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How to Heal from the Loss of a Friendship: 7 Steps

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

Our friendships are a valuable and essential part of our lives, providing us

with companionship, support, and laughter. This makes the loss of one of our female friends

just as painful as losing a romantic partner or a family member, yet the loss of a

friendship can often go unrecognized and unacknowledged.

Whether it's due to a falling out, a change in circumstances, or simply growing apart, the loss of a member of our sisterhood can be a difficult experience to navigate. However, with time and effort, it is possible to heal from the loss of a friendship and move forward with renewed strength and resilience.

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

The first step in healing from the loss of a female friendship is to acknowledge and

accept your feelings. It's common to feel a range of emotions, including sadness, anger,

and loneliness, and it's important to give yourself permission to feel these emotions

without judgment or self-criticism. There are no wrong feelings. Talk to someone you

trust, like a therapist or a close friend or family member, about your feelings and allow

yourself to express them openly and honestly.

Research finds that delays your healing process. So ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I sad or angry about this breakup?

  • If I feel silly/ "soft"/ embarrassed by how hurt I am, where is that coming from? What messages have I downloaded about friendship endings and how they should be managed?

  • Do I tell people I'm doing fine even when I'm not? If so, why?

2. Grieve the Loss

Losing a friend can feel like a death in the family, and it's important to allow yourself to

grieve the loss. This might mean taking time to reflect on the friendship and the

memories you shared, or even creating a ritual or ceremony to honor the friendship and

say goodbye. Give yourself time to mourn the loss, but also remember that healing is a

process, and it's okay to take small steps forward, even when you're still feeling the


Grief is not linear, so don't beat yourself up for "not being over it" yet. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What impulses am I feeling in trying to make this feeling go away? Are those impulses healthy or unhealthy?

  • Can other people in my life tell that I'm grieving? Do I feel safe letting them know?

  • What is the most challenging part of my current grief? Which aspects of that are in my control and which are outside of my control?

3. Practice Self-Compassion

It's easy to blame yourself when a friendship ends, but it's important to practice self-

compassion and remind yourself that friendships end for many reasons, most of which

are not entirely within your control.

Start by catching yourself every time that you begin to think that this friendship ending is a poor reflection of you. Ask:

  • What meaning have I assigned to this breakup?

  • Does this ending make me feel like a failure?

  • What are the benefits/ silver linings of this situation?

  • If someone I cared about was beating herself up in the same way, what advice would I give to her?

4. Focus on Self-Care (yes, seriously)

When we're going through a difficult time, it's easy to neglect our own needs and put our

energy into other things. However, taking care of ourselves is essential to the healing

process. Make sure you're getting enough sleep, eating well, and engaging in activities

that bring you joy and relaxation.

This might include exercise, meditation, or simply spending time with loved ones who make you feel good. If you're finding your struggle to cope with the loss of the friendship is more difficult than imagined, it may be helpful to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor who can provide guidance and support as you navigate your emotions and move forward.

5. Forgive and Let Go

If the loss of the friendship was due to a falling out or conflict, it can be helpful to

practice forgiveness and let go of any lingering resentment or anger. This doesn't mean

you have to forget what happened or reconcile with your former friend, but it does mean

releasing yourself from the burden of carrying negative emotions that can hold you back

from healing.

Research suggests that one way to move forward after a split is to take time to identify just one thing you're grateful for from the experience. Even though you might not feel it in the moment, it can help you move forward with less bitterness, confusion, and resentment.

6. Make New Connections

One of the most challenging aspects of losing a friendship is the feeling of loneliness

and isolation that can come with it. However, this is also an opportunity to reconnect

with old friends and take time to build new relationships. Join a club or group that aligns

with your interests, attend social events, or even try online platonic dating (those

versions do exist!) to meet new people who share your values and passions.

Remember that building new friendships takes time and effort, so be patient and open

to new experiences.

PODCAST ALERT: This episode of the Friend Forward podcast with guest Laura Tremaine is only 20 minutes and will totally change the way you see your friendship landscape as you work to make new connections.

7. Learn from the Experience

As painful as the loss of a friendship can be, it can also be a valuable opportunity for

growth and self-reflection. Take some time to reflect on what the friendship meant to

you, what you learned from it, and what you will miss about it. Was there anything you

could have done differently? What will you do differently in your future friendships?

Reflecting on the good times can help you appreciate the relationship for what it was,

rather than dwelling on the loss. Remember that every relationship, even those that

end, can teach us something valuable about ourselves and others.

Healing from the loss of a female friendship is a process that requires time, self-

compassion, and effort. Acknowledge your feelings, grieve the loss, focus on self-care,

forgive and let go, make new connections, and learn from the experience. While the

loss of a friendship can be painful, it can also be an opportunity for growth and self-

discovery. Remember to be gentle with yourself, take things one step at a time, and

trust that healing is possible. You never know, maybe your growth will take you to even

greater depths in your next platonic connection.


Danielle Bayard Jackson, Friendship Coach and Speaker

To learn more, come check out our free resources or share with us on Instagram @friendforward or get answers to your friendship questions by booking Danielle to speak at your next event (expert as a speaker)?

Check out our different personal coaching packages or contact us online for quick responses on any of your questions!

We provide research-based strategies on how to make friends, navigating toxic relationships, friendship breakups, and other issues common in female platonic relationships. Want to get closer with your girl friends? We can help!

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