Losing Friends in Tough Times

I thought that I had covered many of the important topics regarding healing from burnout, which is the reason I have not published anything in over a week. I have covered what burnout is, talked about the symptoms and solutions, ways to find self-love and why self-love is important, high school burnout, emotional burnout, tips to tackle stress while going through burnout, meditation apps, and much more. There is, however, one additional subject I would like to address: losing friends in tough times.

losing friends in tough times

In fact, with this topic, I would like to start the Tough Times series, which will cover themes such as staying strong, staying focused, having a positive attitude, etc in tough times,

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. We all know that saying, don’t we? However, when the going gets tough, the tough may walk alone or in smaller company.


Throughout our lives we get to meet a lot of people, and some of them grow to be our friends. The term “friend” is sometimes loosely given. The guy you play darts with at the pub is probably great for fun, games, and some drinking, but that doesn’t mean that he is going to be there for you if you have an emergency. Well, you can obviously always ask 😉 Asking doesn’t hurt, but you get my point, though, right?

A Little Story

Not my story, no. I already shared some of my experiences from my burnout. I would like to use another example here.

popular girlA friend of mine – let’s call her Tanya – was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer several years ago. She is a single mom. Her ex-husband (and the father of her children) was battling a life-threatening disease at the time as well …

Tanya is very beautiful and she has always been popular in town. She had many “friends”. When she started her chemo treatment, she still received encouraging messages from her contacts on Facebook, but she later told me that the ones she had genuinely believed to be her friends “couldn’t deal” with what she was going through and they turned away from her, didn’t talk to her again … I told her that those people had never been her friends, since a true friend would never do that.

This woman who used to be so popular and who was invited everywhere, now found herself mostly alone, surrounded by only a handful of people who truly cared for her. This handful of people were her true friends.

You Didn’t Lose Your Friends

When you find yourself in a tough spot or are going through difficult times, you do not lose people. It is more like a sifting process which will show you who really cares about you. This is what my friend Tanya learned when she had cancer. She healed, by the way 🙂 which was wonderful news!

I came up with this quote here: “Diseases and tough times are like a friendship sieve, showing you who your true friends are“. This was based on my experience with burnout, since my friendship circle also grew smaller because of it.


In the end, I realized that I had not really lost those people. They only showed me who they were. In fact, I would even say that in this way burnout did me a favor, by weeding out the fake friends. This is what I believe always happens when someone is going through a rough patch.

How many will be there for you when you are battling a life threatening disease, when you are wrongfully accused of something, or when you find yourself in any other kind of devastating circumstance? Those extreme situations bring out the best or the worst in people, allowing you to see who they are.


When you are going through depression it is hard to talk to someone without hearing the usual “you’ll get over it” “Get over yourself” unless that person truly knows you and understands that you may need a listening ear, which is what a true friend would offer, right?

It is hard to find understanding on a long term basis or as long as you are receiving treatment, because burnout can last for months and even years, so some people may choose to opt out of being there for you …

Things Happen for a Reason

People can come into our lives to stay, but some are only meant to be with us for a short time and when it is time for them to leave, then it is best to accept that. When I went through burnout, one person who had been important to me for 10 years also left, and in the end, all I could do was accept it, forgive, and move on.

how does self love help? - part 3

Sometimes doors close, but that doesn’t mean that the path is interrupted. When a door closes, a new one opens and it could very well be a better one.

You come out of a battle hardened and scarred, and every battle suffers its losses. When you rebuild on a stronger foundation, you may find yourself with more reliable allies for the next struggle – but let’s just hope that another fight won’t come 😉

And if someone seems lost to you, then he or she will come back if he/she truly loves you, but in case they don’t, accept that and let go.


I believe that this doesn’t only count for burnout, but for anything in life, like my friend Tanya for example, and there are so many more examples everywhere in the world. Many people probably have a story of woe where they lost friends.

When people leave you during tough times, perhaps they were not meant to stay. Maybe their departure made room for someone better in your life.

Losses are hard in every battle, but the foundation for a new beginning always gives hope. So, if you feel like crying over those losses, then do, let it out; but after that, do not keep bemoaning them, and rejoice in the true friends that you have around you, for they are your treasure.

