Losing A Best Friend

How To Cope With The Death Of A Best Friend

Your best friend is the person you’ve shared your best kept secrets, laughs, and crucial life experiences with. They are the person who’s stuck by you through thick and thin. They’ve seen you at your worst and helped you become your best. Their presence in your life is monumental, making it excruciatingly difficult to cope with their death. 

When your best friend dies, it’s a different kind of grief. Friends are the family we choose, and losing one hits us deeply. If you’re suffering the loss of your best friend, below are some tips for how to cope. 

How Does It Affect You When You Lose A Best Friend

YOU MAY FEEL A VOID OF LONELINESS

It’s difficult to lose any loved one but a best friend is someone you speak to daily. They are someone you’ve confided in and shared much of your life with. When they are no longer around, you may feel a deep void of loneliness. Suddenly, your closest confidant is no longer there, making you feel alone. 

You’ve shared things with your best friend you’ve likely not shared with anyone else. Now, it may seem as if you have no one left to talk to. It may feel like you have no one left who truly accepts you or understands you.

YOU MAY HAVE FEELINGS OF DISENFRANCHISED GRIEF

Disenfranchised grief is a term that describes grief not understood or acknowledged by society. Some people may not understand why the loss of a best friend is so agonizing. In our society, there is more importance placed on familial and romantic relationships than on platonic relationships. 

You may be confronted with people who don’t believe your grief is justifiable. They may not understand the closeness of your relationship with your friend and therefore be less sympathetic. Disenfranchised grief may make you feel lonelier during your time of mourning. 

YOU MAY FEEL LEFT OUT

Just because you were close with your best friend, doesn’t necessarily mean you are close with their family. When someone dies, it’s usually close family members who handle the funeral and memorial services. If you were not close to your best friend’s family, you may be left out of this process. 

You may also feel left out of the group grieving. You and your friend’s family know them best and are feeling the pain together. However, if you are not close to your friend’s family, it won’t feel as comfortable to call on them when you’re having difficulty coping. You may feel as if you are mourning your friend by yourself. 

YOU MAY FEEL A LOSS OF IDENTITY

Losing a best friend can feel like losing a part of yourself, especially if you were joined at the hip. You might not feel like yourself anymore or you may not know who to be without them. When a best friend dies suddenly, you’ve hardly had time to process what life will be like without them. Not knowing where you fit in the world without them by your side is a difficult feeling to understand. 

YOU MIGHT FEEL LIKE YOU'VE LOST A ONE IN A MILLION FRIENDSHIP

When you lose a best friend, it may feel like you’ve lost an irreplaceable relationship. It’s true, you will never be able to replace your best friend. The bond you shared with them is as unique as they were. However, it’s important to remember that it is possible to have other great friendships in your lifetime. You will never be able to replace the friend you’ve lost but you will find friendship in others in your lifetime. 

How Does This Type of Loss Differ From Losing a Family Member?

The loss of a best friend may feel like losing a part of your family. In some cases, your best friend may be even closer to you than family. Bereavement of a friend may feel similar to grieving a family member, but it will differ in some ways. 

IT MAY BE UNEXPECTED

Losing our family members is never easy but, in many cases, it is expected. When you have older relatives such as elderly parents, siblings, or aunts and uncles, you understand that at some point, they will pass on. But when a friend dies suddenly, it hits you differently. 

Often our friends are around the same age as us. If you and your friend are younger, death doesn’t seem like a possibility. Although we understand that no one lives forever, we want to believe that our friends will be with us until the end. When they leave us, it hits us unexpectedly. We are faced with the idea of how death can come for any of us at any time, making it more difficult to cope. 


OTHERS MIGHT NOT UNDERSTAND HOW YOU FEEL

Not everyone understands the pain felt when you experience a close friend dying. Workplaces generally give you time off when there is a death in the family. However, the same does not always apply when you lose a friend. General society does not recognize the death of a close friend as an “acceptable” death to grieve. 

Your other friends and family may feel this way too, especially if they were not close with your deceased friend. They may not understand the bond you two shared and therefore not know how deeply you are hurting. 

What Types of Things Should You Do To Help Cope With the Loss of Your Best Friend?

