26 Feb Friendships? Are You Feeling Like You Don’t Fit In Anymore? Why? Now What?

What happened to my friendshipsFriendships? Are you feeling like you don’t fit in anymore… Why? Now What?

Talk about uncomfortable.  Not feeling like we fit in anywhere is very uncomfortable—and unsettling.   The question is not why would this happen but why wouldn’t this happen.  Let’s face it, one of the worst things that could ever happen has happened to you.  Your framework for thinking and being in this world, your personal paradigm has been kicked out from under you.  The unwanted change brought about by the death has changed how you perceive yourself and how you perceive others—and how other people perceive you.  By chance, if your loved one was the glue that held the friendship together—well, you may have to grieve the loss of this friendship too.  More hurt to process.

After the death of a loved one we are forced to squarely face and honestly address what’s really important in life and in friendships.  Some friends jump on board with us and help us navigate life without our loved one. Thank God for these people!  It takes other friend’s time to catch up.  And then there are the friends who mysteriously disappear… Sometimes for a while and sometimes for forever.  Changes in friendships can leave us more confused, possibly angry and sometimes feeling very alone.

The good news is that this is normal for grief.  You are not alone.  Most people experience changes in friendships, negative and believe it or not, sometimes positive, in one degree or another.  I have only met a few people who stated that the death didn’t impact their friendships.  What I can share with you, looking at life in the rear view mirror, is that everything will unfold as it is supposed to.  Friendships that are meant to be will grow stronger.  Friendships that are not meant to be will dissolve—more to grieve—but not the end of the world.  I want real friends don’t you?  And death has a way of sifting pretender friends out from the real thing.

What about the people who disappear?  This can be really confusing because it’s usually someone who we really thought would be there for us—which makes it even more hurtful.  This happened to me.

My friend, who was a twenty year friend at that time, visited with me a few times after Donald died.  And then I didn’t see her again.  Phone calls were not returned and this left me feeling uncomfortable about stopping by her house.  One day I heard a knock on my front door and there she was—it was two years later.  I invited her in and she apologized and said that she stayed away because she just didn’t know what to do or say…  Well, this was sad—for both of us.  Are we friends now? Yes.  Are we as close as we once were?  Yes and no.  Sometimes we fit back into our friendships—just not in the same way.

Most of us have found it beneficial to make a few new friends.  A lot of times these new friends are people who share a similar type of death experience.  So where can you meet new friends?

  • A good grief support group.
  • Take a class.
  • Your church or church hop once a month and find out what’s going on at different churches that might interest you.  If you spouse has died, when you are ready, Singles Group is an option.
  • Maybe it’s time to find a job or change jobs…
  • Your neighbors. For example, have a Tea Party.
  • Join the PTA at your child’s school or if your child has died consider (Consider because some people try this and it doesn’t work out for them.) mentoring or tutoring children.
  • If you are older—check out your local senior center.

The good news is that you can and will make new friends.  And the friends that are supposed to remain in your life will still be there and other friends will find you again like my friend did.  We have to allow friends to grieve in their own way and on their own timetable too.

Healing Forward: Action Step!  Risk putting yourself out there and figure out new, safe ways to meet people—friend finding…

Hugs

Learn more about what’s normal for healing in our book: Grieving Forward: Death Happened, Now What?  Because when you understand what’s normal for grief it’s easier to navigate your personal healing journey.