It’s one of the hardest things in life to witness; the loss of an old friend. Moments spent together passing, and the memories of their presence fading. But when that friend is a user, the sadness can be even more amplified, as the circumstances which led to the ending of the connection are more difficult to readjust to. When faced with such a situation, it can be daunting to know what to do and when.
The first step, although often the most difficult, is to accept that the friendship has expired. This is not to say that it was less meaningful during the time it was shared between the two people, but rather that certain conditions mean that it is no longer able to exist. Whether this is due to distance, or disagreements, the friendship has come to an end, and that’s ok. It’s hard for people to understand why, but it’s important to remember that change and growth are an integral part of life.
The next step is for a person to show compassion towards their old friend. Although it may seem quite the contrary, it’s actually very important for some closure to be reached. After all, friendship may have passed, but added empathy can be honored through kindness and warmth. A simple conversation which reflects on the good times is a great way to heal, finding a balance between being honest and gentle.
The third step is to stay in touch, if both parties feel comfortable with doing so. This can often be one of the toughest decisions to make, as remaining in contact challenges the emotions of all involved, testing boundaries and sometimes leaving fractured outcomes. But, if it’s possible, the idea of an occasional check-in or the sharing of mutual news can make all the difference; reminding us of our connection and its value even when shared time is no longer possible.
The last step. Time and space to process. Although it’s important for a person in this situation to take into account all of the feelings of everyone involved, the most important thing to do is to ensure that their own emotional needs are taken care of first and foremost. That means giving yourself the time and space to process the complex spectrum of emotions that come with losing a friend, and honoring the journey from there.
In a world dominated by devices, selfishness and short term goals, the notion of friendship can often become quite distorted. And when one of our oldest mates is a user, the mental toll can be more than extreme. Yet, by taking the steps listed above, a person is more likely to be better equipped to handle the difficult transition that comes with loss. Because no matter how hard it seems in the moment, tomorrow always allows for a new task or focus, with the hope of a clearer vision.
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