CALL THE FAMILY

The first thing you should do when your friend dies is to call their family to express your condolences. If you do not know the family well, now is a good time to introduce yourself. They may or may not be aware of you and your close friendship with their loved one. Introducing yourself to the family will alert them of your presence in their loved one’s life. 

This will help the family when making funeral and memorial arrangements. You can give them your information for funeral and memorial dates. You can also offer your help or services if you’d wish to take part in your friend’s funeral or memorial. It will be a comfort to your friend’s family knowing that there were people who cared for them and are willing to help. 

MAKE A SCRAPBOOK OF YOUR PHOTOS TOGETHER

Gather photos you have of yourself and your friend. Make a scrapbook or photo album with them so you have all your photo memories of your friend in one place. Putting together the photo album or scrapbook will be cathartic. It will help you remember all the good times you had with your best friend. 

You can keep this album for yourself and look at it when you are missing your friend. It can help you to both laugh and cry; however you are feeling at the moment. You may also consider making a copy of your photo album to share with your friend’s family. They will likely appreciate seeing any memory you had with their loved one. 

HAVE A PHOTO ENGRAVED JEWELRY KEEPSAKE MADE

Keepsake jewelry can help you cope with losing a best friend by acting as a reminder of their presence. A photo engraved pendant necklace can be made to memorialize your friend’s memory. You can choose your favorite photo of them or a photo of your favorite memory with them. 

Your necklace and their memory can be worn on your person wherever you go. Having a small token of remembrance may help you feel closer to your deceased best friend, helping you cope better with their loss. 

RETURN BORROWED ITEMS TO YOUR FRIEND'S FAMILY

If you have any items that belonged to your friend, whether they are of value or not, they should be returned to their family. It may be difficult to part with your friend’s things, especially if it helps you feel closer to them. But unless your friend specifically told you to keep something, it does not belong to you.

The family may want these items to keep for their own memories, but they may also be willing to let you keep them. If there is something that belonged to your friend that’s special to you, ask the family if you can keep it. More than likely the family will grant your wish, knowing how important you were to their loved one. 

CONNECT WITH MUTAL FRIENDS OF THE DECEASED

It will be helpful to the family to let mutual friends of yours and the deceased know of your friend’s passing. It can also be helpful for you to talk with your mutual friends about the deceased. You may not have much in common with these people other than your friendship with the deceased, but that’s enough. 

You and the deceased’s friends know them better than anyone. It’s likely you have plenty of stories and memories to share with one another. Speaking with them or getting together with them in person may be a good coping mechanism for all of you. It can help knowing there are others who share your grief in losing the same person. 

ASK THE FAMILY IF YOU CAN GIVE A EULOGY

Participating in the funeral ceremony or memorial for your friend may help you with your grief. Ask your friend’s family if you can give a eulogy or say a few words for your friend during their death ceremony. You can express your feelings of loss, grief, and share a memory of your friend with the other funeral guests. It may help you to feel as if you are doing something about their death or helping in some way. 

ASK THE FAMILY FOR A SMALL AMOUNT OF YOUR FRIEND'S ASHES

Sometimes having a small part of the deceased may help you feel closer to them. If your friend is being cremated, ask their family if you can keep a small amount of their ashes for yourself. You can use these ashes to place inside cremation jewelry or a keepsake urn. 

Cremation jewelry is jewelry that holds ashes. We have multiple styles of cremation necklaces and keepsakes hold ashes. In this way, you have a piece of your friend to carry with you wherever you want. A keepsake urn is a small urn that can be held in the palm of your hand. It’s big enough to hold a small amount of ashes and small enough to put in your purse or pocket for travel. 

CREATE A SPECIAL PLAYLIST OF SONGS

Music can be a helpful tool for coping with many emotions, including grief. Certain songs can evoke memories and emotions inside of us that touch our souls. It can help us express our feelings into words and rhythm. Consider creating a playlist of songs that remind you of your best friend. 

These can be songs that you listened to together, your friend’s favorite songs, or songs that sing about losing someone. Spotify and other music streaming sites have thousands of songs and playlists to choose from. Listen to your playlist whenever you are feeling sadness for your deceased friend. 

