasons. For example:

  • People don’t always know what to do in a crisis, so they offer bad support or disappear altogether.
  • People sometimes struggle to accept when a grieving friend doesn’t quickly return to “normal.” 
  • Grieving people sometimes feel they’ve outgrown or drifted away from certain friendships.

Grieving people often experience an interesting paradox. On the one hand, they are grieving for relationships they’ve lost. On the other, they may have a deeper appreciation for friendships they’ve kept and the new connections they’ve made since their loss (what we like to call “grief friends”). It’s important to understand, gratitude for existing relationships doesn’t cancel out grief over lost connections.


Why does friendship loss suck so much?

The reasons why your friendship break-up sucks are specific to you and your particular situation. What happened? What did the friendship mean to you? How does it make you feel about yourself, your friend, people in general? These are all questions only you can answer and, because this is a loss deserving of being grieved, we encourage you to take some time to ask yourself these questions.

Looking at the issue more broadly, we believe one of the main reasons friendship loss is so difficult is because it’s an ambiguous loss. Ambiguous loss is when you’re grieving a person who is still alive. ‘Ambiguous’ in this context, is another way of saying confusing and complicated. You can read more about ambiguous loss here and here.

Generally speaking, ambiguous losses are different from death losses in that:

  • It’s often unclear whether there has been a loss
  • There’s a lack of any finality (the loss is ongoing)
  • There are questions over whether the person or relationship will return to normal or be restored
  • A person may feel stuck between a sense of hope and hopelessness
  • A person may feel uncomfortable or guilty for experiencing grief-related thoughts and emotions over someone who is still alive

When the relationship has changed:

When a friendship starts to fracture, there’s often a lot of uncertainty. People might find themselves caught between grief over the loss of the friend and hope that they can someday reconcile.

When the friendship break-up is due to a conflict, you may question:

  • Who is to blame?
  • Is this friendship worth repairing?
  • Can I ever trust this friend again?
  • Why did the person give up or abandon the friendship?
  • Did I ever even know them?

When a friend has changed: 

Someone might experience ambiguous loss over a friend if their friend has undergone a drastic change in identity. Specifically, Pauline Boss, who introduced the concept of ambiguous loss, discusses loved ones who are physically still with us, but who have undergone a significant identity change but are expected to be who they always were.

Obviously, people change over time. So we’re talking about changes in identity that may seem a little more drastic. For example, if someone:

  • joins or leaves a devoutly religious group
  • changes their identity for the sake of a new relationship
  • joins a cult
  • goes through a life-changing experience (yes, like grief)
  • enters drug or alcohol recovery
  • significantly changes their belief system, lifestyle, or priorities.
  • etc

In these instances, one may feel the person looks the same but is completely and utterly changed. Many will hold onto their shared history and hope that the person they once knew will reemerge, only to repeatedly feel frustrated and let down when it doesn’t happen.

Does this always mean the friend has changed for the worse? No, of course not. Consider the scenario of someone with a substance use disorder getting sober. That’s a good thing! But, no doubt, it changes a person’s priorities and relationships. Perhaps his friend-group consists of drinking buddies who still expect him to be the life of the party. No matter how many times he says he’s sober, certain friends will always offer him a drink.

Sometimes friendships can adapt and withstand major change – and sometimes they just no longer work. Often it takes people a long time to understand the relationship is over, and usually, there’s a lot of grief that comes with acknowledging the loss of the friendship.


Coping with the loss of a living friend

You may have a hard time labeling your experience as loss or grief because you’re used to associating these things with death. Also, because you may feel so hurt, angry, or abandoned that you want to say, “this is no loss to me!” 

But if the relationship mattered to you, I’m willing to bet you’re grieving at least something. Whether you’re grieving the person, the person you thought they were, or your entire faith in humanity, there’s loss – and where there is loss – there is grief. 

You also may be struggling with many unanswered questions. One question in particular that many people struggle with goes something like:

Did I ever know this person?” or “Should I define this relationship by how it ended?

Again, you’ll have to find your own answers to these questions, but I do urge you to consider the reality that, sad as it may be, people come and go from our lives. Why does friendship have to be forever to have been worthwhile? And why does the end get to override the good stuff at the beginning and the middle?

I get that sometimes the end feels so egregious and revealing that it changes how we view everything. I’ve definitely had a few relationships like that. I also get that sometimes people hold onto anger and pain as a warning not to make the same mistakes again.

However, I do think it’s possible to hope that in the future, when we feel less burned and less vulnerable, that we can view the relationship as something that was good for a little while and then ended. If not that, but as something that was bad, but which we learned from.

Maybe not – maybe you’ll find very different answers. Regardless, I urge you to take the time to process what you’ve been through. If you’re not sure where to start, things like journaling and talking about your experiences can help you find perspective. Also, if you want to learn more about coping with ambiguous loss, read the second half of this article: Ambiguous Grief: Grieving Someone who is Still Alive.

breakup with a friend
We invite you to share your experiences, questions, and resource suggestions with the WYG community in the discussion section below.

We invite you to share your experiences, questions, and resource suggestions with the WYG community in the discussion section below.

Let’s be grief friends.

