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Losing Friends

People And Lifestyle Concept. Cute African American Female OfficWe’ve all done it. We’ve all lost a friend or two.

One minute the friend is present, communicative and, well, friendly. The next minute our friend is gone. It doesn’t feel good when it happens. In fact, it can be devastating and downright confusing.

Let’s investigate some of the key reasons people lose friends.


Jealousy can kill a friendship. Case in point, Marie and Jill are violin players. They’ve played the violin since they were children. In high school and college, they played in the first violin section. Now graduated, they are both up for a concert mistress (lead violin) spot in a local orchestra. Marie beats Jill out. Jill can’t handle the loss and disappointment.  She can’t be happy for her friend; she’s too jealous. Their lifelong relationship disintegrates.  Jill quits the orchestra and never talks to Marie again.  

Significant Change

Change, especially significant change, can also wreck friendships. For example, Michael and Zach have been friends since childhood. At 22, Zach has a nervous breakdown. He’s hospitalized. It is determined that he’s schizophrenic. Michael drops Zach like a proverbial hot potato. Zach is just too different now. The mental illness has hindered Zach’s fun-loving personality; he is forever altered, and Michael can’t relate to him anymore; one day, Michael disappears and never looks back.

Deeper Desire

When one friend has a desire to take the relationship further, and the other doesn’t, it can ruin a friendship. The relationship is ultimately toppled by frustration. Take Melissa and Melanie who have been friends for three years. They work together at the same engineering firm. Melanie is gay and is in love with Melissa. But Melissa is straight. Melanie tries to put her deeper feelings aside for Melissa, but she just can’t. To keep her sanity, she stops spending time with Melissa outside of work. She stops calling. Eventually, Melanie takes a new job in another town. The frustration lifts; and finally, Melanie can breathe again.


There is no room in a friendship for backstabbing and/or gossip. Let’s look at Jim and Devin. In dealing with bone cancer, Jim gets addicted to pain killers. His friend, Devin, can’t keep his mouth shut about this. He tells everyone about Jim’s misfortune. Someone tips Jim off. Feeling burned by the backstabbing and gossip, Jim ends the friendship.


When one friend gets married, and the other stays single, this often leads to the demise of a friendship. Case in point, Christina and Barbara are good friends. Barbara is very happy because she’s going to get married. Christina throws a wedding shower for her and is in Barbara’s wedding party. But after the wedding, Barbara becomes consumed with coupledom. She begins to want to associate only with married couples; she stops inviting Christina to do things because Christina doesn’t have a husband. Christina and Barbara’s friendship dissolves.


Some people need close physical proximity to keep a friendship going. They need to see and spend time with their friends on a regular basis. If one friend moves away, the friendship can end. For example, Peter goes to graduate school in Colorado. He makes several good friends. But after he graduates and moves back to Arizona, many of his school friendships go by the wayside.

Deep Mutual Dislike

Sometimes, two people never really liked each other in the first place. Let’s look at Yvonne, who has known Beth all throughout high school. Secretly, Yvonne has thought Beth is silly and childish, but she’s hung out with her for something to do. Also, being around Beth has stoked Yvonne’s ego; she’s gleaned feelings of superiority from being Yvonne’s “friend.” Beth has always felt Yvonne was a little bossy and a bit of a know-it-all. One day, feeling empowered by a new, truer friendship, Beth stops calling Yvonne. As proud as Yvonne is, she never gets back to Beth either. And that’s the end of that friendship.

Time Constraints

We all know these are busy times. Sometimes, friends just get too caught up in their own schedules and stop making time for each other. For example, Jan and Maggie are good friends. They are both married and in their 30s. Unfortunately, Maggie’s marriage dissolves. Now, she finds herself having to take a second job to make ends meet. Truthfully, she has little time to socialize. Something has got to give. Jan and Maggie’s friendship is that something.


When one friend is more interested in looking good than possessing true friendship, she or he often ends a relationship in order to “climb” the social ladder. Take Gina and Elizabeth who met through their husbands who worked together. They became good friends. They went to lunch and went shopping. They talked by phone several times a week. But then, Elizabeth’s husband got a new job, a very prestigious job, and Gina got a “Dear Jane” letter letting Gina know that Elizabeth and her husband Bob were going to be making new business friends and were going to have to end their friendship.

In conclusion, losing friends is a fact of life.

If you’ve lost a friend, try to examine why. Consider: Are you better off without this “friend?”  Mourn for a while; remember the good times. Finally, move on. Make a new friend or two.

You will survive.

Losing Friends

Laura Yeager

Laura Yeager has been writing for over 35 years. Some of her favorite topics include mental health, writing, religion, parenthood, dogs, and her day-to-day life. She is a mental health writer for Her articles about writing have appeared in The Writer Magazine, The Toastmaster Magazine, and Her spiritual writing has been featured in several venues including Aleteia USA, Busted Halo, The Liguorian Magazine, Canticle Magazine and Guideposts Magazine. A graduate of The Writers' Workshop at The University of Iowa, Laura teaches writing at Kent State University and online Creative Writing at Gotham Writers' Workshop in New York.

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APA Reference
Yeager, L. (2018). Losing Friends. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 19 Nov 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.