How to Grieve for a Lost Friendship

Mourning the loss of a best friend can be tough; you don't have to do it alone.
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Sadness over the end of a friendship with someone you are used to turning to in times of confusion, celebration or crisis is a natural emotion that needs to be dealt with in a constructive way. Grieving over the loss of a close relationship can be similar to mourning the death of a loved one, according to clinical psychologist Jennifer Kromberg in Psychology Today’s “The 5 Stages of Grieving the End of a Relationship.” While the pain is significant and real, there are many outlets you can turn to for grieving so that you can eventually move on.

1 Write Your Heart Out

Writing can be very therapeutic, suggests Therese J. Borchard, associate editor of Psych Central, in “8 Steps to Closure When a Friendship Ends.” Put your thoughts down on paper. Write in a journal or craft a letter that sums up all of the hurt and sadness you are feeling at the loss of the relationship. Saying good-bye in a letter that you never mail or show to anyone can be an excellent way of getting closure so you can move past the grieving stage.

2 Lean on Friends and Family

Seek out the support you need to vent, cry, complain and deal with the loss by turning to other close friends and family members, suggests in the article “Coping with Grief and Loss.” This can be an exceptionally lonely time. Don’t be afraid to let your family and those around you know what is going on in your life and express your specific needs regarding their company so that they can help you.

3 Get Help From the Pros

The complex emotions that come up from the loss of a close friend are complicated and can be debilitating. Get help from a professional psychologist or grief support group if your sadness lingers and continues affecting multiple areas of your life. Religious leaders in churches, temples and spiritual places are trained to help you during a crisis situation such as this. You don’t have to be alone with your grief.

4 Pamper Yourself

Treat yourself to a spa day, a new haircut, a new outfit or a manicure. Instead of burying your grief in something self-destructive, such as a tub of ice cream or mind-numbing alcohol, go for a brisk nature walk in a beautiful place. Ride a bike along the beach, or take an outdoor yoga class. The endorphins and fresh air might lift your spirits naturally. Dance to your favorite tunes, as if nobody is watching. Do something good for your body, mind and spirit. Indulge yourself with positive affirmations, such as "I know I will find true friendship again," and remind yourself just how valuable a person, and friend, you really are.

Bonnie Crowe is a mother of two teenagers; a teacher and author of children's books, curriculum and articles on English grammar, literature, technology, art, parenting and career guides for high schoolers. She's a former director of AOL Parenting, a member of SCBWI, and a graduate from the University of California,Berkeley.