5 stages of grief when ending a friendship

Elvis Elvis

Now that the drama of ending friendships scene is over, it’s time to start the healing process so that you can move on. The excruciating feeling of it all can be just too much to bear. Although it has been said that time heals all wound, it’s what you do with that time that helps the healing process to be over and done so that you can feel like your old self again.

During this time, it’s easy for low self esteem and feeling of being a failure to be triggered by ending a friendship. You start thinking of the “what its” and “should haves”; “what if I did this better”, “I should have done that better”, “maybe I shouldn’t have said that”. You even realized now that precious time in your life has been wasted, your goals and future endeavors were put on hold because of this relationship. After all of the excitement and drama of the whole scene, you’re left feeling an emptiness of the loss.

The same rule applies when breaking up with a man. Allow yourself to hurt, it’s normal, it’s part of the process. Get angry, scream, cry, yell, punch a pillow even, do what you have to do to get it all out. However, don’t put life on hold any longer than need be. Don’t resort to alcohol or drugs, and don’t resort to violence on any person physically or verbally. First let’s understand what your motions are going thru. I’m sure you’ve heard about the five stages of grief. If not, here they are along with the meaning of it all. Keep in mind that these stages of grief may not come to you in that order.


  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Now, let’s look at the stages of grief that Cheryl went through after ending her friendship with her best friend Pam. Cheryl and Pam had been friends since freshman year in college. Cheryl completed her education with a bachelors degree in finance. Pam received an academic failure and was expelled out of college at the end of her sophomore year, she failed most of her classes. The two remained friends throughout their twenties and half of their thirties. Over the years, Cheryl had no idea that Pam resented her success. Pam constantly talked about Cheryl behind her back, lied about her, and constantly revealed personal information about Cheryl’s private life to coworkers and friends.

5 stages of grief when ending a friendship

Stage of Grief #1 – Denial

Cheryl had a housewarming dinner party at her new home. Pam and other friends were all there. While Cheryl was in the kitchen preparing more drinks, Pam was at the dinner table discussing Cheryl to the rest of the guess. When Cheryl returned to the room, everyone stopped talking. This made Cheryl feel uneasy, especially in her own home. After serving the guess their drinks, Cheryl left the room again. This time she went out the second entrance way from the kitchen to the dining. No-one noticed Cheryl standing at the other entrance as she ease dropped on the conversation. Pam was discussing, in detail, how much Cheryl paid for her new home, and the attraction she had for one of their mutual friends, even though Cheryl has a husband. This was not the first time that Cheryl overheard Pam discussing her in a negative way. Cheryl assumed that because they were friends for so long, Pam really didn’t mean to hurt her. Ending friendships was not something that Cheryl was use to doing and didn’t occur to her.

Stage of Grief #2 Anger

After the party, Cheryl confronted Pam about the incident. Surprisingly, Pam denied everything. They eventually got into a shouting match. Pam revealed all kinds of negative thoughts she had about Cheryl. The friendship ended that night and Pam stomped out of the house. Cheryl became so angry and wanted to get back at Pam. She wanted to call all of their friends to talk about Pam’s problems behind her back. Then, Cheryl husband reminded her that she would not be any better than Pam if that happened. Cheryl cried for two days over this.

Stage of Grief #3 Bargaining

A few days had passed. Cheryl decided that enough was enough. She called Pam to apologize for fighting with her. The two of them talked and agreed to be friends again. Cheryl wanted the two of them to take a weekend vacation together. Cheryl paid for the entire trip which was scheduled in two weeks. She wanted their friendship to improve; hoping this trip would encourage Pam to stop talking about her. No more than a week before the trip, Pam discussed Cheryl private business again, this time to a coworker. Cheryl cancelled the trip and cut Pam out of her life.

Stage of Grief #4 – Depression

Cheryl had always been a peacemaker. People always looked at her as the one to come to for advice. This time she needed the advice. She couldn’t understand why Pam was so resentful of her. Although she made the right decision by letting go of Pam’s so called friendship, she still felt that somehow it was her fault. Cheryl knew that Pam didn’t have a lot of good luck throughout her life. She started to think that she could’ve been a better friend by helping Pam out more during her hard times. Cheryl actually felt guilty about the whole friendship and the situations that led up to the break up.

Stage of Grief #5 – Acceptance Eventually time passed. Cheryl felt better as the days came and went. She thought about the years of manipulation, back stabbing, lying, and gossiping that Pam engaged in. Cheryl and her husband threw another dinner party at their home, without Pam. That is when Cheryl found out from other friends that Pam discussed everyone’s business to everyone she knew. No-one really liked Pam, and didn’t want her in their circle. Cheryl and Pam never spoke again. Cheryl is o.k. with that.

Ending Friendships and Handling Breakups are a normal part of life. Not everyone is perfect. There are times when we have to get rid of the bad in order to received the good. Breakups are just a way of allowing something much better to enter your life. You can’t avoid going thru the Stages of Grief, unless you really didn’t care for the person. Ending friendships and breakups are just a learning experience. Afterwards you will be much happier with the outcome. Trust me. If you are having a hard time getting through the stages of grief, please seek professional help. Your grief may be caused by something more than just a breakup or ending of a friendships.