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janbb's avatar

Any shortcuts for grieving the loss of a friendship?

Asked by janbb (44103 points ) June 2nd, 2014

I’ve had an up and down platonic friendship with a guy for over two years. He’s cut it off in a very cruel way. It’s over and I’m sad. I’ll be ok but just want some support and tips for anything that helped you. I know for me that keeping busy with friends is one thing; unfortunately we have overlapping activities that I will skip for now. Please – no harsh put downs.

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27 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

This is so difficult, our culture really has no set up in place for the loss (whether through death or something as you described) of a friend.
I have had this happen, and something that helped me was writing letters never to be sent. During the times I was angry at the person I would write mean stuff, clever nasty remarks, nasty statements about stupid things like personal hygiene. When I was just sad I’d write down my wallowing thoughts. Again, these things are for cathartic purposes only and should be destroyed right after.
Then I would do something that has nothing to do with anything that reminded me of this person, yoga class or some such.

I’m sorry you have to go through this, it’s painful and disturbing. Good luck!

Mimishu1995's avatar

I’m sorry for your loss @janbb. I used to lose some friends of mine too. They kicked me out maybe the same way that guy left you. I was bewildered and I tried to find a solution, but nothing worked. I had to give up in the end.

I remembered when I accepted that I couldn’t do anything, I looked for other friends. I actually found two. I tried to be as friendly to them as possible, treating them as well as I could. I also tried to find distraction: I indulged in my hobbies, I took more class activities, I chatted with other classmates (other than my former friends). After a while I realized that losing a friendship was painful, but at least the pain could be reduced if I stop thinking about it.

I don’t know if what I do can apply to you… Once again, I’m sorry. I know how you are feeling now.

kimchi's avatar

First, you got to get everything in your house related to him out of the house. Throw away anything that reminds you of him! Second, put your mind to something else: exercising, music, TV, Korean Drama, reading, shopping, etc. Third, have fun. Doing something else makes all the sad memories go away.
I’m sorry for your loss. I feel horrible. I know how it feels, trust me. I hope you feel better and if you need ANYONE to talk to, message me. I hope all the above steps work because they worked for me. Good luck, friend. Feel better!

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Sorry, that happened to myself as well a friend I knew for years and years all of a sudden didn’t want to be friends anymore, don’t have a clue of what I did to offend him, but oh well in time I got over it.

Seek's avatar

* hugs*

…that’s all I’ve got.

GloPro's avatar

Ouch. I’ve been there. It’s so unusual to get dumped by a friend that it leaves one feeling so confused. Most friendships taper off unless there was a betrayal. I don’t get that impression here.
I don’t have any advice except for what I learned in hindsight. Don’t chase it. Believe that you are a good friend and that not all friendships are meant to be. If he doesn’t want to be friends that speaks for itself. If When you run into him, smile, nod, say hello, and quickly move on. Leave the scene if you must for awhile. If he is cruel in public, in person, then people will see it as a reflection of him. If they don’t, well, just remember you don’t need them, either. Elevate your level of friendships.

And cry. It’s ok. That feeling really sucks.

marinelife's avatar

It just takes time. I am still connected on Facebook with someone who was my best friend for almost 30 years. It still hurts a little. But it is better. I have finally come to terms with the fact that it was her not me.

Judi's avatar

I’m still mourning the loss of a friendship from over 5 years ago. When you’ve trusted your heart by being vulnerable and then realize that to them it was so easy to just throw it away it is so hard. I haven’t had a best girlfriend since. (Except my daughters.)
I still cry occasionally at the loss. I love my husband dearly but there is something important about having a girlfriend you can bounce things off of and share with. (I know your loss was a guy, but I’m assuming since it was platonic it was similar.)
I think the only real answer to make it easier is time.
My old friend has been on my mind lately since her daughter is having a manic episode all over Facebook and if we were still close I would be supporting her right now through this terrible time.

jca's avatar

If he cut it off in a cruel way, just remember you are the better person. Hopefully that will help you get over it. Time will heal this wound.

(hugs)

rojo's avatar

@jca…and wounds all heels.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Keep your head up and stay with us. I’m so sorry @janbb. You’ve had a lot of heartache in these last few years. (((Hugs))).

dappled_leaves's avatar

Nope. Just appreciate your real friends all the more. Usually, I find that I’ll return to my hurt feelings over a lost friendship (like any ended relationship, really) over and over, in a cycle. So recognize when you’re feeling good, and realize that there will eventually be more of that than the hurt. That will see you through.