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52 Comments on "What Happened to Best Friends Forever? Grieving The Loss of a Living Friend"

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  1. Lindsay Pickett  April 19, 2022 at 7:48 pm Reply

    So I am a recent MA Fine Art graduate and while I enjoyed the course and made friends there, there was one friend I got too close to.
    Whenever, I was down or sad, she was always there for me and gave me a hug every time we met in the college canteen.
    During Covid, we all went online and all face to face social gatherings stopped. We spoke on the phone a lot and she was lovely to me and always listened to me when I was feeling low and discouraged about my fine art practice. She once even took a load of our fellow course mates to a show I had in town just to buck me up. She always had my back.
    I once met her in a local park once things started to open up again, and she told me many deep and personal things about her life. I was wearing something sexy with her and had for a long time built up arousing feelings for her.
    I told her that there was someone that I liked and she said who? I said it’s you Fipsi.
    She looked a bit stunned and I quickly said I know nothing could ever happen between us.
    She is gay and married and I’m married to my wife.
    I told my wife all about this. She was obviously upset and eventually she was okay about it as I was crying.
    Fipsi sent a long hurtful painful upset message saying she was harmed by the interaction with me and that she blocked my number, she was angry I didn’t listen to her when she spoke and long story short said the friendship was ruined.
    I have never felt so shocked and cried in all my life. Certainly since the death of my father.
    I know now I should have never said anything to her now. I had a lovely friendship with her.
    I wrote a letter of apology to her and eventually she texted me back saying she 100% forgave me.
    She said I could reach out to her again but when I called her the phone hung up.
    I cried and cried and sort long term therapy which has helped. After a year and a half and our final degree show in July 2021. I have never seen or heard from her since.
    My therapist asked me what I thought I should do. And I said I will leave it to her to contact me once she feels safe to do so but I know I will never hear from her again. I have mostly recovered from the loss since falling out with her in September 2020, but I still miss her.
    What should I do?

  2. So So  April 7, 2022 at 7:58 am Reply

    Thank you for the article. I am going through a divorce and during this time I was able to meet someone that regardless of the situation we became friends. We have known each other a couple of years and had what I thought a mutual respect and great chemistry. Our relationship could have gone physical, but to our credit it did not.
    ; however the relationship grew and felt that I had met someone that I have always wanted to feel this way about.

    For years I was dealing with the stress of my marraige and it was due to financial and trust issues. We have a child and the greatest thing about the marraige was that we are both loving parents. There was a lot of support for one another and we genuinely care for one another but there is no trust, we disrespect each others needs, I felt I gave and compromised my views…..thought I was helping but ended up feeling I enabled. I would feel bad because my partner was not happy. It seemed whatever I did was short lived. We would get into disagreements and instead of arguing I just wanted to keep the peace.

    Then I met my friend, very innocent and having this friendship made me look at things differently. I mean can you be attracted to your friend but yet be a friend? I concentrated on being her friend. Listening and talking about life. About what we want out of it. It was a connection that I really dont remember having with anyone else. Our friendship grew and we work with one another, we would meet and have a plan for the day. We would text or call and say good night…good morning. She is going through a lot too and I also want to continue being there for her….but she is making me feel like I cant. She no longer reaches out to me unless its work related…she is hard on me and we act more like an old married couple without the benefits. I miss her and it upsets me thinking that I have lost her….I’ve lost my best friend. I am a normal person going through an awful situation. I’ve spoken to her and everytime we get close she pushes me away. I understand that she doesnt want to be the reason for my failed marraige and I guess if we had any hope in the future to this is the path. But I feel like I’ve wasted my time and energy into something that I really felt was real….to feel that it’s not is disappointing. One thing is for sure I’ve never felt this way about someone and I’m really going to miss her. I know the way I handle things……because I will be coming out of this better than I have ever been… I also know that when I needed her now for some support she either couldn’t or didnt and she had to deal with her own issues. She bailed in my eyes and I have a tendency in becoming emotionally disconnected…..and I’m fighting that with her….and I dont want to hold that against her but if history repeats itself…..it will. They say time will tell…I just really miss what I have with her. That doesnt come around too many times in a lifetime. It just sucks to grieve the loss of the living. Thanks for listening and the post….

  3. Anonymous  February 22, 2022 at 10:11 am Reply

    It’s hard for me to overstate how helpful this article is to me. It expresses the tangle of confused and disturbing feelings I’m having. Thank you so much. A request: Would WYG consider an article on sibling estrangement that leads to deep grief? I am identical twin who is functionally emotionally estranged now from a sibling with whom I survived deep, complex emotional trauma in childhood. I have always relied on her as my best friend and sole source of unconditional acceptance (in the absence of good-enough parents). But, for lots of reasons — some stated in this article — things have changed, and I feel lost, abandoned, sad, angry, dismayed, afraid, burned, and more. I am in my late 50s and wonder how I will ever “start over” with my own emotional landscape. Thank you so very much.

    • Litsa  March 2, 2022 at 1:06 am Reply

      I am so sorry for the losses you’re coping with. I’ve added this topic suggestion to our list for future articles.

    • Harmonyum  March 7, 2022 at 8:00 pm Reply

      Hi🌺.. I can so relate.. I m in the same boat.. I returned to n.america 6 yrs back and barely have any friends..
      Starting over multiple times in different cities/countries has made me skeptical of a stable friendship.
      I am grieving over personal, professional and social losses..
      I doubt if I can find someone that can empathize..
      I believe in the universe (not the stereotypical line) and its purpose.
      Just trying to find my place,.. still.

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  4. SW  February 9, 2022 at 2:33 am Reply

    Almost 5 years ago I lost the love of my life in a very traumatic way. I used to have a big group of friends and at first I had an overwhelming support system, but gradually one by one they disappear. People who I thought I would stand next to at their weddings, aren’t even inviting me to them, and I’m only finding out about the big events in their lives through social media. My heart still has not healed after losing my bf, and it continues to break feeling like the people I used to consider as the closest friends have completely forgotten about me.

