Processing the End of Friendships

If you have ever read what I’ve written or followed me on social media you know I speak from the heart, and sometimes a little bluntly. This particular blog has been playing on my mind for a few weeks and today I got some closure on a chapter in my life, but it made me reflect on how friendships end and the grief we go through processing that ending.

If like me you have had your fair share of romantic heartbreak, you will hear many cliches from friends and family who are doing their best to support you. You’ve all heard the phrases ‘there’s plenty more fish in the sea, you’ll meet someone new when you least expect it’ and whatever new aged bollocks they are sharing these days.

Whilst I understand that the intention is to help you see beyond your heartbreak and pain. Ultimately, we know we’ll be fine in the future, it’s hard to see past the fog of despair from a relationship coming to an end.

Yet, what happens when we lose friends, friends who cut us off, friends that break down, friends we cut off or ones who ghost us for no reason. The articles around romantic breakups are a plenty but where are the ones for losing that close connection you had to a friend and suddenly it’s gone?

I lost a few friends last year, just before the lockdown and pandemic really hit and one during. It was lonely, isolating and deeply and utterly heart breaking. Friends are your confidants, you don’t just share fun adventures with, they are the ones you talk to ABOUT your romantic heartbreaks, the ones who pull you back from the brink, share your thoughts and feelings about all aspects of your life. You can complain to them about your family, your work, your parents, and discuss your dreams and aspirations.

When that disappears, and sometimes for no rhyme or reason or it breaks down and turns toxic, where do you go? Where do those conversations, your deepest desires and secrets get redirected? It’s not just the hurt from the breakdown, but they took everything about you with them.

Whilst we all know that not every friendship will last, that we will outgrow some and others come into our lives to teach us a lesson. There are those who only appear for a season, the pain when it’s over is deep despair and sadness. As with romantic breakdowns, we persevere, we move on and we grow stronger, but what we lose (or at least in my experience) is a bit of ourselves. We come out the other side a newer version, sometimes more caged, less trusting and unable to open up again in the same way.

A good friend of mine likened it to a pair of underwear, they start off sexy and fresh and overtime holes appear and the elastic goes that they need throwing away. Others can stay with you for decades! Whilst we all have friends in our lives, who we love and appreciate, losing ones we thought we were close too leaves a mark.

Last summer was a tough one, incredibly lonely after losing someone I considered a friend and I still get triggered by certain things due to the breakdown. This is sad really, and as I deal with my own pain, I remember the good times, the laughter rather than the way it ended.

As with a romantic relationship it wasn’t all bad, but as soon as red flags appear, it’s time to depart before a bitter toxic ending. But in my own desperation not to be alone I didn’t see the signs, the cracks that were beginning to form and mostly importantly me changing to a much stronger version of no longer needed to be saved.

So, take it from me, the one who gets cut, not invited to parties or is the glue that holds the group together. You will be fine, you will heal and you will replace the ones who no longer serve your emotional friendship needs, with those who will, and life will feel much fuller for it.

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