Prolonged Grieving Prevents New Friendships
My friends don’t seem to care about me the same way I care about them. In 2006, a very close friend of mine (let’s call him Alex) took his own life. Since then, I’ve been checking up regularly on friends. These are the same friends I had when I still knew alex. I haven’t made any new friends in YEARS and I just seem to keep holding on to these old friendships that the other party has seemingly given up on. Last night I woke up from a dream, and almost like an epiphany realized … The reason I hold onto these old friendships is because I’m really trying to hold onto my friend Alex from actually being completely out of my life. I didn’t deal particularly well with his death. I almost kind of just shook my head as to say “too bad” instead of really letting myself cry freely or talk to anybody in depth about it. Do you think that that’s an accurate analysis? Or could there be even more underlying reasons? BTW, I’m an introvert.
A: I’m very sorry for your loss. I think you’ve made a very good analysis. Unresolved grief can keep a peson stuck for a long time. It’s not at all unusual for it to take three to five years for a person to recover from a very significant loss. That, coupled with the fact that you are an introvert, could certainly explain why you aren’t finding new friendships even when old ones aren’t satisfying anymore.
You know what I”m going to say: If you could handle this on your own, you would have done so already. I do suggest you seek out a counselor in order to have a safe place to talk about the loss of your friend and to help you start to reconnect with the social world. There is nothing at all wrong with being an introvert. But most introverts are successful in managing a small circle of good friends. With some support and some practical advice from a skilled therapist, you can too.
I wish you well.
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Prolonged Grieving Prevents New Friendships. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 13, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/01/15/prolonged-grieving-prevents-new-friendships/