  5. Johansson  January 26, 2022 at 4:36 am Reply

    My friend got tied up and obsessed with Social Justice and since I due to circumstances in my life had become more of an advocate of freedom of speech. We often found ourselves not agreeing. Now this I was used to over the years we have had different political views he was in fact in the early 2000s a Social Conservative and I what you would call Socialist lite. Now he is a die hard Socialist and I am more of an Anarcho-capitalist. But none of that was dealbreaking at all. The problem was when he was unable to accept my views and instead of debate he started trying manipulation and subtle brainwashing to get me to comply with his views. At one time he even tried to force me to watch CNN street humor. This leads to our once amiable friedship becoming toxic as he begins outwardly insulting me and calling my intelligence into question. It became apparent to me we lived in different realities. But even then I figured things will get back to normal and stuff. Then I find out hes running his mouth about me behind my back, apparently I was a brainwashed fking Republican and what not. Mind you I voted for the Libertarian who didnt know where Aleppo was. After that he royaly pissed me off I just couldnt deal with his crap, so I stopped dealing with his crap. Also I have to note that in the 5+ years of his transition from somewhat normal classical liberal to hsi current state he has done nothing but complain about the government not giving him free crap, in that time I have made almost enough money to retire, buy some land a house etc. buy investing my money and eating ramen noodles, so my patience for BS has greatly decreased.

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  6. Sarah  January 14, 2022 at 10:56 am Reply

    I lost a close friend last year. We fell in love after getting very close for two years. My marriage had barely survived lockdown and he was neglectful and uninterested, blaming me for all the issues and saying that I was ‘over reacting’ – I got close to my male friend who also wore his heart on his sleeve and looked after me in the way I needed.
    Eventually my marriage hit the end of times after my husband threatened me when angry and I used to flee to my best friend’s house where he’d listen attentively and reassure me.
    I tried leaving my husband for reasons within the marriage and realised that I was deeply in love with my best friend. He made me glow, feel like I could be my authentic self and that was my turnmoil. My husband found out after he was so heartbroken that I had to be honest with him that it wasn’t COMPLETELY his fault I wanted to leave. I just didn’t know what to do. Me and my best friends daughters are best friends now and I see him randomly throughout the last 7 months..I’m completely heartbroken and grieving a loss of a man I loved so openly..he spilled his guts in love notes, emails, WhatsApp and then after two weeks, got with some girl.
    I’m confused, hurt, upset, heartbroken and relieved that my husband is trying to make things work..but fuck it hurts.

  7. Laura  December 28, 2021 at 4:34 pm Reply

    A 55+ year best friendship ended earlier this year over a difference in Covid beliefs. My friend went with a political conspiracy theory and I went with science and tried not to bring politics into the equation when deciding how to handle myself. She repeatedly posted articles and such on Facebook that basically said anyone that didn’t think like her (no lockdown or masking needed) was the problem and we were giving up our freedom. I overlooked the belittling and bullying on Facebook but had several conversations with her during this time – we live in different states and talked often for 2 or 3 hours at a time. But apparently I hurt her feelings during one convo when I told her she was a high risk individual (as am I) and that if she got it and gave it to her mother (also high risk) her mom could die from it. From this statement she felt she could no longer talk to me. Oh, I was SO mad at her. As with every friendship there are influences from our varied personalities and many other things about our relationship over 55+ years that play into this sort of thing and I started questioning what benefit I got out of the friendship. I felt this loss was just like processing a death and was so grateful for this article. It helped me understand what I was feeling and where I was torturing myself – 55 years is a long time when your 60 and it’s almost impossible to just throw that all away. It’s just gonna take time to heal and see where it goes from here.

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  8. Sean  November 29, 2021 at 11:58 pm Reply

    I lost a dear friend of almost 25 years due to a complicated situation were our friendship became a kind of short love affair. With both of us married with adoring partners and children there was nowhere for our love to go. It was all too late. Too much hurt and pain would result. Our brief love affair ended for the greater good. We agreed to remain close friends as we believed we could but things began to falter. Things weren’t the same but unfortunately my wife discovered some notes I had written expressing my emotions. I was writing things down to help deal with the pain I was feeling. I explained as best I could to my wife the circumstances and that it was over. I am grateful my marriage has survived and it is in my control to repair that. However, I grieve heavily the loss of my friend. We were friends since school, went to same university, travelled together, 18th, 21st, 30th and 40th birthdays, each other’s weddings, held each other’s babies. It was a special friendship I guess. A brief affair led to terrible emotional distress and a friendship lost forever. We do not speak or could if we wanted to. There has been no closure and a day doesn’t go by when I don’t think of her. I cry occasionally sometimes a lot for the loss. It’s been two years since we last spoke. I see her sometimes which is very painful. It’s highly unlikely we will ever talk again. Luckily, I have a fabulous wife that has stuck by me and gorgeous children. However, life is complicated and the pain endures for losing a friend I loved and had such wonderful memories with. I ll never get over it really. A heavy sadness lives inside me.

  9. ANONYMOUS  November 17, 2021 at 6:03 pm Reply

    It helps to know this is an actual thing. I lost a friend of 23 years who meant everything to me and I dont actually know why….

    The pandemic hit everyone hard. My friend and her partner got hit by the situation really badly, even though our situation wasn’t great I felt awful knowing what she was going through.

    I messaged and called often to check they were OK but also knew she hated talking about things so I didn’t pressure the conversation. When restrictions began to lift I asked if she fancied grabbing a take away coffee and going for a walk. She cancelled on me about 5 times and stopped answering my texts and calls. It didn’t bother me as I knew we were all in strange times and thought they must be under pressure or maybe she didn’t feel like talking.

    Around 2 days after she cancelled with me and mentioned that her and her partner had no money etc, a post came through on social media of her and her partner out in London with another couple for dinner and a comedy show. Something that normally I wouldn’t think twice about but given the situation I felt panicked and upset, like maybe I had done something wrong or said something out of turn even though for the life of me I couldn’t think what…

    I messaged asking if I had done something wrong. She read the message and I never got a reply. I left it at that. It kept me awake at night with anxiety and my head going in circles wondering what on earth had happened. About 2/3 months passed and I got a text from her on my birthday like nothing had happened…

    This messed with my head. I felt frustrated and confused and couldn’t understand why she’d behaved the way she had towards me and then pretended everything was normal. In our whole 23 years of friendship neither of us had done this….

