Grieving the loss of your BFF

A friendship ends and life goes on—but are we taking the time to properly grieve the loss of a close friendship?

"Just like when a marriage is over, the ending of a friendship — especially someone we'd consider a best friend — can take an emotional toll," said psychotherapist Roseann Adams. "In today's society, we spend more time with our friends than we do with our blood relatives. In fact friends are often replacing family members. So if you end a relationship with someone who was a part of your life for a long time … this can be as difficult as getting a divorce. The ability to recover and repair your wounds is essential."

Remembering the good times rather than focusing on how things came to an end, Adams said, is critical to the healing process.

"Maybe they went with you on vacation or spent holidays with you or helped you through your own health crisis," she said. "That person is a part of your history and shared part of your life. You wipe out that person, and you're wiping out many wonderful memories that make up who you are."

Adams said no matter what caused the relationship to end, it's important to get past the bitterness.

"This is a journey, but it takes much more energy to be in a place of anger than to move to a place of peace and acceptance," she said. "Sometimes I tell people that your heart has spaces, and so one person takes the mansion in your heart and when we end a relationship they move into the studio apartment. They're still there, they just take up less space."

If the feeling of loss is overwhelming, Adams suggests trying the friendship in a new way.

"You might be able to take on a different dynamic," she said. "Maybe someone was a confidant and now you just meet to play tennis. You can still have them in your life, but your connection has been altered."

But not every relationship can be this flexible, Adams said.

"Our effort is to sustain a relationship. But sometimes we have to accept that our differences are too varied because we no longer see things in the same way. And we have to try to accept that without making somebody wrong," she said.

Adams said you should never be afraid to reach out for help if you find yourself obsessing over the loss of your BFF, and to be sure to get other sources for support and companionship.

"Considering therapy when you're dealing with any kind of loss is a healthy choice," she said. "And put yourself in situations where you will meet new people. This will give you relational courage and the desire to want to make new friends."

jweigel@tribune.com

Twitter: @jenweigel

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • 'Great team effort' by joggers saves man in Lake Michigan

    'Great team effort' by joggers saves man in Lake Michigan

    During an early morning jog along Lake Michigan with his wife and children Tuesday, John Corba spotted a man struggling in the water nearly 30 yards from the shore.

  • Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    As a founding member of the Grateful Dead, Bill Kreutzmann watched the world change from behind his drum kit, shoveling coal in the wildly tribal rhythm section as the Dead went from San Francisco underground curio to ground-breaking indie outfit, then progenitor of the improvisation-based rock...

  • Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    The cliché that colors every good rock star story is “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll." For the Grateful Dead, the trailblazing rock band known for its improvisational style, revelatory live shows and dedicated fanbase, there was that and so much more.

  • 10 best movies of 2015 so far

    10 best movies of 2015 so far

    The year’s half over! How did that happen? No idea. With six months of a good year of movies in the books, let’s see how the Top 10 list is looking, with a quote from each respective review. Note: There are a few I’ve seen that I really like that haven’t yet opened in Chicago, and those aren’t...

  • If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    Nearly 5 million more Americans would qualify for overtime pay under new rules proposed Tuesday by the Obama administration, a long-anticipated move expected to affect a broad swath of salaried employees from store managers to social workers to restaurant shift supervisors.

  • Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Unlike previous summers, UniStaff is experiencing a spike in job applicants at its Little Village location, a trend the branch manager says is tied to the city's minimum wage increase to $10 per hour beginning Wednesday.

Comments
Loading