Losing a friend is a terrible thing that can happen to anyone. No matter what the circumstances are behind losing a friend, there will always be pain that comes along with it. It can make one depressed, miserable, and pessimistic for the future. For most people, their relationship with their friend is closer and tighter than that with anyone else — even closer than actual family members. People tend to confer more with their friends than with their siblings or parents, after all.
As terrible as this momentous event is, at some point, you will have to learn to get over losing your best friend. That way, you’ll be able to move on, be happier, spend time with your other friends, and make new ones. Here are ways you can get over losing a friend.
Take A Moment To Reflect On Yourself
The first thing and a very important thing to do after you’ve lost a friend is to simply sit back, take a moment, and reflect on yourself. Personally focus on yourself for now and don’t worry about everything else. Think about your mental and physical health and assess whether or not they need to be mended, which in most cases, they do. People tend to overthink and let themselves go whenever they experience something as painful as losing a friend. For the sake of your overall health, it is vital that you don’t allow this to happen.
Sometimes, one doesn’t realize just how affected they are by an event until they take the time to reflect on it. If you want to fully get over losing your friend, you will first need to take care of yourself. That way, you can begin working on everything else afterward.
A good exercise to do when reflecting is to attempt to see yourself in the eyes of another. Just pull your point of view outside of your body and think about how others would see you. Then, ask yourself: Do you like what you see? What do you need to work on? How can you be better? Once you figure these out, you can begin the process of getting over the loss of a friend externally.
Know Why You Lost Your Friend
An extension of the previous tip, the next helpful thing you can do after losing a friend is to think about why the friendship ended in the first place. Unless it was something no one had control over, something as tragic as a passing, for example, this should be your next step.
Recall the last moments you had with your former friend. What led to the eventual falling out? What caused it to begin with? Was the cause internal or external? Is there something you could have done?
Asking yourself these questions may not lead to you winning back the friendship, but it will certainly make you keep the friends you already have. If the mistake was yours, knowing exactly what your mistake was will help you not do them anymore in the future. If the mistake was someone else’s, it will also let you know which red flags to watch out for moving forward.
This can also force you to move on from the lost friendship since you’ll constantly go over why the relationship ended. This will consequently lead you to think ahead, thus forcing you to think about the future, only this time, with other friendships instead of the one you just lost.
Allow Yourself To Grieve
When you lose a friend, you will go through a phase of grieving. This is perfectly normal. In fact, you should allow yourself to grieve instead of pretending as if nothing happened. If you go this route, the process of grieving will jumpstart one way or another down the road. By sweeping your emotions under the rug, you’re simply bottling it up and delaying the inevitable.
The proper thing to do after losing a friend is to just allow yourself to wallow in grief for a while. According to psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, a person goes through five processes when grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. You may or may not experience all five stages simultaneously, but the important thing is for you to open yourself to these stages so you can finally reach the stage of acceptance.
While this may sound like it will put you in a miserable spot, that’s okay! You’ve just lost a friend, after all. By allowing yourself to grief, you’re also letting yourself mend and be okay in the coming days or weeks. Accept the horrible days that are coming your way, but know that there are also great days coming ahead.
Don’t Rush It
The span of the grieving process varies from person to person. Yours could take weeks, it could take days. Just be sure you’re prepared for this. It is important that you don’t rush the process of getting over a lost friendship. This will only frustrate you more, which in turn will only make the process take longer.
No matter how long the process takes, don’t let the time taken affect you. Just allow yourself to feel the emotions until you no longer feel them. At some point during this process, you will start to feel as if everything’s fine. You’ll begin to feel cheerful again. You’ll start to have desires. You’re going to want to hang out and meet other people again. Expect this, but don’t rush it. This is the end goal of the process, but this isn’t a race. It’s not about how fast you get there.
Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
At some point, while getting over losing a friend, you may begin to feel contempt, even hatred towards yourself. While this is a normal reaction, you also shouldn’t let it fester. You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself when losing a friend, even if the reason is directed to you.
You need to learn to be kinder to yourself. If you caused the downfall of the friendship, learn to forgive yourself. At this moment in time, the only person you have is yourself. You need to make sure you’re a good company to your mind and soul. It sounds very cliche, but a lot of people disregard this idea and they end up hating themselves. This is something you should never do.
