How to Deal With Losing a Best Friend

Three Methods:Losing a Best Friend Who Moves OnLosing a Best Friend to DeathMaintaining Emotional Health

Best friends are an important part of any person’s life. Friendships can define us, help us grow, and enrich our lives. But, things like death and drifting apart can cause the end of a friendship, which can result in feelings of loneliness or sadness. Understanding how to move on from this experience is important for personal wellness.

Method 1
Losing a Best Friend Who Moves On

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    Accept that people drift apart. Sometimes, regardless of how much effort either person puts into the relationship, people drift apart. As you grow older, you might find that you and your best friend end up with different interests or goals. This is very normal, and the last thing you should do is feel guilty about it.[1]
    • Be grateful and glad for the time you did get to bond with your friend. Even if your friendship has dwindled or changed, you still had that opportunity to know them and grow from it as a person.
    • As one person, you can only do so much. If you friend has moved away, or switched schools, or gotten married, there’s only so much either of you can do to keep up with one another. Don’t fault yourself for your limitations.
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    Work on meeting new friends. Regardless of the circumstances of your loss of friendship, don’t let it keep you from inviting new people into your life. Put yourself out there and make an effort to make new friends.[2]
    • Think about the qualities you really value in a friend. Look for these qualities in new people. Don’t be afraid to ask that person in class or at work to hang out, or grab a cup of coffee. Add some new acquaintances on social media and send them a message.[3]
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    Avoid comparing new friends to your old ones. When you lose someone from your life that you were especially close with, it’s easy to compare every new friend to the one you lost. Instead, recognize the good qualities in each new friend, and learn to embrace them as their own person, rather than trying to use them to fill the spot left by the friend you lost.
    • Be open minded about making new friends. Don’t focus on finding a friend who is exactly like the one you lost. Instead, open your mind to new possibilities, and to making friends in unlikely places.
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    Pick up a new hobby. One quick way to both meet new people and also to busy yourself productively is to pick up a new hobby. Join a club or sports team, or try a new form of exercise, like yoga or jogging.[4]
    • You might still run into your ex-friend, especially if they still go to the same school, or if they are involved in the same activities. But, don’t let that deter you from enjoying new things.
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    Allow yourself to mourn the relationship. Regardless of the circumstances of your loss, you need to let yourself properly get over and process it. If you are angry, let yourself feel angry. If you feel sad, let yourself feel sad. Grieve the relationship so you can get some closure.
    • Even if your friend still lives nearby or still goes to the same school, getting some closure will help you feel more willing to move forward and be able to look back in happiness rather than anger or sadness.
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    Forgive yourself for your own role in the loss of the relationship. You might feel guilty if you did not keep up with social obligations to your friend, such as making regular phone calls or making plans to get together. If you are feeling guilt about these things, then you may feel better if you can find a way to forgive yourself.
    • Try writing yourself a letter where you acknowledge your part in the loss of the friendship, explain why it happened, and then offer yourself forgiveness.[5]
    • You can also try affirming your forgiveness on a daily basis by saying out loud, "I forgive myself."[6]
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    Be civil when interacting through mutual friends. If you and your lost friend still share mutual friends, be civil and kind to your former friend when you spend time with them and those mutual friends. Likewise, don’t speak unkindly of your former friend to those mutual friends you still share.
    • Talk to your mutual friends and explain to them what happened. If you’d rather not hang out with them while your former friend is around, politely let them know this.

Method 2
Losing a Best Friend to Death

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    Give yourself time and space to grieve. Everyone grieves at a different pace, so don’t force yourself to get over the loss of a friend too quickly. Let yourself have the time you need to go through the process of grief. Don’t ignore the things you need to feel to let yourself heal.[7]
    • Sometimes, you might need to be on your own. Give yourself that luxury, but don’t isolate yourself too much. Make sure you still reach out to others and find strength and support in friends and family.
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    Write a letter. When someone you love dies, it’s natural to feel as if there was a lot you wanted to say that you didn’t get a chance to say. Write these things down. The act of writing out your thoughts and feelings for your friend can be a healing experience. Tell your lost friend exactly what you want them to know.[8]
    • You can keep this letter, or you can leave it at their gravesite. Or, you can simply throw it away. Whatever is going to offer you the most closure is what you should do.
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    Find a support group. When you lose someone close to you, you might feel very alone, or like you lost the person you usually turned to when you felt sad or depressed. Join a local support group to find people you can share your feelings with who are going through similar experiences. [9]
    • A support group offers a group of people who are going through or have been through similar things. These people will be able to empathize and understand what you’re going through, as well as offer support and advice. Support groups are safe spaces, so what you say there will stay there.
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    Remember the positive things. In the wake of a tragedy, you might find yourself focusing only on the loss itself. Try and refocus your energy onto the positive memories you have of your friend. Think about the good times you had, and the way they positively impacted your life.
    • Try making something tangible to display these memories. Put together a photo collage, or write about these experiences in a journal. Revisit it when you need a reminder, or put it in a visible place.[10]

Method 3
Maintaining Emotional Health

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    Keep a support system. Don’t distance yourself from your other friends and family when you lose a friend from your life. Rather than turning help or support down, accept it, and let other people help you if they offer.[11]
    • If you isolate yourself after a loss, the loss will only feel worse, and have a larger impact on you. Instead, surround yourself with people and things you love.
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    Maintain good physical health. Mental health can have an impact on physical health. If you let yourself move into an unhealthy place emotionally, it can circle around and have an effect on your physical well-being. Fortunately, taking care of yourself physically has positive effects on your mental health. Exercising and eating well can be positive steps to take.[12]
    • Try to get outside for a little while each day. Go for a walk, ride a bike, or take a jog. You could even try opening the windows in your house to get a bit of fresh air.
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    Allow yourself to feel things. Pushing negative feelings away and not allowing yourself to feel them won’t really solve the problem. If you need to cry, you should let yourself cry. Or, if you feel angry, it’s okay to tell someone you’re angry. Also, if you’re feeling like you’re getting over things and feeling better, you don’t need to feel guilty for that, either.[13]
    • If you push feelings away and refuse to feel them, you might find that you’re stuck in the grieving process even longer than you needed to be. Feel what you need to feel.
    • Try writing in a journal to express your feelings. This will help you collect your thoughts in one place and be able to look back on them if you need to.
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    Seek counseling. Loss, in whatever form it takes, can take a toll on you emotionally. Counseling and therapy are great, constructive options if you find yourself struggling through your feelings.
    • If you are feeling especially depressed, or if you notice any changes in your normal lifestyle, like a lack of appetite or loss of interest in things you like to do, seek help. These could be signs of mental health issues that need to be addressed.[14]


  • Don’t blame yourself for the loss of a friendship. Remember that people change and grow, and that isn’t always a bad thing.


  • If you are feeling suicidal after the death of a friend, seek help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Article Info

Categories: Changing and Losing Friends