Caption "Lessons in Loss" above clouds low in the sky at sunset
Lessons in Loss

Lessons in Loss 17: Friendship

I think about loss from time to time, as you probably know if you’re a regular reader over here. I’ve discussed recovery from loss of a baby and other people’s reactions. But, we don’t only struggle or grieve over the loss of a person – whether they were fully-formed or not. Sometimes loss is part of growing into the person we have become, sometimes it leaves us feeling like something’s fundamentally missing, sometimes we can’t remember what it was like before we lost whatever it was. In this series of posts, I’ve asked some of my favourite blogging colleagues to write about a loss that they’ve experienced and how it affected them. You can find the full list here.

I think I first met Pepper though the lovely Bill’s weekly round ups over at A Silly Place. We’ve commented on each others blogs for ages and I think we have a lot in common, we certainly have many shared attitudes and values. I highly recommend her blog at Pepper Valentine for posts on travel and food, the ups and downs of parenting, blogging tips, and just to feel like you’re getting the real life perspective of someone who doesn’t apply a sheen of insta-ready perfection. You see why I like her?

Loss of a Friendship

When we hear stories about abusive relationships, it’s usually romantic relationships that come to mind first, as well as some familial relationships next.  But it seems to be rare for a friendship to be described in this way, but it is possible and it does happen.  It has happened to me.  Friendships can become toxic and abusive too – and in those cases it would be healthier to lose them. 

Some ways I’ve seen friendships become toxic, and might warrant a break-up:

Jealousy – I’ve seen this happen when a friend meets a new person and there is less attention or time spent on the original friend. I’ve also seen this happen when a friend has a success or a win that brings out some envy and maliciousness from the other friend.

Betrayal – I just saw this story on my personal Facebook. One friend just found out she was pregnant and didn’t want anyone else to know yet (doesn’t matter the reason why, and she was an adult).  She confided in one close friend about it and that close friend told the pregnant friend’s parents.

Narcissism – This is the reason why I lost my latest friendship. And I didn’t even realize this was the case until covid happened and our friendship converted to text/phone only instead of just hanging out in person almost everyday during lunch or happy-hours.  What I noticed when our friendship converted to online-only and we didn’t have all the situational factors anymore as a distraction (like, eating/drinking/socializing/etc) was that all our communication was about HER.  She never asked about me or my family.  She never initiated a conversation unless it was to bring-up something going on with her.  If I brought-up something about me or my family, she would change the subject to make it all about her. Once I noticed this, I gradually stopped initiating contact with her, until it stopped completely. And she never reached out to me again. Ever. Like, it didn’t even matter that I was gone from her life. And that was it; the friendship was over.

It really hurt me when it ended too. I had truly thought this person was a good and close friend. And I never thought that she had no care for me or my feelings at all.  To realize this person that I invested so much time, attention, and care for didn’t feel the same about me… well, it hurt. Bad. I went through a spell where I felt horrible about myself and cried over why I wasn’t worth having a friend to care for me.  It was a grieving process.  I experienced the full spectrum of the grieving process over the loss of this friendship.

This experience has changed me, as I’m much more guarded now with my friendships. It does make it more difficult for me to make friends, but I feel like the quality will be higher.  And I’m definitely in the time of my life where quality is infinitely more important to me than quantity when it comes to friendships.

How about you?

Can you relate to any of these? I certainly can. Or have you had friendships get lost for other reasons?

Thanks so much for sharing Pepper.

Love from Smell xxx

20 thoughts on “Lessons in Loss 17: Friendship”

  1. Friendships can indeed be a challenging, if not the hardest, relationship one might have to maintain. For me it was the friends I made in school that made me realise the complexity of these relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is so hard grieving a friendship. It’s happened a lot over the years by no fault of my own and it’s painful to let someone in again. Similarly to the post, I realised if I didn’t text she wouldn’t text me and in the end it just fizzles. Its as the saying goes ‘you have to keep friendships watered or they die’ and this is so true. Always sad to let go of a friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post. I’ve lost a lot of friendships over the last 10 years and I’m now really happy with the small circle of supportive friends and family we have.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing this Pepper. It can be so difficult when friendships end or go wrong. Culturally we don’t consider this enough so it’s brilliant you have shone a light on it.


  5. I lose friends all the time. I never really understood why. On my bright days I put it down to people naturally changing and moving on. On my darker days I rail against the cruel and heartless universe and then have a nice cup of tea while I read a book.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve lost a friendship to both jealousy and narcissism. He was the guitar player in my band. The more advanced I became in writing and recording songs, the more critical and angry he became. Eventually, we stopped talking, the band ended. He was quite toxic.

    Liked by 1 person

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