If you end up hating yourself, your personality will begin to change. This will hinder you from building new relationships moving forward and it might even destroy the friendships you currently have. Don’t be too hard on yourself as this will cause your social life more harm than good. If the moment arises when you begin to feel disappointment toward yourself, start thinking about things you could do to make yourself better. Betterment is more helpful than depreciation.
Get Out Of The House
At some point, you are going to need to get out of your house to experience life outside. Once you’ve allowed yourself to wallow in grief, you’ve taken your time, you should then begin the process of moving anew. Sometimes, you’re going to need to force yourself to do this, because it is an absolutely necessity if you want to eventually move on.
If you don’t get out, you won’t feel the drive to socialize. Getting to work will feel dull and your productivity will be affected. Not only are you hurting yourself, but you are also ruining the professional aspect of your life.
When someone asks you to go out and hang out with them, agree to do so! You may not want to initially, but you’ll eventually realize going out with other people is something you need.
You can also simply go out alone. Go to a park, observe other people going about their business, go to a bar, head to the mall, get something to eat. The idea of simply surrounding yourself with other people is something that can help you internally mend. If you’re lucky, you may even get to meet a new friend, perhaps someone who’s somewhat experiencing the same thing you are.
Find An Activity That’s Therapeutic For You
Once going out starts to feel more and more normal, now it’s time for you to find an outlet. This is in case you’ll have momentary lapses wherein you’ll start feeling guilty or downhearted again. Find an activity that you consider therapeutic and do that activity when things even slightly begin to darken.
This can be a hobby you’re already fond of — like reading, watching a movie, playing a video game, or playing a sport. You can also find new things. Discover activities you otherwise would not have done. In fact, this is when most people discover new hobbies: when they’re downtrodden.
Finding new activities to participate in will also cause you to socialize. If you take up new activities, you will talk to people who are either new or experts in that area. First, you will take about your newly shared interests, and you’ll eventually begin to develop a relationship with them, whether personal or casual. This is something healthy for you at this point in the process of moving on.
It can also help if you do the activities you consider therapeutic with someone close to you. If you enjoy watching fast-paced action movies, have a friend or two over and have a movie night with them. Build new memories with others so you can get over the memories you have of the friend you lost.
Appreciate The Friends You Have
Since you’ve already experienced what it’s like losing a friend, you already know how terrible the experience is. A very healthy thing you can and should do now is to appreciate the friends you currently have. That way, you will never have to go through the experience of losing a friend again. If you are ever to lose a friend in the future, make sure it is beneficial rather than a consequential loss.
With that in mind, contact your friends. Keep getting in touch with them. Invite them over. Ask them out. Give them gifts. Let them know you treasure the relationship you have with them, especially if they’ve been kind to you throughout your grieving process.
To help with this, one thing you can keep in mind is not everyone has friends they can rely on. It’s an unfortunate fact, but it is what it is. You should treasure the friends you have since not everybody in the world has that privilege.
Aside from this being a good way of nourishing the friendships you already have, it is also a remarkable way of healing yourself. Those who are kind to others tend to live happier lives. With this idea, the kinder you are to your friends, the happier you will become.
Keep Your Former Friend In Your Memory
Unless the reason why you lost your former friend is something very personal and horrible, it is healthy that you keep the memories you once shared. Don’t let bitterness take over you. Instead, cherish the memories you have with them. This makes you a bigger person and you’ll be happier for it moving forward.
Even though the friendship is lost, doesn’t mean the memories of the good times are. Once you’ve healed a little bit, thinking about the good times will send rushes of positive emotions and thoughts about you instead of just plain sorrow and guilt. These are the emotions you should be focusing on. Who knows, the friendship might still even be mended in the future, if that door is still open for the other party as well. Holding on to the good memories will make this rebuilding process so much easier.
If not, then that’s okay too. At least you’re happier now. This will make the process of moving on for you smoother and healthier.
Know That It’s Normal To Lose A Friend
When it’s all said and done, you will need to accept the fact that it is perfectly normal to lose a friend. Everyone has experienced it at some point in their lives, although the intensity of the falling out is what varies. Regardless, it’s just the nature of humans to have differences. Not all of us are exactly alike. There will always be discrepancies, differing opinions, different goals, etc.
