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How to Stop Obsessing Over a Lost Friendship

Friendship Breakup By: Katie Lister

January 27, 2024

Did you recently lose a friendship? Are you obsessing over this loss? Do you want to know how to stop obsessing over a lost friendship? When a friendship ends abruptly, we feel a deep sense of loss. If you are wondering how to stop obsessing over a friendship breakup, this article is for you.

Hi, I am Katie Lister, a practicing Registered Nurse and the founder of Growth Gals. As humans, we have a deep need for social connection and feel hurt when a friendship ends. In this article, I will provide you with all the information you need about how to stop obsessing over a lost friendship.

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

Why do people obsess over a Lost Friendship?

Friendships end for varying reasons and hurt more than a romantic relationship breakup. It could be an explosive argument, or sometimes, one friend decides the friendship is not beneficial to them.

If your best friend ends a relationship out of the blue, it’s understandable and normal for you to grieve. However, constantly thinking about the lost friendship might become an unhealthy obsession. People obsess over the end of a friendship for many reasons.

They have insecure attachment styles

There are four attachment styles:

  • Disorganized attachment: This style stems from fear resulting from childhood trauma. They feel they do not deserve closeness or love from others.
  • Avoidant attachment: Such people avoid intimacy and feel stifled by closeness.
  • Anxious attachment: obsessive and fixated on issues. They are dependent on others for their self-worth and identity, demanding and needy.
  • Secure attachment: People with this style feel safe and stable in their relationships.

Your attachment style and the underlying cause could be the reason you obsess over a lost friendship. Our ability to attach forms in early childhood development. The quality of the connection to our caregivers forms how we connect to others in the future.

The first three styles are insecure attachments. Individuals with anxious attachment styles are the most likely to obsess over a friend breakup as they depend on the relationship for their self-esteem and emotional needs.

They have mental disorders

When you become fixated on a lost friendship, you could have a mental disorder like:

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

When a person with OCD fixates on someone, it can border on obsession. Their obsessive thoughts push them to wonder why the friendship ended. This fixation is accompanied by overthinking and attempts to contact and question the ex-friend, either by phone, face-to-face, email, or sending third parties.

This questioning seems strange to the other person and becomes annoying and even scary. This fixation becomes like stalking, and the targeted person might respond with hostility or get a restraining order.

Borderline Personality Disorder

When a person with BPD has a favorite person, they idolize them. They can do no wrong and have a constant fear of abandonment. When this favorite person ends the friendship, it results in a feeling of instability, fear, and anger. The person with BPD may have:

  • Extreme jealousy
  • Co-dependency
  • May self-harm

Signs That You Are Obsessing over a Lost Friendship

When you break up with a close friend, it’s normal to think back on the relationship and wonder what happened. When your reflection affects how you treat people, view yourself, or spend your time, it becomes rumination.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), rumination refers to obsessive thinking involving repetitive thoughts on an event, which interferes with your mental activity. Here are signs that you are obsessing over losing a friend.

You have no control over your thoughts

Seeing things that remind you of your lost friend unlocks all the memories, even long after the loss of a friendship. If you are ruminating, the thoughts flood your mind without needing a trigger, and you feel like you have no control over them.

Thoughts of the friend take over

You think about your failed friendship day and night. If your friendship ended in a fight, you think about it on a loop, trying to make sense of what happened. You wonder if you could have been a better friend or if there was anything you could have done differently.

Social media stalking

You keep checking their social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram for their latest life updates. You put up notification bells to notify you when they post anything.

You hope you bump into them

As friends, you had numerous activities that you did together. While you might not stop doing them, you might start going to specific places, such as a favorite ice cream shop, hoping to bump into the friend.

You talk about them all the time

When you think about someone all day, you will inevitably and unconsciously talk about them a lot. Your family and friends can tell you if you are obsessing over the friend.