    I addressed the elephant in the room so to speak. Not aggressively but just said I didn’t even expect to hear from her and that u was confused and upset. She came back with her and her partner wanted space and that she shouldn’t have to explain herself when going out with other people….to me that was even more of a slap in the face.

    I said if she wanted to be left alone they jsut had to say that…..I wasn’t texting 24/7 but I didn’t want to be a craopy friend who didn’t seem to care either….so it was a hard line to get right with no direction…

    As mentioned before normally I wouldn’t think twice about her being out with others but the fact she’d cancelled me so many times just made me feel like the right thing to do was ask if I’d upset her, i didn’t want her to justify herself.

    After that we didn’t speak. She never replied and I felt like calling, texting or asking to meet to talk was pointless as from what I could tell she just didn’t want to.

    The final nail in the coffin was that she announced her pregnancy on Instagram……I felt like I really was no longer important or mattered at all.

    I always thought of her as a sister and treated her as such. She was one of my favourite people in the world and there wasn’t anything I woildnt do for her. Any big news we always shared with eachother before anyone.

    I was very happy for her but cried myself to sleep that night knowing that for reasons I still don’t know she just didn’t want me in her life anymore.

    I messaged to say congratulations to which she politely responded.

    Then we didn’t speak at all…..

    When the girls were born she text me a day or so after telling me so. I was surprised as given everything that’s happened I feel like I eont know where I stand or what the friendship even is anymore….

    We spoke and pretty much since then not again since. The girls are now 5 months old and I haven’t since my friend in nearly 2 years.

    The most upsetting thing for me is a don’t know why it happened. There was no argument or issue that I know of. Its almost as if she woke up one day and decided she didn’t want to be friends with me anymore.

    I miss her so much. I just feel like it would be pointless saying so. I grieve for our relationship but I want to move on, I just don’t know how.

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  10. Anonymous  November 2, 2021 at 6:39 am Reply

    Great article it is really reassuring and helped me feel my feelings are normal. I have two very long-term very close friends (30 and 20 years) I feel I’ve lost recently. One has changed so much in recent years probably through professional success the other has maybe found a new tribe that are more important to her. I am in a state not knowing whether to be hopeful or to grieve. Two friends at once is hard after everything we’ve shared. It’s hard not to keep searching for I did wrong and it
    is having a big effect on my self esteem. Knowing that friendship loss and inparticular that ambiguous loss us actually a thing is a relief. Thank you

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  11. Amanda  October 26, 2021 at 10:31 pm Reply

    I’m mourning the loss of my high school friend of 11 years. During our college years, we partied hard and often together and we called each other our “ride or die”. I paid for us to get matching tattoos for her 23rd birthday. Always put forth the effort into making her feel special and heard and loved. But as we got older, I shifted more towards a sober lifestyle, while she kept on partying with other friends, and essentially the bottle is what’s tarnished the friendship. The last time we saw each other was over 3 months ago and she made very condescending remarks about my sobriety for most of the night, and I just knew that would be the last time I would make plans with her again. It’s upsetting and I feel helpless, but I also feel empowered to continue my path, and my new friends who embrace my sobriety keep me strong.

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  12. Anonymous  October 21, 2021 at 5:28 pm Reply

    I feel this. I have always struggled with keeping friends (I have troubles socially, not sure why) but in fifth grade there was a girl who was sitting beside me in class, and we developed a friendship. She was always “cooler” than me but when we were together it never mattered. We were just us. I was always told that elementary school friends don’t last forever, but when we got to high school we were fine, and i REALY thought we were going to be friends forever. She has this other friend that never seemed to like me, and we’ve always butted heads. In about June Last school year (2021) That girl had done something to hurt someone else without their knowledge and I told that person. I was accused of “spreading rumours” and my best friend cut contact with me. It hurt. A lot. But at first I was so focused on becoming close with everyone else around me to prove I didn’t need her. But I’ve lost most of those friendships and I feel horrible and like I’ve used those people. It’s now the new school year and Just recently I’ve put the name to the horrible emotions that have caused me to slip in my work and start having sad episodes, it’s grief. I loved her and now she’s gone. She may not have been lowered into the ground, but she’s gone. I miss her so much. I loved her. She was like my sister. And I fear that it’s “weird” to feel this way, or that i shouldn’t, because I can see her in the hallways, or walking on the street to school. It’s not like summer where I could block her out of my mind. I want to tell the person that has been beside me these past couple weeks when I’ve been feeling like this but I don’t want her to seem like she isn’t doing enough or that she isn’t as “awesome” of a friend, when she really is all I could ask for and more.

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  13. Lena  October 2, 2021 at 7:58 pm Reply

    I’m mourning the loss of my best friend of 7 years even though I was the one who ended the friendship.

    We met as aspiring writers and we shared a lot of our path to becoming published authors. I still liked him and valued his conversation, but some aspects of the friendship had become unbearable. He was perpetually negative, sometimes I felt smothered by his darkness and the weight of his troubles. He was always demanding attention and was impossible to satisfy. He continually imagined I had slighted him and would then give me silent treatments, and badmouth about me on his social media. If I ever confronted him, he denied his behavior, made everything about him and switched blame back to me… It was utterly impossible to solve conflicts with him or establish boundaries, so, after a final major incident last August, I felt I couldn’t do it anymore and put an end to the friendship.

