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Losing a Best Friend - How To Cope

Friendship Breakup By: Katie Lister

January 28, 2024

What do I do after losing a best friend? How can I cope after falling out with my best friend? How do I rebuild my life? Losing a friend is not easy to deal with and if you are looking for an answer to these questions, you are in the right place.

Hi, I am Katie Lister, a practicing Registered Nurse and the founder of Growth Gals. This is a supportive network where women come together to talk about issues specific to women, like losing a best friend. 

When friends fall out, it’s the end of a friendship that probably spanned years. It comes with pain and heartbreak, either for both or one, depending on the circumstances. This article will tell you everything you need to know about losing a best friend and how to cope after.

Table of Contents

Katie Lister

Katie Lister

Written by Katie Lister, RN, BScN. An experienced Registered Nurse, Group Facilitator, Life Coach, and Community Leader. Read Katie's Full Author Bio

Losing a Best Friend - Why Friends Fall Apart

Friendships come and go in our lives, what experts call the friendship curve. This curve is different for everyone, but a study shows that we replace half our friends every seven years. When you were younger, you probably promised your best friend to be best friends forever (BFF). However, life happened, and you fell apart for different reasons, such as:

Falling out

Falling out is when you and your close friend disagree, destroying the relationship. Falling out happens because of reasons like:

  • Arguments
  • Betrayal
  • Misunderstandings
  • Substance abuse

Life Changes

Some friendships are borne from circumstances. You might be working in the same company, your children are in the same class, or you go to the same gym. These types of friendships change when your circumstances change. When one of you changes jobs, your children graduate, or you change gyms, the shared ground shifts, and the friendship wanes off.


One friend in the relationship pulls away without explanation (ghosting). In such a scenario, one friend wants to stay friends, but the other is not interested. They may ghost you because they want to avoid a painful confrontation; they don’t know how to say it or feel the friendship is not worth the engagement. Ghosting leaves the affected friend angry, hurt, and confused.

Pulling away with an explanation

One friend ends the friendship but with an explanation, even if it’s a text message. The one leaving the relationship may feel the friendship is no longer beneficial, feel betrayed by something the other one did or said, or are both on different life trajectories. This leaves the one who is still invested in the relationship with a broken heart.

Losing a Best Friend - The Psychological Effect

Losing a best friend hurts more than a romantic breakup. When a romantic relationship ends, the couple has a discussion that heralds the end of the relationship. However, friendship breakups just happen, making it extremely confusing. Most of the time, you end up obsessing over the loss and trying to find ways of how to stop obsessing over a lost friendship. This is because pain of losing a close friendship has psychological effects such as:


When we go through the loss of a friendship, we feel shame. We are ashamed that we could not make the friendship work and sorry we were not better friends.


Most people dealing with losing friends or the loss of a best friend feel like they are struggling alone. They fail to seek advice and support from old friends and keep it a secret, which isolates them more. When you lose your best friend, your social life changes and suddenly you don’t know where to go. You are afraid of going to places you went with your former best friend because you don’t want to bump into them or your mutual friends. Avoiding these social circles makes you feel lonelier and more isolated.


Losing a best friend is not easy to deal with. You may feel worthless, hopeless, and a profound sadness that won’t disappear. If these feelings persist, you may be suffering from depression. You need to see a mental health professional who will correctly diagnose you. You might also experience:

  • Low energy levels
  • Guilt
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of appetite
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Lack of motivation and disinterest in things you love

Low self-esteem

When you lose your best friend, your self-esteem reduces. You start second-guessing your self-worth and blaming yourself, especially if you were ghosted. 

Why Losing a Best Friend is So Painful

A best friend breakup is emotionally painful for several reasons. The end of the friendship is an end to emotional support, sharing joys and sorrows, inside jokes, and numerous beautiful memories. A friendship is founded on understanding, and trust.

