Updated: Oct 2
The word “friend” doesn’t mean what it used to. Today we consider the people who follow us on the various social media platforms to be our friends.
The Bible says: “…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24b) The dictionary defines friend as “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another…”
It’s no wonder that when a friendship breaks up, we suffer those too familiar stages of grief and rightfully so if you consider what it means to have a friend.
A friendship is a relationship, one that bares many of the characteristics of a marriage. A bond of trust and mutual affection has formed and when that friendship ends, a lot of times, that bond is broken. It hurts. We are shocked at the circumstances that transpired to cause the break. We are in denial that the person we loved, and trust has decided to stop speaking, or calling, as if we never knew each other. Gossip and slander from those we shared so many memorable moments, only serve to solidify the pain as a portion of our heart begins to callous.
Then we turn to anger at ourselves for sharing all those intimate details about who we are and how we feel and then we’re angry with them because they are no longer our friend.
But later there’s the period of bargaining where we wrestle with the series of events that led to the termination of our relationship. We ask ourselves, “should I have said “or “shouldn’t I have said.” We tell and retell our version of what happened in hopes that validation from others will some how ease the pain. Ultimately, when we are alone with our thoughts and feelings and have grown tired of mindlessly scrolling through social media, we sense a wave of sadness.
Finally, we come to accept the fact that although we may get to a point where we can exchange pleasantries, we will never be the close “friends” we once were. But that’s not how the story ends…. we cycle through those waves of thoughts, stages, and emotions for months and sometimes years.
I bring this to our attention because the loss of a friendship should be mourned. If you had a significant friendship with someone whom you trusted with your deepest dreams and darkest thoughts, someone who was a shoulder to cry on, that shared words of encouragements, was beside you through death, divorce, financial ruin and more - those relationships deserve to be mourned, A death has occurred.
I’ve said it before and it’s worth saying again, “the only way to get over it – is to go through it.” Don’t be afraid of your emotions and remember, you are not your thoughts. Go ahead and give yourself over to the experience. There is no shame in contacting a therapist or grief coach to help you navigate this process should it become overwhelming. Remember, this is a significant loss. Be sure to be kind and compassionate with yourself. Avoid shaking off feelings and thoughts with self-talk like, “ it doesn’t matter.” It does. Friendships are important but just like we mentioned before, sometimes people must be purged from our lives. Sometimes bad things happen to good people and sometimes life just happens to us all. However, if you trust the process, you’ll come to realize that if you show yourself as friendly, there will always be a “ram in the bush” and you’ll always have a friend.