VISIT YOUR FRIEND'S FAVORITE PLACE

Visit a place that was special to your friend. This can be their favorite park, restaurant, bar, or any place they enjoyed being. Visiting these places will evoke memories of when the two of you were there together. It will help you keep their memory alive. Take your time visiting these places and think about the reasons why your friend liked them so much. 

Maybe they loved the atmosphere, or the people who work there. Maybe they liked the sounds of nature or the way the sun hit the trees at different times of the day. Taking your time in your friend’s favorite place and trying to understand why they enjoyed it so much will help you to better understand and feel close to your friend. 

MEDITATE

Meditation can be a great tool for increasing your awareness and being more mindful. Meditation can help clear your thoughts and help you understand yourself and your emotions from a deeper perspective. If you are having difficulty overcoming your grief after losing your best friend, consider daily meditation. 

Find a place where you can sit quietly for at least 10 minutes at a time. Use those 10 minutes of quiet to let your mind rest from intrusive or painful thoughts. Use visual meditation to focus on a specific image, repeat a specific chant or mantra, or simply allow your thoughts to dissipate while you focus on having a clear mind. Meditation can help relieve anxiety and depression associated with your grief. 

Other Helpful Things To Remember When You Have Lost Your Best Friend

EVERYONE GRIEVES DIFFERENTLY

Meditation can be a great tool for increasing your awareness and being more mindful. Meditation can help clear your thoughts and help you understand yourself and your emotions from a deeper perspective. If you are having difficulty overcoming your grief after losing your best friend, consider daily meditation. 

DON'T IGNORE YOUR FEELINGS

Again, there is no right or wrong way to grieve after the death of a friend. Don’t be ashamed of your feelings whether they be anger, sadness, joy, relief, etc. Letting your feelings out will help you to heal. Holding your emotions inside will only internalize your pain. Express your feelings and your pain when you need to. It’s okay to cry, yell, or laugh. However, you’re feeling, let it out. 

If you need help expressing your feelings, talk to a therapist or trusted friend or family member. Having another person to talk to about your grief can help you to process it better. You may feel a relief from getting your thoughts and feelings off your chest. It can help you to cope better with your painful thoughts when they are no longer yours alone to bear.

SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS & FAMILY

After the loss of a companion is not a great time to be alone. Now is the time to surround yourself with other close friends and family members. No one will take the place of your best friend, but knowing you have others around who love you will help you feel less alone. If you have mutual friends with the deceased, reach out to them often. It will help all of you to get together and keep your friend’s memory alive. Grieving together is better than grieving alone. 

SEEK OUT A SUPPORT GROUP

If you don’t have a strong support network of friends and family, seek one elsewhere. Look into joining a grief support group either in person or online. You can check with your local church, community center, or local meetup groups for in person support groups. If you can’t attend an in-person group, find one online. Communicating with other people who are experiencing the same type of loss as you can be helpful for coping. Having people who understand what you are going through will help you understand that you’re not alone in your pain. 

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

When you’re grieving the loss of a friend, it’s easy to let yourself go. You may not care as much about your appearance or hygiene. You may skip meals, eat unhealthily, abuse substances, and sleep too much or too little. These are all normal signs of depression and grief. When you are grieving the death of your friend, normal everyday habits fall by the wayside. 

However, not taking care of yourself will only worsen your depression and grief. Relying on substances, sleep disturbances, and unhealthy eating patterns can affect your serotonin levels. These hormones control your mood. When there is an imbalance of serotonin, you will find it harder to get through the other side of grief. 

KEEP A JOURNAL

One way to channel your emotions and cope with your grief is through journaling. Writing down your feelings or thoughts in a journal allows you to express your grief in a unique and private way. You can use your journal to write down thoughts and feelings you may feel uncomfortable sharing with anyone else. It can be a healthy outlet for you to channel your difficult feelings. You can choose to write whatever you want in your journal. 

You may even want to do journaling exercises such as writing a letter to your deceased friend. Regret is common after the passing of a loved one. There are so many things we wish we could have said to the deceased before they passed that we no longer have a chance to say. Writing a letter to the deceased allows you to get those things off your chest. Write the letter to your deceased friend as if they were able to read it from their final resting place. 