    But I’m having a hard time. I feel like I no longer know how to make friends. I feel guilty and like I will never find a strong connection with anyone ever again. Also, I’m having a hard time going back to work on my writing because I shared so much of that path with him that now I’m not sure how to continue alone.

    1
  14. Lynae  September 23, 2021 at 10:25 pm Reply

    I had a close friendship with someone i considered to be like a sister. In 12 years we had never had a conflict because we agreed on basically everything.

    Then a very minor “she said this and then why did you say this..and she said you said…” kind of real housewives conflict happened and she could not move past it. Four months after multiple apologies on my end and very little reciprocal remorse for her role in the drama, she sat me down with a list of things she was still upset about regarding that meaningless tit for tat.

    Where the grieving part comes in, I’m rapidly losing my ability to walk, i have a progressive neuromuscular disease (limb girdle muscular dystrophy) that worsened exponentially after the birth of my son who also was born with it and other chronic but manageable medical issues. Im trying to process but it’s really hard not to be angry at her perseveration on such a minor conflict when hello- there are bigger issues in the world- some of them were sitting across the table from her.

    Throughout the years there were red flags with others, random grudges she would hold onto with little empathy for the subject she was fixated on. I never imagined i would be on the receiving end. She was such a wonderful friend for so many years as long as we were in total agreement. It’s a splash of cold water in the face to realize she cant recover from something that in the big scheme of things is obviously so trivial. And on my end making mountains out of mole hills just isn’t compatible with someone in the middle of an actual mountain.

    Im sure others in here can relate.

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  15. Annoymous  July 17, 2021 at 8:42 am Reply

    I have just lost a really meaningful friendship partly through struggling to come to terms with the loss of a relationship with the same person. It was really tough as we both were so so close and helped each other through the pandemic but since Feb (she stopped the relationship) I asked for space but she wanted to be friends almost immediately but I said I would find that difficult. Anyways in the end we ended up getting close again but I had lots of mixed messages and decided in order to move on that she couldn’t be in my life as a friend because I wouldn’t be able to get over here. I changed my mind again and I’m holding my hands up and admitting my mistakes but it was because I loved her and didn’t really want to not be in my life. Anyways she decided she didn’t want me to be her friend. I went to see her and she changed her mind again and did want to be friends and then after that decided she didn’t! Now we are at the stage where I still want to be friends and feel guilty about everything. It’s a tricky situation but I am in the horrible position of hoping it will work out friendship wise as I miss her terribly but also knowing that I need to move on really. Any advice appreciated!

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  16. Maryann  June 11, 2021 at 11:44 am Reply

    When my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer my best friend was beside me every step of the way. When he died 7 months later I really had to cocoon, be alone. I’m quite insular to begin with and she seemed to be respecting that. I often apologized for how my grief was creating distance between us and was comforted by her ability to understand it. Over time I noticed she felt distance and cool when I would apologize for the distance. Just as I was begin to come out of the grief she shared that she has become quite close to another friend. Ouch. Not really necessary to share but it did help me recognize that we were both contributing to the distance over the last year. Sadly, we haven’t been able to mend and I believe she hasn’t been able to acknowledge the anger in her about the impact my grief path had on her, on us.

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  17. Anonymous  May 20, 2021 at 5:54 am Reply

    I’m on the other side of the breakup line. I’ve known this person from many years ago when we were in school. As adults, we spent a good bit of free time together. This person is a complainer, and also has a way of delivering opinions in a way that’s biting and hurtful.

    As we have gotten older, either these negative qualities have intensified, or I have become far less tolerant of them. Perhaps it’s a combination of both. After the deaths of several relatives close to me, I decided life is too short to endure friendships that you don’t enjoy or make you feel unsure and unhappy. I’ve done the slow fade. (For my part, I could have done a better job of confirming the breakup.) The other person has finally gotten the message. I now only keep company with those who are supportive and constructive. Oftentimes, that person is myself.

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  18. Josie Jones  May 6, 2021 at 8:51 pm Reply

    Hi. I am REALLY struggling. I firstly lost my dear Dad in Oct 2018 after terminal cancer. Then my Brother in law died of cancer in July 2019, then last year, my Mum had a fall & was taken to hospital. That was on 20th March. On 21st i was 50, on 22nd it was Mothers Day, both of which i could not see her due to covid. Then on the Monday, 23rd March i lost her. It happened SO unexpectedly & SO suddenly i that I am still struggling to come to terms with it.
    Unfortunately, i have since lost 12 friends too, which i am also struggling with.
    I have been told I am going through all the stages of grief all at same time.
    But I also am suffering from loss of my best friend of over 20 years too. Only 3 days after i lost Mum she suddenly just turned her back on me with no explanation. I tried calling her, messaging , even sending her a note, but nothing in return. It devastated me SO much.
    Never in a million years did i think she could be so cruel, when i needed my friends around me at worst time of my life. Her daughter then messaged me ti tell me her mom is upset because i have copied everything she has been diagnosed with, after going to all hospital appointments with her …… yet it was actually the other way around. I took her to appointments but never went in with her, yet she came in to my own appointments, & little did i know she had noted all the symptoms i suffer with with my fibromyalgia, arthritis in my lower back, & then went to Drs & was too diagnosed with exactly the same.
    All that has hurt me so much , knowing she lied to her own FAMILY & some of our mutual friends too, so i lost those too.
    I miss my Mum so so much, & i dont want to go out, i dont want to see anyone that knew her in fear of crying. I am not sleeping, sometimes going 4 or 5 days with no sleep at all. I dont want to eat , & just want my Mum back. Not bring able to see her or say goodbye properly hit me really hard, but not being able to see her or speak to her on my milestone birthday, or her special day of Mothers day, then having just 7 of us around her grave, & having to just drop her Mothers day card in the grave , it absolutely devastated me. I feel that when my Mum died, part of my heart died. How do i ever get through this ?