This will also help you not be too hard on yourself. It’s a normal occurrence and it can happen to anyone. There’s no need to beat yourself up over it. You can grief, of course, but you must not linger. Knowing how normal the circumstance is will help you better accept the fact.
While it is normal to lose a friend, that doesn’t mean you should just be indifferent to the friendships you already have. That’s not the point here. Even though losing a friend happens to everyone, it still doesn’t change the fact of how awful an experience it is. You should still absolutely cherish your current friends. Make sure your relationship with them is intact and healthy.
Travel to Get Over Losing A Friend
As a lot of people can attest, the best thing a person can do when grieving is to see certain parts of the world they’ve never seen before. Now that the world is opening up again, it is a perfect opportunity to soul search and see the world. There are a lot of things to see and experience out there, see and experience them for yourself.
Aside from seeing new things and having new experiences, traveling is also a very good way of meeting new people. You will get to hear stories from how they live their lives from where they are and they’ll get to hear yours too. This exchange is not only healthy for you mentally and emotionally but it will also give you a new friend you can share travel stories with.
This happens a lot with frequent travelers. They’ll meet other people who also particularly enjoy traveling and they’ll even give recommendations on where to go next. You might even find travel buddies along the way. Having experienced all of these, the negative emotions that come with losing a friend will naturally pour out of you.
Work On Your Career And Goals
One very healthy and personal way of getting over losing a friend is to work on yourself career-wise. A lot of people do this and it is beautiful just how beneficial it is to you. By doing this, you’re building up your future and healing yourself emotionally at the same time.
However, a lot of people make the mistake of either doing it too much or forcing themselves to focus on their career in the wrong manner. If you do it too much, you might not have enough time for anything else anymore. You’ll start to disregard yourself, your friends, your social life, and the necessary hobbies you have. There’s a balance here you need to find and you need to tread it carefully.
On the other hand, a few people also force themselves to focus on their careers when their emotions are still filled with sadness and anger. This will cause them to fail, which leads to more sadness and anger. Once again, a balance that needs to be trodden carefully.
Only begin this process when you’ve at least had time to grieve. That way, when you’re working on your career, you’re doing it well and you’re mind and soul are at peace.
Have Proper Closure
Having closure is a privilege not everyone will have. If you can, at least try to find closure so that you will ultimately be at peace in the end. Not having closure will cause you to have lingering thoughts of “what could have been” or “I should have done this and that,” which is a burden you should rid yourself of if you want to fully get over losing a friend.
Having closure doesn’t necessarily mean you should face your former friend again, it can be simply you accepting facts you were in denial with before, or facing certain consequences you’ve been avoiding. This comes in many shapes and sizes, but if you assess the forces behind the falling out of your friendship, then knowing how to find closure should also eventually come to you.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Meeting New People
Once you’ve assessed and done everything above, one final important thing you need to keep in mind is that you should never be afraid of meeting new people. Even though you lost a friend, that doesn’t mean you’ll lose everyone you’ll build relationships with. This is a harmful mindset that will destroy your social life and you should avoid it at all costs.
Embrace the idea of meeting new people and building new friendships. Go out there and meet new people. Encourage your friends to introduce you to their new friends, should they make one. Meet people who have the same interests as you. Be as open as you can and remain friendly despite your recent predicament. Doing this is therapeutic. It will mend you of your worries and you’ll gain new relationships, to boot!
This should also go hand-in-hand with maintaining the relationships you already have. Be open to meeting new people while also properly maintaining the relationships you have with the people in your life. Your social circle will either remain intact or it will grow. Either way, you’ll be happier and more at peace.
Losing a friend will leave an awful taste in your mouth, but the good thing is even that will go away eventually. This process of healing and moving forward is not easy, but it will also help you rebuild and grow more if you do things right. The process may vary from person to person, but there are absolutely are wrong ways to go about it. If you follow the tips above, you can make sure nothing horrible will ever happen while you’re healing.
Once you’ve finally moved on, just make sure something like this never happens again. The only acceptable time a friendship should ever end is when it is harmful and toxic. Nourish the good relationships you have around you and you will never have to worry about losing a friend again.