ACCEPT NOT KNOWING WHY

Life is full of unanswered questions; your friend’s death may be one of them. Accepting the death of your best friend may be harder if they died suddenly and unexpectedly. You will be left questioning why something so terrible happened to your friend? Why them and not someone else? What could possibly be the reason for their death? It may be hard to comprehend how bad things can happen to good people. 

But understand that it’s not your question to answer. We’d like to believe that everything happens for a reason but sometimes there is no reason. You must accept that you will never know why it was your friend’s turn to pass. Once you accept that you sometimes have no control over circumstances in life, you can begin to move forward. 

GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO HEAL

Let yourself properly heal from your grief before you return to your daily routine. While you may be eager to stay busy to keep your grief off your mind, your plan may backfire. Repressing your feelings now may only make your grief worse. 

At some point your unaddressed feelings of sadness will resurface, likely at an inconvenient time. Not properly dealing with your grief can also lead to destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse. Don’t rush your feelings and don’t rush your healing. Know that it’s okay to take all the time you need to properly mourn the loss of your best friend.

How Can You Comfort Someone Else Who’s Lost Their Best Friend?

BE THERE FOR THEM

The first and best thing you can do for someone who is experiencing the loss of a soulmate or friend, is to be there for them. You may not completely understand how they are feeling or what they are going through. However, you can be there for them when they need a shoulder to cry on.

You can be their confidante when they need someone to talk to, just to get their feelings off their chest. Being supportive of your friend and their feelings is what they need from you most right now. 

ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR PAIN

When someone has just lost a best friend, the last thing they want to hear is, “it will be alright.” While this may be true, it’s not what they want to hear now. Now they are feeling as if their whole world is crashing down. They are in pain and no number of cheerful pep-talks will change that. 

What you can do for them is acknowledge their pain. Don’t try to cheer them up or distract them from what they are feeling. Let them know that you see their pain and don’t have the answers. Just let them know you are there for them however they need you to be. 

ASK QUESTIONS

You may hesitate to ask questions about your friend’s deceased loved one for fear of upsetting them. However, asking your friend questions about the deceased’s life can help them to open up more about their feelings. Everyone loves talking about the people they love, dead or alive. 

By opening up the conversation, you are allowing your friend to get their feelings off their chest. Talking about their deceased friend will also help them keep the deceased’s memory alive. It may help them feel closer to their loved one as if they were still here with them. 

OFFER TO HELP WITH THEIR CHORES

When someone is grieving the loss of a friend of someone they loved, regular life chores become neglected. No one wants to clean the house or do the laundry when they are grieving. Help your friend maintain a sense of normalcy by offering to do some of their chores. Wash their clothes, pick up their mail, or do the grocery shopping. Anything you can do to help will be much appreciated. 

INCLUDE THEM WHENEVER POSSIBLE

When someone loses their best friend, it can feel like their world has collapsed. Their deceased friend may have been their only friend. Now that this person is no longer in their lives, they may feel intense loneliness. Let your friend or loved one know that they are not alone. Be sure to check in on them often during their grieving process. Let them know that you care for them and cherish their presence in your life. 

Invite them out to socialize with you and your friends. Do your best to include them in social gatherings so they do not have to feel as if they are alone. They may decline social invitations at first but keep trying. Being alone is the last thing a grieving person should endure.

HELP THEM PLAN A MEMORIAL CEREMONY

Saying goodbye to a deceased loved one is incredibly difficult. It becomes more difficult when you must make funeral or ceremony arrangements. If your friend is tasked with making funeral or memorial ceremony arrangements, offer to help them. Planning any kind of event can be stressful.

There are lots of factors to consider that may slip your mind if you are grieving. By taking some of the stress off your friend, they can grieve more comfortably. Offer to help in any way you can such as making arrangements for food, venue, or ceremonial procedures. 

Ways To Memorialize Your Deceased Best Friend

FINGERPRINT JEWELRY

Fingerprint jewelry keepsakes can be anything from pendant necklaces, to keychains, and bookmarks. Our fingerprint jewelry keepsakes laser engraves the deceased’s unique thumbprint onto the keepsake itself. Being able to feel the ridges of your deceased best friend’s fingerprint on an elegant pendant necklace memorializes their presence in your life.

Fingerprints are the most unique part of a person. Knowing you have that special part of your best friend can be comforting for years to come. 