When you start comparing a new friend with your former friend, you are obsessing over the lost friendship. No two friendships are alike, but your obsession stifles you from having new experiences with other people.

Learn how to recognize when a friendship is over and how to stop being friends with someone here. 

The Dangers of Obsessing over a Lost Friendship

Elevated Stress Levels

Overly fixating on a lost friendship, even a best friend breakup, is dangerous to your physical well-being. Obsessing involves consistent concentration on negative thoughts, elevating your stress levels. These thoughts make your problems look bigger, increasing your stress response.

Our bodies produce the hormone cortisol as a physical response to stress. Negative physical effects are high blood pressure, blood sugar imbalance, higher abdominal fat, lowered immunity, etc.

Affects Mental Health

Consistently thinking about a friendship hurts your mental health. Obsession produces an unhappy mood that may eventually lead to:

  • Clinical depression: Involves a loss of pleasure in life or activities over long periods and can result from stressful events.
  • Anxiety disorder occurs when anxiety impairs your functioning ability. You overreact when emotionally triggered, and you can’t control your emotional responses.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Experts do not fully understand the causes of OCD. The theories include hereditary and genetic factors and chemical brain imbalances. Several things may lead to the development of OCD, but they may be made worse by hormonal changes, personality traits, and stressful life events like a friendship loss.
stop Obsessing Over a Lost Friendship

How to Stop Obsessing over a Lost Friendship

It’s devastating to realize you are obsessing over a lost and close friendship. However, acceptance and doing the following can help you in letting go:

Practice mindfulness 

Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help you find peace and stop overthinking. In mindfulness, you focus on the awareness of the present moment and it involves guided imagery, breathing techniques, and other practices that relax both mind and body.

Practice self-care

Focus on your emotional and physical needs to help you move forward. Eat healthy food, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and pursue your hobbies. Paying attention to yourself will boost your confidence and is a significant part of the healing process.

Read a self-help book or identify a podcast with positive vibes. Use the podcast for encouragement from others who have been through a similar situation and have overcome it.

Make new memories and form new habits.

You had numerous memories with your friend. Try forming a new friendship or spending time with old friends. Making new memories with new friends makes it easier to push the older memories back. If you had old habits with your former friend, like visiting a particular coffee shop twice a week, form new ones that will not remind you of the past.

Seek help

If you have a hard time adjusting to the end of the friendship, talk to someone you trust. Share your feelings and thoughts with a good friend or a family member for support. If you have no one you trust in your social circle, seek professional help. An experienced therapist will guide you while you navigate the difficult transitions. If it’s your first time seeking professional help, the therapist will walk with you until you find closure.

Take up journaling

Journaling is a powerful type of therapy. Write your feelings and thoughts down, whether positive or negative. These notes are helpful later and help you see the pattern in your thoughts and actions. Therapists also recommend journaling, and it might be helpful in your sessions when the therapist asks how you felt about a certain situation.

Have some self-compassion

Extend yourself grace and compassion. Don’t be too hard on yourself for the loss of the friendship. It was not your fault the friendship ended, and if it was, forgive yourself and allow yourself to heal.

Growth Gals Can Help You Get Over a Lost Friendship!

This guide is for all women striving to become a better version of themselves! If you are on a path of self-discovery, Growth Gals is an encouraging community of women who can help you deal with obsessing over lost friendships.

Be sure to check out our newsletter for the latest tips and tricks on personal growth and to stay updated on support groups and coaching. Join us now and start your journey towards self-improvement and putting a stop to unhealthy obsessions with former friends.

The Bottom Line

Losing friends leaves you in profound sadness, worse than a breakup with a romantic partner. It’s normal to try and figure out why the relationship ended. However, it becomes a problem when you have an unhealthy obsession with the lost friendship.

Practicing self-care, mindfulness meditation, and journaling will help you transition, and so will talking to a loved one or a therapist. You can also show yourself some self-love and compassion by joining a supportive network of fellow women here at Growth Gals.

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