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    • Maryann  June 11, 2021 at 11:45 am Reply

      I’m so sorry…such an avalanche of loss. I never thought I would lose my best friend while grieving the loss of my husband.

      1
    • MC  July 4, 2021 at 6:49 pm Reply

      What a terrible friend she has been to you. You deserve better. If she was a true friend she would have been there to support you. I’m not surprised your devastated. I believe your mum will always be by your side. I can never understand how people can be so cruel at a time when you need them. I’m sure you will meet people along the way who will prove themselves to be kinder and more worthy friends.

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  19. Natalie  May 5, 2021 at 9:28 pm Reply

    This is so spot on. My mom died in February and one of my best friends has been completely absent from our friendship. This article explains things so well, and helps me know that what I’m going through in both grief of losing my mom and losing a friend is totally normal. Thank you for writing this!

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  20. Salem  March 9, 2021 at 4:28 am Reply

    My best friend and I just split because of an issue about a guy. We used to be like sisters, inseparable at school. But she ended it and now I don’t know what to do. I’m not talkative or that social at school, so I don’t know what to do now that I’ve lost her. I literally put her friendship before any one else and now we’re done. What do I do?

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    • Sarah  March 24, 2021 at 2:54 am Reply

      I know it’s hard with that. I’m pretty quiet myself. I have an outgoing friend, lately, our friendship does not seem to be what I think it should be. Also, I think we have had issues over guys for years. The guys I liked, liked her. Also, the guys she liked, liked me. So it was weird. Guys can really have a way of ruining friendships. It sucks I know. It sounds like your a caring person who puts others before yourself. I feel like I can be the same way sometimes. But I think maybe we got to realize that sometimes some people ( friends), are not the healthiest people themselves. If they want to let us go, then, we got to let them go. Usually, they come back around. For this case, maybe after the guy has left the picture.
      In the meantime, I guess finding people that understand the things you are interested in, could be a start. Meeting new people. Then your old friend might come back around. I think also it’s important to realize, sometimes things are more about that person, and maybe have nothing to do with you.
      Bring shy,and socially nervous is something I can definitely relate to. I think for people like us, we just have to do the things we are scared of. Like talking to , and meeting new people. I’ll be cheering you on. Godbless you.

      1
    • Savannah  October 21, 2021 at 5:32 pm Reply

      Yeah, I was never social. So when I finally for a friend and kept her I thought it would be forever. I’ve made a few friends since she was gone. Just a tip, feel your pain. Embrace it, don’t push it away. It just comes back. Eventually you will find someone who will be just the same. Hope you’re okay <3

  21. Anonynous  February 25, 2021 at 11:55 am Reply

    I am struggling to deal with the break up of my friendship. We had been friends for 12 years. I have always been supportive of her. She has a difficult relationship with her partner who has had constant affairs to the point of paying sex workers as well as fathering other children behind her back. They have 3 children together and I am very close to her eldest daughter. I have never judged their relationship and always allowed her to make her own choices. Of recent she made a new friend who from the beginning didn’t like me and kept trying to push me out this person is a malicious gossip and I’d didn’t like the way she spoke to or treated people. I didn’t respond and just tried to rise above it. Slowly my friend started to change and began to share my personal things with her new friend which hurt as I had never discussed her issues with anyone. My friend and her partner decided to get married and I wasn’t in the position financially to attend the wedding as it was abroad and I am a single parent. I told her this and she said she understood. However I since learnt that her new friend was telling her that I am a rubbish friend for not going. This led to an argument between me and her friend and now my friend has fallen out with me. She has blocked me everywhere and just cut me off. I tried to message her daughter when it was her birthday but for no reply. I don’t understand what I have done wrong. It’s been nearly 2 months now and I have accepted that the friendship is done. But I’m struggling to understand how she could be so hurtful and just cut me off. Any advise? It’s gone past reconciliation I just want to know how I move on from it after such a long time.

    1
  22. Gisele  January 4, 2021 at 11:03 am Reply

    The person who was my supposedly best friend for years also happens to be my coworker in a small office. She is very manipulative and overpowering which I eventually opened my eyes and saw. She controlled me and I became a follower. I abandoned prior friendships and my husband and I socialized with her husband and her. Once I began to stand up for myself she turned on me and does not let her husband even talk to mine. This has been going on for 3 plus years. I love my job but cannot stand being in the same office as her. I am at a loss and dread every day.

    I also lost my 19 year old son 3 years ago to suicide so life has been a challenge.

    • IsabelleS  January 4, 2021 at 12:16 pm Reply

      Gisele, I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through all of this… My heart goes out to you. I understand how difficult it can be to have a friend change so drastically. Your conflicting feelings of loving your job but hating being there alongside her are completely valid. I wish there was an easy fix in this situation. As far as the loss of your son is concerned, I’m so sorry. I recommend you check out this article: https://whatsyourgrief.com/grieving-suicide-death/ All the best to you.

  23. Frances French  January 1, 2021 at 4:02 pm Reply

    My very dear life long friend just died of covid. Any thoughts about the loss of a very dear friend would be appreciated. I have grieved other losses so I am familiar with the pain. It is just that grief comes in do many disguises.

    • IsabelleS  January 4, 2021 at 1:39 pm Reply

      Frances, I’m so sorry for your loss. You’re right: Grief is different each time… and that’s okay! All the best to you.

    • Lauren  April 8, 2021 at 7:47 pm Reply

      Hi Frances, how have you been doing recently? I will pray for you. Have you gone to God about the loss of your friend?