PUT TOGETHER A SLIDESHOW

Gather all your video clips and pictures of your best friend and create a memorial video reel or slideshow. Seeing your friend in live action will help you remember not only what they look like but how they sound and act. Creating a digital video reel or slideshow is something you can keep with you forever (if you save it on your computer or cloud properly).

You can access it wherever you are from any device and share it with friends and family. A memorial video reel or slideshow can help showcase your best friend’s best moments for the world to remember. 


PLANT A TREE IN THEIR MEMORY

If you are looking for an eco-friendly way to memorialize your deceased best friend, consider planting a tree in their honor. Find a spot in your backyard, garden, or local park where you are allowed to plant. As you care for the tree over time, you will see it grow.

You can imagine that the tree is the spirit of your best friend. By planting the tree and caring for it, you can imagine that you are keeping their memory alive, much like the tree. 

Losing A Best Friend Frequently Asked Questions

What should you do when your best friend dies?

The first thing you should do after your best friend dies is let yourself feel whatever it is you’re feeling. If you want to scream, cry, or laugh, allow yourself to. Coming to terms with the loss of a friend is painful. You may be faced with multiple emotions. The kind thing you can do for yourself is let yourself go through those emotions. Grief looks different for everyone. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel or how you should grieve, only you know what’s best for you. 

What do you say to someone when their best friend dies?

It’s difficult to find the right words to say to someone when their best friend dies. Nothing you can say will change how they are feeling or bring their friend back. In such situations, sometimes the best words are the simplest. Express your condolences and let your friend or loved one know that you are sorry for their loss. Tell them that you are there for them and that they can confide in you if they want. Anything you can say to let them know they are not alone in their grief is appropriate in such a situation. 

Why does losing a best friend hurt so much?

Losing a best friend may hurt more deeply than other friendships or relationships. Often this is because your best friend and you shared a special bond. You may have told them things you have never shared with anyone else. You may trust them more than anyone else in your life. They were your “ride or die” your shadow and the only person who could make you laugh. When you lose this person, it can feel like you have lost a part of yourself. Best friends are special people in our lives. It hurts so much to lose them because you are also losing a piece of yourself. 

What do I write about in my best friend’s eulogy?

When writing your friend’s eulogy, consider all the important and special characteristics your friend had that you want to share with others. A eulogy is a celebration of the deceased’s life. Think about all the things you loved most about your best friend and write about that. 

Share special memories you have of your friend doing something funny or doing something kind. Write about the first time you met them and how your friendship grew. If they were religious, you could include a religious text or special poem. What you decide to write in your eulogy should be truthful and come from your heart.

How do you get over losing your best friend to death?

There is no easy way to get over the loss of a companion or best friend. You will go through a grieving process same as you would losing a spouse or family member. How you overcome your grief after your friend’s death will be unique to you. Some people turn to exercise and meditation, others surround themselves with a support group, seek counseling, or stay busy with work to keep their grief off their mind. How you decide to cope with your grief in a healthy way is up to you. Just remember to take it one day at a time. 

How long does it take to get over the death of a friend?

There is no set time for when you should get over the death of a friend. Everyone grieves differently and on their own timeline. You should feel comfortable taking the time you need to properly heal from your loss. There are activities, coping methods, and support groups you can join that may help you recover from your grief faster. However, you should allow yourself the time you need to fully recover from your loss. If your grief is interfering with your work life or current relationships, consider seeking professional help. 

How do you accept losing a friend?

The first thing you can do to accept losing a friend is to accept that it’s not your fault. No matter what the circumstances were, you are not to blame for your friend’s death. No one can predict the future therefore none of us can know what actions to take to ensure a better outcome. 

It’s also important to remember that there is not always a reason for everything. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, there’s nothing we can do about it. Life is beautiful but it can also be filled with challenges. Once you accept that you can’t control everything in life, you’ll understand how you can accept losing your friend.

Missed So Much & Moving Forward

There is never a right way to say goodbye to the ones we love, especially our friends. Friends are the family we choose and when we lose a friend, we lose a piece of ourselves. Coping with the loss of a friend will be different for everyone. Take the time you need to properly grieve your loss and remember that there are resources available to help you. 

December 7, 2022 by Frances Kay