two women sitting on wooden dock over body of water

I’m sure we’ve all lost a friend we thought we were close to; I know I have. We’ve had people we thought would be in our lives forever and they drifted away, sometimes slowly, other times suddenly and most times with no warning.

Maybe it was due to a serious fight or actually just something petty. Maybe it’s all because of another party intruding or this person simply got bored and tired of your friendship. Whatever the reason may be, the fact remains that they all lead to one thing if not handled properly and if the friendship is just not meant to be: losing that friend.

To be honest, you and I both know it’s very possible to lose a friend (although we never want it to happen and are in denial as we see the signs) but no one really admits how hard it is, how hard it is to deal with their absence and how to fill the space they leave in your life. Well, I’m here to do just that. It may take time but stick with me on this journey to recovery and we’ll be fine.

Step 1: Talk to this ‘friend’

two men talking

Before you let go of this friend, talk to them. If you feel the relationship is worth fighting for, fight for it. If it’s a misunderstanding that can be resolved, resolve it. If it was a really bad fight and you need the person’s forgiveness and they, your apology, apologize. If you notice your friend growing suddenly distant, talk to them about it. Tell them you feel there’s something wrong and you would like both of you to work it out. Express yourself honestly.

It is important to note that even if this doesn’t work the way you imagined it would, you will get a kind of closure that helps with moving on, trust me.

Step 2: Respect the fact that they don’t want to be in your life and let go

For you to need step 2 obviously step 1 didn’t help you get your friend back and that’s fine. You’ll be fine.

Just like you shouldn’t force love, you can’t force friendship. It has to be a matter of choice or it’s only a matter of time before they leave you again. Respect their decision to pull away and personally decide to stay away. Going after them and refusing to let go, only makes you seem desperate and pesky. You’re better than that. Never give anyone a reason to call you a nuisance.

Step 3: Accept the loss of this friend and feel free to mourn the end of the friendship

Yes, mourn the loss of the friendship however you see fit. The person was really important to you, you’re allowed to. Take your time. It’s perfectly reasonable to miss them. Do not apologize for feeling the way that you do but do not mourn forever.

Consciously tell yourself and remind yourself from time to time that if this person wanted to be in your life or wanted you in theirs, they’ll make an effort to. They’ll fight to makes things right just like you did. If they aren’t willing to, you really don’t need them in your life. However hard that is to accept and believe me it really is, it’s a decision you have to reach and be convinced about. 

If you need someone to talk to about the issue, find someone you can trust, share the burden with them and let them comfort you. They say that a problem shared is a problem half solved. Know that there will be people that will not understand you and why this is affecting you the way that it is, but do not let that bother you.

Step 4: Never forget you are loved and you have people that will never leave you. Hold on to them and appreciate them

Even though we lose some people, there are constants in our lives and there is comfort in this certainty, seeing as we live in a world filled with so much uncertainty. Do not ignore these people just because you lost one person you didn’t want to lose. Spend time with these people who know that you matter and value you. Make sure you let them know that you appreciate them and remember to be a good friend to them just as they have been a good friend to you.

In life most times, we will have people who will always be there and while we will gain more friends, we’re bound to lose some along the way. It’s a cycle that’s unavoidable. However, I do not want the loss of friends to determine the course of our lives. It should not make us too scared to form new relationships or too detached to build and strengthen current ones. Let’s reminisce our favourite memories from our time with them, remember lessons we learnt from them, appreciate the time they spent in our lives and wish them farewell as we both take different paths in life.

I don’t know if this has happened to you before and if you can relate, but if it hasn’t, it’s bound to (sadly), but I hope that then when it all goes down, you find this piece helpful. Remember that you are loved and you are appreciated, you might just not be aware of it. Do not let anyone make you feel less than you are. Till we meet again.

Omoyemen Aisuodionoe-Shadrach

Preclinical Press.