Haleth's avatar

Even though you have overlapping activities, is it possible to schedule one-on-one hangouts with other friends? Maybe just meeting someone for coffee.

My advice would be the same as with a bad breakup. Take plenty of care of yourself and do other things that make you happy. Spend time cultivating the other parts of your life. Eventually the pain of losing this friend will fade. In the mean time, the best thing you can do is be kind to yourself.

janbb's avatar

@Haleth Exactly my plans.

Blondesjon's avatar

I can’t give you advice better than above but I do come equipped with hugs, beers, and a dry shoulder.

janbb's avatar

@Blondesjon C’mon over!

(Despite feeling like shit yesterday, I marched in a gay pride parade and made a new friend.)

Blondesjon's avatar

^^ Outstanding!

kevbo's avatar

FWIW, I recently and abruptly ended a friendship with a woman after three years. It started as a fling, but she quickly backed away from anything physical despite my expressed desire for her. I decided to wait things out and made a point to connect with her once a month.

When our relationship schedules cleared two years later, I asked for a relationship. She offered a friendship. I took it but it felt like settling to me. Despite this supposed change, I still somehow had to chase her. She never called me, but only responded (albeit promptly) when I called her. One day, about a year later, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I was all out of chase, and I was resentful that she never called. I was also beyond the point of being okay with explaining this to her, because that seemed too basic a thing to have to explain. When she realized I summarily unfriended her, instead of apologizing, she gave me a sob story about the (legitimately) rough time she had had over the last few months, but ended it with her own feeling of being incensed and that basically “I knew where to find her,” (which obviously has never been an issue.)

I chased for too long and inflated the relationship into a possibility that was never going to come to fruition. I didn’t have anything left to give, and I wasn’t getting what I wanted. Also, while she said she thought of me often, she never thought of me as someone to contact during up or down times. I was an appendage to her busy life, which is fine to be at times, but not when I had always wanted more.

I don’t know if that creates room for explanation.

In addition to the above I am aware lately that I have the freedom to spend time with anyone. Some people aren’t really on the same plane as I am, and more than before I’m cleaning house to make room for better company.

I think this guy isn’t exactly doing that, because in that case he would have been more kind. Perhaps he’s pushing you away because he can’t have what he wants, and that’s too much to deal with now.

And this isn’t to defend him. It’s only to say that he acted out for some reason and out of weakness.

longgone's avatar

So sorry. You’re having a very rough time lately… I feel for you.

Staying busy helps me, too. I make holiday plans when I’m sad, sometimes I work on my bucket list. Occasionally, I go to bed to just wait it out. No book or other distractions. I get bored after a few minutes of wallowing, and that often gives me the energy to find something fun to do. Baking helps, as well as dancing around the flat belting out an upbeat song.

I’m glad you’re taking your grief seriously – I hate to see people trying to stay strong because the lost one hasn’t died. Makes no sense, if you think about it. The loss is real. If I was closer, I’d come over and make you a cup of tea. (((Bear Hugs)))

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Go to the thrift store, find something you like for $5, then promise yourself it replaces that friendship forever, and will never let you down the way he did.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You certainly have no shortage of friends HERE! Tough it out.

cookieman's avatar

((BEAR HUG))
S’all I got Penguin.

Pachy's avatar

Ah, @janbb, I’m so, so sorry. I’m learning a bit right now about grief, and, thanks to advice I’ve heard in my grief support group, I’ve given up believing there are shortcuts. Each of us has to go through it in our own time and way.

janbb's avatar

@Pachy I am gaining more and more clarity all the time and the healing is happening as I keep busy and hang out with good friends. I think you are right though and we just have to wade through it. Luckily, I now know that I am a resilient person.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The hard times will teach you that ^^^ anyway. Somehow makes the next time a little easier even though it’s still hard….

Kardamom's avatar

In addition to all of the great advice already given, allow yourself to wallow for 10 minutes a day for a week, then 10 minutes per week, then 10 minutes per month.

In the meantime, make a plan to pay it forward as often as you can. Help an old lady out to her car with her cart full of groceries. Bake some cookies for an elderly neighbor. Call up an old friend (whom you are on good terms with) that you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Offer to babysit someone’s pet while they run errands during an afternoon (or for a long weekend so they can get away without worrying). Invite a friend or two over to your house and cook a meal together.

Be useful and kind and busy.

janbb's avatar

@Kardamom Yup – I am, although the old lady really wasn’t ready to go back to her car yet!

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