Managing Your Emotions After The Abrupt End Of A Friendship
Published on 10th January, 2023
Friendship breakups are never easy, especially when it happens out of the blue. Like romantic relationships, friends are influential in our lives. Friends are there to listen to us, encourage us, and help us. Friendships help to boost our confidence and bring us positivity and happiness, providing us with a sense of belonging. Not to mention, many friendships may outlast romantic relationships.
Although friendships come and go throughout every person’s life, some can be harder to move on from than others. Much like moving on from a relationship, the unexpected end of a friendship can be distressing and agonising, and you might feel lost and alone. People of all ages, from children to adolescents to adults, may feel confused, hurt, angry and even guilty when dealing with the loss of a friend. It is common for counselling services in Singapore to meet clients who face difficulties in coping after losing a friend. Understanding why some friendships end suddenly and the possible ways to cope may help you deal with your sudden loss.
Why do friendships end abruptly?
There are as many reasons for a friendship to end as for it to begin. It is common for people to come together and drift apart naturally over time. Some of the common reasons why a friendship might end abruptly are:
- conflicts or arguments
- different expectations from each party
- external factors, including moving away or changing schools or jobs
- outgrowing each other
Of course, there could be many other unforeseen circumstances and reasons for friendships to end unexpectedly. No matter the reason, it is still challenging to adapt to a new life without the familiar presence of an old companion. You might end up questioning yourself and subsequently have an altered outlook on friendship in the future.
Coping with the end of a close friendship
Closure provides people with the clarity to move on. When friendships end abruptly, it most likely means you did not receive closure. So how do you overcome the immense hurt and loneliness of losing a close friend? Here are three ways to help you cope with losing a friend:
1. Acknowledge that the end of a friendship is difficult
Although closure might be an essential step in working through the loss of a friendship, it does not always happen. It is crucial to be able to grieve your friendship and allow yourself to feel emotional over your loss. Suppressing your sadness might lead to more significant experiences of negative emotions in the future (Sbordone, 2012). It is also important to recognise the personal growth and progress that you have made since the end of your friendship and acknowledge that feeling sad over the loss of your friendship on certain days does not undermine how far you have come.
2. Seek a mental health professional
Coping with the pain that follows the loss of a friendship can be difficult. Seeking adult counselling in Singapore could be beneficial in uncovering the emotions and beliefs that come with an end of a friendship. Therapy could also help break maladaptive coping patterns you might have adopted after the severed friendship.
3. Practice self-care
Most importantly, prioritise yourself and take care of your well-being. We might easily blame ourselves when a friendship does not work out. However, treating yourself with kindness and compassion would be best as you navigate this significant change in life. Additionally, losing a friend might make you realise some of the qualities you want in a new friendship, or it might have taught you about what you do not want, which ultimately serves your growth (Sosnoski, 2021). It is also important to look back and reflect on your own actions throughout the friendship. This allows you to grow from past mistakes, and in turn form healthier friendships in the future.
Although losing a friend can hurt, it is essential to remember that we all grieve differently. How we respond to loss is influenced by our histories, personalities, and degree of investment in our friendships (Duffey, 2015). It is essential to practice self-compassion and patience and remember that we all could learn from our past partnerships.
Sbordone, N. (2012). Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Brighton Publishing LLC
Sosnoski, K. (2021) 5 Steps to Give Yourself Permission to Let Go of a Friendship https://psychcentral.com/health/ways-to-let-go-of-a-friendship
Duffey, T. (2015) When You Lose a Friend https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/works-in-progress/201504/when-you-lose-friend