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How to Cope When a Friend Ends a Friendship Abruptly

by Sheri Oz, studioD

It took a while, but finally you understood that your calls and text messages were going unanswered and a few weeks went by without getting together for coffee as was your custom. In short, your friend dumped you! You don’t understand why. You are hurt and perhaps angry as well. You miss your friend’s support and the good times you used to have. It may feel like you will never recover from dissolution of this friendship.

Understanding Your Feelings

Irene Levine, author of “Best Friends Forever,” claims that losing a friend can feel like divorce; coping with the loss of friendship is not very different from coping with other losses. Therefore, feelings of confusion, anger, disappointment, sadness, shame and more are all normal responses to the loss of a close friend. Find someone with whom you can share these feelings rather than trying to wish them away.

There Is a Reason

Even if it seems totally out of the blue, your friend wouldn’t just end the friendship without a reason. It might be because of something you did but it can just as easily be unrelated to you. In her article “How Friendships End,” researcher Suzanna Rose found that life cycle transitions can trigger dissolution of friendships. Men, for example, may end friendships when they move to another location and women when they marry.

Asking for an Explanation

Knowing why the friendship ended may help you cope with the loss; however, your friend may not be willing to tell you. If you decide to take the chance, one option may be to write and tell your friend you are sorry at the sudden loss of contact and if it is because of something you did or said, you would appreciate her telling you so you can learn a life lesson from this. You might want to add that if it was something in her own life caused her to withdraw, you are still there if she needs you. Keep it simple and do not expect a response.

Taking Care of Yourself

Coach and consultant Henry Miller recommends that you give yourself time to adjust to the loss and regain your balance. Meanwhile, continue to engage in activities that have given you pleasure in the past -- get physical exercise, be with people who support you and trust that the pain will pass in time. Remembering past friendships and being sure that new friendships await you can help you cope with your loss.

About the Author

With an Master of Science in marital and family therapy, Sheri Oz ran a private clinical practice for almost 30 years. Based on her clinical work, she has published a book and many professional articles and book chapters. She has also traveled extensively around the world and has volunteered in her field in China and South Sudan.

Photo Credits

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