How to Deal With a Friend That You Lost

Three Parts:Managing InteractionsCoping EmotionallyMoving Forward

Everyone loses friends. Whether it's due to a disagreement or simply growing apart, it's a normal part of life. It can be awkward to deal with a former friend, especially if you are part of the same social circle. Work on dealing with your former friend in a respectful manner. Try to process your emotions as well. Friendships are an important part of life and it's appropriate to grieve a lost friend. Then, move forward by looking for new friends. Think about why the friendship ended and how to make different choices in the future.

Part 1
Managing Interactions

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    Consider how to react if your friend reaches out to you. You should have a script ready in your mind in the event your friend tries to reach out. Consider whether you would potentially reignite the friendship or politely let your friend know you want to move on.[1]
    • Visualize the situation. Jot down what you may say to your friend. For example, "I appreciate you apologizing, but I don't think our friendship is sustainable."
    • Whether or not you want to reignite things depends on why the friendship ended. If someone was generally difficult to be around, it's okay to end the friendship completely. If you simply grew apart, or had a misunderstanding or disagreement, it may be beneficial to work on rebuilding the friendship.
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    Think about talking it out. If the friendship ended in a confusing fashion, the two of you may want to get together and talk. It's often better to gain closure than to simply disappear from a relationship.[2]
    • Oftentimes, you're simply not compatible with a person as a friend. You also may have simply grown apart, or there may have been some kind of disagreement fueling the break.
    • Whatever the reason, decide whether it's worth it to talk it out. You could try sending your friend a polite text or email explaining why you no longer wish to be friends. This may be better than leaving the issues unresolved or un-discussed.
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    Strive to stay neutral in social situations. You do not want to force mutual friends into a position where they have to make choices or take sides. Make sure to stay neutral socially to avoid creating tension in your friend circle.[3]
    • Do not bad mouth or complain about your former friend to mutual friends. This is likely to make you look bad.
    • If you feel the need to vent, choose someone who does not know your friend.
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    Stay off social media. Social media can fuel feelings of anger and resentment. You may become jealous or angry if you see your friend posting happy pictures of him or herself. Try to log off your social media accounts for a bit. You can also block yourself from seeing your former friend's updates.[4]
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    Avoid taking it personally. The fact is, ending friendships is natural. Many people, especially as they grow and change, cut out unnecessary friendships from their life. Often, you and a friend simply grew apart or realized you were not compatible. In this case, accept the loss likely had little to do with you. This may help you feel less hostile in social situations.[5][6]

Part 2
Coping Emotionally

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    Find a way to get in touch with your feelings. It's important for you to feel what you're feeling after losing a friend. If you're having trouble getting in touch with your feelings, find a way to get them out.[7]
    • Go through old pictures of you and your friend. Read old text messages or emails. Allow yourself to experience sadness that the friend is no longer in your life.
    • If there was a place that was special for you and your friend, visit it. For example, have a cup of coffee at the coffee shop where you always hung out.
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    Write a goodbye letter. This is not a letter you intend to send. It is merely a symbolic way to say goodbye and process your feelings.[8]
    • Address the letter to your friend. Express gratitude for the time you had, share memories, and express sadness over the relationship ending.
    • This can be cathartic. It can make you feel like you're formally saying goodbye and letting go of a lost relationship.
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    Value the time you had. Just because a friendship is over does not mean it was not worthwhile. In the weeks after a losing a friend, reflect on the relationship.[9]
    • Every relationship makes you grow, change, and learn. Value everything you learned from your friend during the time you had.
    • Someday, you may be able to remember your friend with fondness. Even if it hurts too much now, you will one day be able to laugh and smile at old memories.
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    Practice basic self care. If you're reeling from the loss of a friendship, you may neglect basic things like eating, sleeping, and personal hygiene. Even if you're feeling sad, remember to get enough sleep, exercise, and to eat right.[10]

Part 3
Moving Forward

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    Accept it will take time. It's normal to take awhile to move on. Friendships are an important part of life. Losing a friend can hurt as much as losing a romantic partner. Do not feel bad if you do not bounce back as quickly as you want. Allow yourself adequate time to grieve.[11]
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    Find new ways to fill the space. A lost friend can leave a void in your life. You no longer have someone to talk to and hang out with on a regular basis. You should work on finding new ways to spend your time.[12]
    • You can try taking up a hobby, joining a club, doing volunteer work, or starting a part time job.
    • Try nurturing and strengthening your relationships with other friends as well.
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    Think about what you should look for in new friends. You can try to learn something from this friend breakup. Was there a reason you did not want to be friends with this person? If so, try to go forward with better qualifications for friendship.[13]
    • Think about what made you and this person clash. Maybe your friend valued material things, while you valued experience. Maybe your friend was difficult to be around and tended to drain you emotionally.
    • In the future, think about the qualifications that caused this friendship to end. Work on reaching out to people that better share your values.
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    Reach out to new people. When you're ready, you can work on making some new friends. Try to reach out to new people. Be the one to stick your neck out and make the first move.[14]
    • Try asking a coworker to go shopping or get coffee. Ask a classmate to hang out after school.
    • It can be nerve-racking reaching out to others, but making new friends is an important means of moving forward.


  • Most of the time it's obvious if they are slipping away from you. You can tell by a friend either ignoring you, not inviting you to social events, or just all around being distant. Friends grow apart and this is usually not personal.


  • Don't try to encourage mutual friends to take sides. This is likely to backfire.

Article Info

Categories: Changing and Losing Friends