Friends. What happens with them when we are grieving?
Sometimes in our grief journey things get awkward or even downright weird with friends. Some friendships may deepen and others drift. Maybe it’s your married friends, maybe it’s an old pal, maybe work friends. They start to avoid you, you hear stuff they say about you, they are over “helpful”. You might even begin to feel disconnected from them or feel like the relationship is no longer beneficial in your life.
They may start to say things like, “Wow, your changing, Your acting like …, I don’t understand, Why can’t we do…like we used to do, you have new friends, etc.” Their actions and activities may no longer fit into your life like they used to do before your loss.
This is a normal part of life and can be unsettling if you’re not expecting those who were close to you to start wondering why you’ve changed. Hello, you lost your spouse, of course you’ve changed. Friendships and relationships can be another thing to navigate along this grief journey.
Some things to consider:
- You’re likely grieving faster than they are since you are living it 24x7.
- They are wishing life was like it was before
- They are worried about you
- They may be avoiding you, not knowing what to say or being uncomfortable
- Your changes may be threatening to them
- Changing friends is a normal part of life and seasons of life
Things you can try:
- You can reach out and work to rekindle the friendship.
- You can tell them what you need and what is helpful
- Establish healthy boundaries for yourself and friends
- Decide what a good friend means to you
- Cultivate new friendships that work in your life now
- Start a new hobby or do something new that you always wanted to
- Shed the toxic unhelpful relationships
- If it’s big impact on your daily living, seek professional help.
Grief tends to make it harder for us to evaluate others in our lives. With our world turned upside down, it is sometimes difficult to see what truly works for us and what is no longer useful. Even in a “normal” time of life, people and friends come and go. There is a saying that states that people will come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. If they are there for a reason, their time with you will be brief until that reason is complete. A season will be a little longer but won’t last forever. A lifetime…well, we all know what that means. They will be with you until they leave or we leave…either way, they are a “forever” part of our life.
Also, remember that change is a natural part of life. As we experience events, both good and bad, we grow and change. Thus, our circle of friends and networks may change as well. This is perfectly ok in life.
Determining what part people play in your life may be easy or difficult depending on where you are in your life. Just know that, even in normal times, you would be making these decisions and people would be entering and leaving your life for a number of reasons. Thus, it is perfectly OK for this to happen while you are in the grieving process.
Remember - It’s OK. YOU are OK.
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Peace & Blessings,
Jeni & Teresa
PS: For additional support you can download our free copy of 10 Ways to Move Forward After Loss
Torn in Half: The First Days as a resource for the first days after a loss - available on Amazon in paperback and ebook.