Navigating Friendships When Grieving

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

After experiencing a loss, the relationships you have can change. Usually, this happens as a result of the disappointment brought on by others that follows a significant loss.

A bereavement can definitely alter friendships. Through this life-altering and challenging time in your life, it is completely natural to seek support from your friends- but you will never know who will be your rock and who will just fade away... Grief reveals to you who is truly supportive and caring and who is not.

Experiencing the death of a loved one is one of the most painful things ever, and during this time you need a friend more than ever. You need someone that will acknowledge your loss, someone that is present and someone who listens. Without being able to open up to your friends about your loss, it can leave you feeling isolated and lonely. A text simply isn't enough. You need that person to be there for you.

After losing my dad, it made me re-think who my true friends are. Some simply sent a text and never mentioned it again or asked me how I was doing, whereas some of my amazing friends ask me how I'm doing from time to time. After a few weeks, it feels like people just think that you are okay and grief doesn't still exist significantly in your life.

Even if a friend didn't really show they cared or supported you, it can still be hard to cut those friends off: even if you no longer want to be friends with them anymore. It is truly upsetting and disappointing when a friend doesn't show their love or support, and I believe that it reveals to you who will really stick by you and who doesn't care or just asks how you are for the sake it- rather than actually meaning what they say.

Last Sunday was the anniversary of my dad's death, and it really shocked me when I got a text from my brother's girlfriend's mum- wow, that was a mouthful! It surprised me that she remembered and took the time to message me to show her support. The whole lovely family also texted my brother. It meant so much to me and really made my day- just a message here and there from the people in your life can make such a difference. Just when I thought they couldn't be any more amazing than they already are- they just had to go and tug on my heartstrings! Things like this will always stay in my heart and I am so appreciative.

Losing and making friends throughout life just happens and is inevitable. You deserve more than a friend that doesn't show they care about you.

Don't Give Up Straight Away

Sometimes a friend that seems as they don't care might actually care- but perhaps they are too afraid to speak about such a 'touchy' subject. Just let your friends know, when you are ready, that you are ready to talk about it. As hard as it can be, be sure to talk to your friends and give it a try and if they still remain the same- maybe it is time to let go of them and branch out to others. Grief support groups are amazing and safe spaces for you to connect with others and make new friends.

Making New Friends

On your grief journey, you will make and lose some friends. In the midst of your grief, you will meet new people, whether they have also lost someone or not, who will give you hope for the future. If you feel like your friends have been unsupportive- keep hopeful... In the future, you will connect with new friends who have experienced a loss or have a similar experience to you.

Hear it from you...

Over on the Grief Girl Instagram, I asked my lovely followers: 'how have your friendships been affected after experiencing your loss?'... Hear from the experiences of others who have lost someone- you are not alone.


"I am blessed that many of my friends are supportive but I did somehow have a close friendship 'end'."


"Realised some of them weren't worth further energy."


"Some ended. Some changes. Some were forced away with space. Some got closer. Some got deeper. Some got stronger. Some got clearer, that they'll never be the same."


"I've been less sociable, but close friends have remained true. Maybe a smaller circle now overall."


"Friends who'd been through their own loss opened up a lot more and understood."


"I blame myself for friendships being affected as I simply find it too hard to reply to messages so now I just think they don't bother. Some do. The majority don't keep bothering."


"I actually got closer to my best friend and my other friends. Thankfully I found them before it."


"One friend that found out stopped talking to me. The others just ignore it."


"Lost some friends. People get uncomfortable and instead of trying to understand, they leave."


"With a few, I feel like I spend all my time comforting and reassuring them. They want me to be 'better' because having a 'sad friend' is awkward."


"I was angry and took it out on some friends. I lost those friends then gained them back."


"I went from a big circle of support to about a handful. The deadweight will leave- the ones who stick around are the ones who matter!"

Some useful links:

An Open Letter From A Grieving Friend
What You Learn About Relationships After Losing Your Parent
Untangle Grief Support

I hope that you found this post helpful! As always thank you for reading and I want to say a thank you to Isabella for suggesting this topic!


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