  24. KC  December 11, 2020 at 5:12 am Reply

    I’m in an intense break up of sorts with a close friend (so I thought) because she is grieving the death of her husband in ways that are negatively effecting my family. Particularly my four year old daughter. She told me she believes she can communicate with her deceased husband THROUGH my daughter and tests this theory constantly with mind-reading games and is intent on spending time alone with my daughter, which is very uncomfortable for me, especially now that my little one is showing some serious signs of anxiety-nightmares, waking up many times in the night, obsessively asking to check on this friend, tantrums and a short fuse. I’ve tried to shift things to make sure they aren’t alone together and my friend is really annoyed by this. I want to be a good friend, but I cannot sacrifice the well-being of my child!! Now my friend is assaulting me with emails criticizing me as a mother (suggesting I don’t want my children?!?!) I want to defend myself and at the same time realize she’s not in a state of mind that is worth arguing with. I’m really sad about the whole thing and not sure where to go with this 🤷‍♀️

    • IsabelleS  December 11, 2020 at 9:57 am Reply

      KC, I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this… This is a really tough situation! I understand feeling conflicted: You want to help/support your friend, but you can’t jeopardize your family and particularly your daughter. I, unfortunately, don’t think there’s a right answer in a situation like this, but I think you made the choice that you thought was best for you and your family. Nonetheless, it must have been immensely difficult to cut out your friend. I think you’re making the right decision by not continuing to argue with her… Stay strong! Once again, so sorry you have to go through this. All the best to you.

      1
      • KC  December 11, 2020 at 5:22 pm

        Thank you for your kind answer Isabelle! It’s so nice to feel heard.

    • Sarah  March 24, 2021 at 3:05 am Reply

      Sorry to hear your going through that. I recently lost a mutual friend with a friend of mine. I try to bring them up, but realize that sime things I brought up made them uncomfortable or sad, and I definitely didn’t mean to do that to them. I think I realized that there are some things between certain people that they want to remain private I digress tho. It sounds like your friend has definitely gone past some boundaries. She shouldn’t be bothering your daughter. I think she needs to check her mental health with a therapist or other such thing. Also, your friend could consult with a psychic medium or gifted person. I know not everyone believes in that. It’s ok. But she should leave your daughter alone. Maybe I would say if she comes back around you could suggest such things.
      I’m now seeing a therapist for other issues, and it can definitely help some.

  25. Elena  November 17, 2020 at 1:18 pm Reply

    I am on the other side of the fence, I am the one who is causing great pain in a person I no longer want to consider a friend. I cannot stand her anymore, but I didn’t have the courage to tell her why. She’s always been weak and dependending on me, stealing MY words from MY mouth to express HER feelings, saying that she liked the same things I like to blend in (except for the fact that she doesn’t know the first thing on those topics when you ask her more). We got to the point that, in front of an empty coatrack, she would hang her jacket on the same peg as mine. I have been totally drained by her. I started avoiding her, told her I need space, but I know she is suffering and I am feeling extremely guilty. Yet the thought of seeing her again makes me sick. I want to cut her off, I am better without her, but I don’t know how to deal with the guilt.

    • Sarah  March 24, 2021 at 3:07 am Reply

      Maybe you just need to set boundaries with her for a friendship to work. I’m not trying to judge you, but maybe she’s going through rough times. Maybe walk in her shoes to see where she’s coming from.

      1
  26. Fuad  November 2, 2020 at 1:02 pm Reply

    Based on personal experience when my father passed away, I invested in developing an app dedicated to honoring passed away loved ones.
    It is free, please try it and give me your feedback
    http://www.shrine-app.com

  27. mary  October 3, 2020 at 5:16 am Reply

    During our Covid 19 lockdown i was on the verge of coping with my own terrible lonliness and intense anxiety with caring for my profoundly disabled spouse and the awful fear of somehow getting covid and infecting him and everyone at his resthome. My close friend who has always only confided in me with major issues was also going through a crisis- hers involving a bad relationship. One night when my own spouse was having a crisis she rang in a crisis. I found myself shaking with anxiety and stress, and anger as she knew how hard things were for me. I had to reach out to some other friends to help her as i was unable. Since then i have had to step back from being the go to person when she is in crisis as i just can’t cope any more- I feel so very ashamed but something about covid has broken me and i have nothing to give other than focusing on my immediate family. I haven’t been texting her regularly or meeting up weekly anymore- i hate being strategic like this but i feel so scared of it happening again. She has always been such a kind friend and i feel like i have let her down.

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    • Lauren  April 8, 2021 at 8:01 pm Reply

      Hi Mary, how have you been doing recently?
      I’m praying for you; Dear God, thank you for your love. Please show Mary your love for her, and remind her how Jesus died in our place and was raised from the dead so that we could have eternal life and know you. God, thank you that we can cast our cares on you. Please help Mary with giving her worries to you, and please comfort her, encourage her, and strengthen her. Thank you for your grace and compassion. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

  28. Betty Potash  October 2, 2020 at 7:15 pm Reply

    I had known my friend since my 20’s….she got married and moved away …she came back into my life 16 years ago…we reconnected……when my mother died 3 years ago she never came to the funeral nor to the shiva……….I still remained friends…..however, now her husband has cancer and she never told me much about his cancer……I recently asked her 2 questions.( she only does texting)…….about her husband’s health and she texted me very angrily and was almost nasty……..I have tried to extend myself and try to smooth things over…to no avail she has not responded…….at this point, I am beginning to realize perhaps she does not know how to be a friend….I am very sad…

    2
    • Lauren  April 8, 2021 at 8:29 pm Reply

      Sorry that you’ve had such a difficult experience with this friend. The way you reached out even after being hurt by her shows a little picture of the kind of grace God has for us in Jesus, and of the kind of love the Lord has that doesn’t wait for the other person to deserve it but gives it when we very much so don’t deserve it. And as Psalm 22:14-18 says of Jesus, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” God loves us so much that He gave His Son, the Messiah. Like it says in Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
      With God’s help, I’ve loved the other person even when they don’t deserve it, and it is hard. But it points me to the precious sacrifice of the Savior, and God’s unmerited favor. I believe God doesn’t let things go to waste, not even hard things. And in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
      For you, do you find yourself relying on God throughout difficult times or wanting to rely on Him?

