As we sit side by side chatting and eating, the minutes and hours dissolving away as quickly as sand slipping through an hourglass, I give silent thanks for the friend who understands me in all the ways that matter to me.
As we stroll along the canal on a sunny Sunday afternoon, one hilarious antic after another spilling from her lips and a steady stream of laughter coming from mine, I give silent thanks for the friend who never fails to make my sides split.
As we sit across from one another stuffing the most delicious pizza into our mouths, engaged in deep discussion about personal growth, I give silent thanks for the friend who is always encouraging and supporting me.
My tribe may be small but it’s mighty.
A lot of friendships have disappeared from my life this year.
- Friendships made when I was with my ex-partner
- Friendships with lovely people with whom I didn’t share enough in common
- Friendships between two people who have simply grown apart
We can panic when we lose friends.
We worry about being lonely.
We worry about how to fill the void left by their presence.
But what if losing friends is a good thing?
What if, at the bottom of the box of loss that life has handed us, there lies some glittering gifts?
Here are five reasons why losing friends might just be the best thing that could ever happen to us.
1) Saying Goodbye Creates Space To Say Hello
“Every ending is creating the space and opening for an amazing new beginning” — Bryant McGill
The Universe is pretty smart.
For starters, it knows that if our life is full of all the wrong people there’s going to be no room for all the right people that it wants to start sending our way.
Sometimes losing friends is life’s way of creating the space it needs to usher some special new people through the door.
People who are a better fit for this next stage of our lives.
It can be painful to lose friendships, especially if they’re one’s we’ve had for a long time, but remembering that every goodbye is setting the stage for a new hello, can help make it a little easier.
2) New Friends Can Give Us A New Perspective
“The great thing about new friends is they bring new energy to your soul” — Shanna Rodriguez
One of the amazing things about new friends is they help us to see the world, and ourselves, in a new way.
Sometimes, when we’ve been friends with someone for a long time, we can get stuck in a pattern of thinking in similar ways about similar things.
New friends breathe fresh life into us.
They challenge us by bringing with them their own set of unique views, values, and beliefs.
Things that we may not have thought about before.
New friends challenge us to grow, which brings me to my next point.
3) More Time To Focus On Ourselves
“If you learn to really sit with loneliness and embrace it for the gift that it is…an opportunity to get to know you, you learn how strong you really are, to depend on no one but you for your happiness…you will realize that a little loneliness goes a long way in creating a richer, deeper, more vibrant and colourful you.” — Mandy Hale
Losing friends often leaves a gaping hole in our life where those people used to be.
At first the quietness can be unsettling.
We try to fill it by busying ourselves in such a way that we drown out the silence.
But rather than letting the panic of being alone drive us to fill our days with meaningless activity, it can be helpful to view this new found space as a gift.
A gift that presents us with the opportunity to really focus on ourselves, for what might be the first time.
To really get to know who we are and what we want.
For it is in those quiet moments of stillness and solitude that life often speaks the answers that we seek.
4) More Time To Nurture The Friendships That Matter
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate no knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” — Henri J.M. Nouwen
If you’re familiar with British Anthropologist Robin Dunbar then you’ve most likely heard of one of his theories, Dunbar’s Numbers.
In this theory he proposes that human beings are able to maintain social friendships with roughly 150 people but that our ability to nurture and maintain deep friendships, those who we would classify as being our ‘best friends’, is limited to a tight inner circle of just five people.
Which makes sense, right?
With the busy lives we all lead it’s hard to think of how we would be able to build and sustain deep and meaningful friendships with more than a handful of people.
Losing friends can be painful but it can also be a blessing in disguise, particularly if the friendship was a shallow one.
There are ride and die friendships with people we know will be there for us when we need them and there are friendships that are more superficial, based around a shared interest or hobby, with people that in all truth are more acquaintances than friends.
When we lose those people we are given back the precious gift of time.
Time that we can then invest into those friendships which are the most near and dear to our hearts
5) Space To Reflect And Re-Evaluate
“You are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.” — Tim Ferriss
I recently ended a relationship with one of the most negative people I’ve ever met.
He was frequently whining and complaining.
He had a list of excuses a mile long as to why he couldn’t do the things he wanted to do.
He was the Eeyore in every room.
Why was I in a relationship with this man? Because underneath all of that he has a very good heart. He’s just been through a lot of challenges in life that have made him sceptical, pessimistic, and jaded.
When we first started dating I didn’t think it would be a problem. I figured I was a positive and optimistic enough person to not have it affect me.
But I was wrong.
It did affect me.
I found myself becoming more and more depressed the longer we were together until I realised something important:
No matter how much of a ray of sunshine you are and how much wet weather gear you slap on, if you hang out in the rain for long enough you’re going to get wet.
We become like the people we spend the most time with.
It’s that simple and that powerful.
As painful as it can be to say goodbye, if you lose a friend who was always bringing the dark clouds to every silver lining or who always had a problem for every solution then you haven’t lost.
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell
While friendships have been lost this year, there have also been many gains.
The creation of a new blog.
Hours spent working on my writing.
New books being read.
Quality time with my dearest of friends.
These are all things that wouldn’t have happened if my diary was full every weekend like it had been for several years.
I’m learning to love my solitude once again. To relish the time I now have to focus on my dreams and goals.
There are moments when I look back on the fun times I shared with some good people. They were exactly what I needed in that season of my life.
There are moments when I look back on some of the many challenges these relationships brought into my life. Challenges I needed to face to help me learn and grow.
But for the most part, I face forward and give thanks for the many exciting adventures I know lie ahead.
. . .
It would be great to hear your take on this piece about losing friends. Have you ever lost a friendship that ended up being a blessing in disguise? Leave me a comment below – I’d love to hear your story.