Why Lost Friendship Hurts Like a Lost Lover   

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Friendships are the cornerstone of healthy relationships. Oftentimes, it is those friends that help you through life’s most difficult challenges. Alternatively, severing ties with a close friend can create the same feelings as losing a significant other. In some instances, the pain is much worse.  

 

As a child, friendships may come and go more frequently than adult friendships. Providing emotional and mental support, friendships are a healthy aspect of social life. For children, it seems as though finding a new friend is as easy as visiting the playground. However, for adults, finding and maintaining friends becomes increasingly important and more difficult as life goes on. Riddled with the pains of life, adult friendships can take a blow making it difficult to get back to how things used to be. Life, careers, children and a host of other reasons can often drive a wedge between friends creating space for doubt, jealousy and envy. For women, close friendships provide a safety net and foster a sense of community and intimacy much deeper than that of a lover.  

 

“I feel friendships to women are most important due to the genuine sisterhood that is formed and the overall connection of that sisterhood. No matter the time length the two have known each other, the connection that is initially built will create a lasting friendship,” said Destiny Benson, who recently reconnected with a lost friend.  

Destiny Benson details the loss and triumph of friendship.   

The end of a relationship is sometimes inevitable. There is always a logical reason for ending a relationship with a significant other. Cheating or infidelity, trust issues and differences in lifestyle can all contribute to the end of a relationship. Experience tells us that ending a relationship with a significant other should hurt. Songs and movies have been created to help mourn the loss of a love. Friends are typically a part of the healing process when getting over a broken heart, but how do you mend a broken heart caused by a rift in friendship?  

 

“In losing my childhood friend, I had to remain positive and hopeful that the connection we once had would be somehow filled. Thankfully, God sent me my best friend who I met at Michigan State to fulfill that void of losing my childhood friend. Yes, the relationships were totally different due to the age of the friendships but the sisterhood was genuine and present which worked and helped me to cope with that loss,” said Benson.  

 

According to a 2019 poll, 45 percent of adults find it hard to make new friends. The poll also revealed that the average American has 16 friends, however, of this number, just three are lifelong friends. While friendships are on the decline, the pandemic has helped to exasperate issues within friendships. A study released in May 2021 by the American Perspectives Survey shows Americans report having fewer close friendships than they once did and they communicate with friends less frequently. This can be a recipe for dissolving a friendship.  

 

Each gender experiences friendship loss in a different way. That same survey found young women aged 18 to 29 and 30 to 49 reported the highest numbers in friendship loss. The numbers also show single women and young adult women tend to lean on their friendships more and use their friends as a sounding board for emotional and mental support. Despite the loss, there can be room for reconciliation.  

 

“The loss of a true friend or someone you considered a true friend due to an argument hurts as it is like a part of a sisterhood has been broken over something petty and small. In my own experience, I went through the loss of a very dear and close childhood friend over something so small and trivial,” said Benson. “We went seven years without speaking and it took a death to bring us back together, but that hurt of not having my sister for seven years hurt. But, due to pride and anger, neither of us chose to reach out during that seven-year span of not speaking.” 

 

To cope with the loss of friendship, it is important to acknowledge the hurt caused and the void felt by their absence. Steps to healing can mirror the same steps used to heal from a romantic relationship including spending time doing enjoyable activities, mourning the loss and leaning on friends for additional support.  

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