  29. atb1  October 2, 2020 at 1:11 pm Reply

    A lot of the time, it’s nothing you have done, it’s that the other person has married or is associating with someone who has undue influence on their decisions. I had a friend whom I met in college- she was always flighty and under confident because she came from a very large family where females were not considered to be full human beings. She seemed to be always searching for answers and trying to learn more than what was taught her in her home life. Unfortunately, men became her escape. When she was with a man who was reasonable, nice and good, all was well between us. But when she was with someone who was trying to dominate her, she always succumbed to it. Now, she is on her second husband and upteenth career…The second husband apparently decided he doesn’t like me or perhaps my husband and so, that was the end of my relationship with my “friend.” The last time we met, she told me that he was only nice to us in the beginning because he was trying to impress her. Now, she supports him because he quit his job and decided to be a poet. When my father died a couple months ago, I let her know because frankly, she spent a lot of time with my family and my parents were very good to her. She texted me back and sent a sympathy card but it felt hollow to me. I went to her father’s funeral and spoke with her as he was dying. I now accept that there is nothing I can do to help her and that the friendship I thought we had wasn’t real. Unfortunately, people are unreliable, fickle and self-involved. That’s just how it is in life.

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  30. Colin  October 2, 2020 at 12:23 pm Reply

    Interesting enough its not just the loss of a friend. Its also the loss of a family member who is still living but has changed due to the loss of another family member – in his case his mother. He has become estranged from his family and girlfriend and seems to increasingly focus on his dog. That too is a loss of a living person.

    In my case I get to the point where I get emotionally drained due to the loss of my wife. I have lost living friends, made new ones and there are also friends who allow me to withdraw at times to recharge.

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  31. Anonymous  October 2, 2020 at 12:18 pm Reply

    If I had any advice for a young person, it would be this: Learn to accept the natural ebb and flow of friendships in this grand journey called Life. For various reasons, friends may come and go. Some friends may be lifelong; most aren’t. Don’t fight change or expect more than Life can realistically deliver.

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  32. anonymous  October 1, 2020 at 6:51 pm Reply

    Thank you for this post.

    I’ve had very powerful conversations with myself about all of the above.
    None of this, for me, is due to politics.

    I’ve learned it best not to run towards any fires.
    To be super gentle with myself.
    To feed my body nourishing foods and feed my inner life nourishment, too.

    Music and fresh air and yard work help me stay grounded yet free.
    And prayer and meditation, which, for me mostly happens sitting on the front steps, with morning coffee or afternoon tea. Outside with birds singing, just being one with it.

    I can be analytical in matters of finance and the maintenance of home, yet find that analyzing relationships, for me, is a sure path to zero peace of mind and emotions.

    I live in a part of the USA where we have 4 seasons, and they allow me visual reminders of the cycles of life. That is a comfort to me.
    Life, and relationships, with others and with myself, really do change. Naturally. No point resisting. Best for me to feel it all and trust the cycles.

    I continue to sense the love of my husband around me and within me, still.
    His Spirit left his body in the season of Winter.

    October is his birthday month.
    Then November, our wedding anniversary month.
    Then St. Nicholas Day, December 6th.
    All, for us, in the season of Autumn.
    And for us, always bright, light, joy-of-a-child months.

    It is the Spirit of a person which remains with me, and once I get past the fear of being (seemingly) alone on this dense earth, I am able to settle in to a place of acceptance.

    3
    • CC  October 11, 2020 at 9:54 pm Reply

      This was beautiful. I also recently lost my husband and everything you said about self care is so true. Thank you for writing such a lovely, moving comment.

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      • anonymous  October 24, 2020 at 7:55 am

        You’re welcome, CC.

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    • Ks  October 20, 2020 at 1:33 pm Reply

      Ur comment really means alot to me thank u for the positive advice and for sharing ur outlook. My Life is so grey and the future so gloomy but ur words brought me light and I feel the love u share in ur wisdom. Thank u again sorry for ur loss and I hope u find a way to always keep ur inner peace it’s inspiring and beautiful.

      1
      • anonymous  October 24, 2020 at 8:23 am

        Dear Ks,

        Please remain open to your own heart and your own experiences.

        My life has been grey many times, too.
        How could it not be?

        I am grateful to you for letting me know that some light came for you from the sharing of my experiences and beliefs.

        Thank you, too, for your kind words of loving encouragement for me, personally.

        This morning I have been watching, and listening (again) to the beautiful video on YouTube by Mark Knopfler.

        From the All the Roadrunning cd he recorded with Emmylou Harris.

        This video was posted Dec. 2, 2016.
        It is Romeo and Juliet.
        Emmylou does not appear in it, even though her name is in the title.

        Music takes me to the deepest places within me, allowing all emotion to surface and be felt by all the parts of me which matter.
        And Mark Knopfler has always been a reliable and safe and steady bridge for me to go to these sacred spaces within.
        My husband John shared this love of Mark’s music, too.

        Love to you, Kc.
        Please honor all of you.
        Do your best.
        Accept all the parts of you, in the moment.
        Seek the beauty which nourishes you.

        Everything passes…..

        1
      • anonymous  October 25, 2020 at 2:32 am

        just saw my error at the end of my note to you–
        messed up your name, honey.
        I’m sorry.

        Love to you, Ks. Ks. Ks. !

        1

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