When you lose your best friend, the bond feels irreplaceable. One of the hardest things about losing the relationship is the acceptance that nothing will ever be the same. Experts classify a best friend breakup as an ambiguous loss.

An ambiguous loss is when you lose someone or something important. This grief is an unresolved loss that results from:

  • A lost friendship
  • Someone suddenly physically leaving your life, such as relocating to another country
  • Someone psychologically going through your life, for instance, a substance addict or a mental illness patient

Ambiguous loss has no clarity on how or why the friendship ended. Whatever the cause of the loss, it’s normal to grieve over it. Though we are pressured by society to forget and move on, the grieving process is different for everyone.

Losing a Best Friend - How to Cope

When you lose your best friend, it’s easy to fall into depression. However, there are a few things you can do to help you cope with the loss.

Embrace and validate your pain.

If you have been friends for a while, you will be deeply hurt. Embrace and validate your grief. It’s natural for you to feel the pain of losing a best friend and allow yourself to go through the natural stages of grief until you heal.

Seek support

Seek support from your support system, such as an old friend, family members, grief support group, or therapist. Talking to someone gives you comfort and also provides perspective into the situation. Sharing your feelings and experiences with others with similar experiences in a support group offers you a sense of belonging and validation.

Practice Self-care

Practice self-care by doing things that encourage healing and improve your general well-being. Participate in activities that make you happy, such as creative activities like painting or drawing, listening to music, etc. Prioritize your physical health by eating and sleeping well and extending self-compassion.

Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindful meditation can help to bring your troubled mind some peace. Some examples of evidence-based meditation include yoga and guided imagery meditation, which involves lying or sitting quietly and imagining yourself in a serene setting. You can easily do this at home with the help of a qualified imagery practitioner.


Exercise relieves stress by making the body produce dopamine (the feel-good hormone). Go for a long walk out in nature or hike on a hiking trail alone or with new friends.

Unfollow them on social media.

Losing a best friend and having to see them on social media will hurt you more. Don’t feel guilty; unfollow them if you need to. Your wellness comes first; you don’t need to remind yourself of the loss every time you log into your socials.

Losing a Best Friend - Rebuilding Your Social Life

When you lose a good friend, you have to move on eventually. You can rebuild your life, overcome the pain, and build new friendships by:


The first thing you should do is forgive your ex-friend. Write a letter detailing your hurt and disappointment. Speak out loud and say that you forgive them, Burn the letter, and mentally forgive them for everything. With no grudges in your heart, now you can move on in a healthy way.

Connecting with other people.       

Do something outside your comfort zone, like attending a cooking or pottery class. Connecting with other people allows you to meet potential new friends. You might meet someone who might become your new best friend from these connections.

Reconnecting with old friends.

Reconnecting with old friends might spark a beautiful friendship. Send them a text message to check on them and take it from there.

Join a gym

Instead of taking long solo walks, join a gym and make new like-minded friends. If you were a member of the same gym as your former friend, change the gym membership to a different one. With time, you will build a new social circle that you don’t have to share with your ex-friend.

Growth Gals Can Help You Rebuild!

This guide is for all women striving to become better versions of themselves! Are you looking for a means to self-discovery? Growth Gals is a compassionate community of like-minded women who can assist you in overcoming losing a best friend.

Follow @growthgals_ on Instagram to stay updated on our journals, coaching, and support groups. Be sure to check out our newsletter for the latest tips and tricks on personal growth. Join us now and start your journey towards self-improvement and healing from losing a best friend!

Final Thoughts

Studies show that losing a best friend is as painful as losing a romantic partner or worse. Good news is that, it is possible to overcome the loss, but the first step is forgiveness. From there, you can proceed to work on your pain and loss by embracing and validating your emotions. Seek therapy if you need to, or try mindful meditation to quiet your troubled mind.

Joining an all-women support network like Growth Gals can go a long way in making rebuilding after losing a friendship easier. 

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