Written by: Seada
Losing your best friend can feel like one of the most painful experiences. A best friend is someone we entrust with our most intimate thoughts, share little white lies, jokes, and memories. Losing a best friend can feel earth-shattering and scary.
Friendship breakups are as, if not more, complicated than intimate relationship breakups. The loss of a friendship cannot be forgotten by a narrative that speaks to “move on; they’re just a friend.” Suppressing emotions and thoughts associated with a best friend only perpetuates a cycle of pain, resentment, anger, and sadness. If we choose to present as emotionally stable during the process of grief, we may fool our thoughts, but not our hearts.
Emotional attachment is the foundation of safety and security. Safety speaks to availability “I am going through a tough time at work, I need to speak to you about it.” Security responds with “I got you. Tell me what’s happening.”
Now imagine someone breaking through the safety and security of the relationship. It feels awful. The anxiety that erupts because of the intrusion or violation of trust signals a threat and alarm in our mind. It screams, “help! I am losing a piece of myself, how do I keep my emotions together?” The alarm state remains activated until we are comforted with a person who we feel safe with to express our vulnerability.
People often assume we should have adult friendships figured out by now. No matter how many relationship manuals we read to ‘prepare’ our hearts for heartache, we need to recognize that pain does not discriminate from one relationship to another. It hurts. Aches. Pain needs time to be heard, understood, and accepted.
Here’s what we can do to process the loss:
- Identify the narrative you keep telling yourself about this relationship.
- Write on a piece of paper how the friendship has added to your life.
- Remind yourself of the reason why the friendship needed to end.
- What would you or could you have done differently to maintain the friendship.
- Remind yourself that it’s okay to miss someone who no longer shares a piece of your life.
- Cry. Cry. Cry. Vent. Vent. Vent.
At some time or another, our friendships will grow apart, or they might grow closer. Perhaps the ones that broke up needed to break up for you to pursue your dreams and goals. Maybe the end of one friendship is the beginning of a new friendship with yourself. It’s okay to feel afraid, uncertain, confused, angry, sad, or depressed while accepting the loss.