12 thoughts on “Losing Friends in Tough Times”

  1. Christine,

    I feel your struggle through your words and I’m sorry that you and your friend had to go through the loss of those you thought were close to you.

    I think everyone I know has gone through this, though 99.9% of people not to the extent that you and your friend have faced.

    I must admit, for myself personally, I have always been older than my years and as a high school student I watched as the popular kids all walked around the school with their posse of fake friends. I was not popular in school, in fact, quite the opposite as being shunned for being the geek, the smart kid with the smart a@@ mouth. But, my friend circle was the smallest of anyone I knew, in fact, 4 – during all of school — all of whom dropped out by 11th grade and I was faced with hanging with my teachers during lunch periods because I couldn’t stomach the idea of being around people whom I watched be 2-faced and fake.

    All my life I’ve been guarded around people wanting to be my friend, and they all claim that my charismatic personality draws them to me, but in the end, I rarely give into personal details about myself and while I will socialize with the best of them, I still consider most to be only acquaintances.

    Raising a daughter who is popular and aspires to be loved by everyone is difficult because I often want to protect her from the downfall of my Brother who was very popular growing up – a star football player with loads of “friends”. He has lost so much in his life over the years and his so called “friends” have always shunned him even without knowing the story, or some even robbed him because he blindly trusted people with his secrets.

    But, not everyone is like me I suppose and my daughter will have to figure it out for herself one day. I continue to teach her that if she wants anything in life she needs to pursue it on her own and make her own destiny, her own happiness. No one will bring that to her or help her achieve it but her will and determination.

    I have to say, I continue to this day to have less than the fingers on one hand of friends, one of whom, my best friend, happens to be my husband and the other my brother.

    I’m glad that you have your close friends still as well as your other friend. I sincerely hope she’s able to get past her cancer and she survives it.

    I’m sharing this post on Facebook because it’s such a touching and true story for many.

    • Hi Katrina,

      I think when it comes to true friends, many of us have less than a handful. I certainly do, and I know that we are friends for the rest of our lives. It is hard to come by such friends. There are many fake “friends” and I also do not like to hang out with 2-faced people. In high school I was not popular either, but it taught me an important lesson, just like you, I think, that one can have many “friends”, but in the end only less than a handful will truly count and be there for you.
      It was harder for my friend, because she used to be so popular and for her it was a deep fall. She still has much popularity on Facebook and in town, or perhaps it came back because she is no longer ill, who knows, but she told me that it was a tough lesson to learn. She has also changed because of the experience. Your story of your brother may be kind of similar to hers, except for the circumstances of course.
      I think that one important lesson we all learn in life is to really pick your friends …

      Thank you for your heartfelt comment and thank you very much for sharing my article on Facebook 🙂

  2. Thanks for writing about this topic Losing Friends in Tough Times! It’s great when you can find out who are your true friends. Best wishes!

  3. Thank you for such an insightful post, friendship loss is something I have been down about recently. A friend of 10 years went out of my life this year and that was tough and like you say when you go through hard times there will be amazing friends who stay, and ones who drift away. I’m very aware that I have had periods in my life of friends that are great fun, but ultimately not there for the hard stuff or like you say the ones you can have a good time with at the pub but you know that’s probably as far as it goes. It’s true what you say about hard times, you don’t lose friends, you just find out who your real ones are(so actually you’re not losing anything.) A sieve is a great analogy. Sometimes I struggle with loss with regards to people so this post was really helpful to know that other people go through it too. And a great reminder that the real ones are to be treasured. 🙂

    • Hi Natalie,

      It is hard to end up losing people in our lives because of hard times we go through. With me, it also took a while to understand that I did not really lost friends, but that perhaps they were never true friends at all. We may know hundreds of people, but our friends are usually a handful.
      I am glad that this post spoke to you.

  4. Possibly one of the toughest things that we could deal with is losing close people like our friends during difficult and tough situations. I can resonate better wuth you on this post because I lost my friend to the covid-19 and it was very hard on me. I am yet to recover from the loss and I hope I can while going forward. Good post though

    • Hi Kimberly,

      I’m really sorry about your friend, that must have been so hard … It takes time to get over such a loss … In the end all we can do is move forward and cherish the memories of our friends. 

  5. This is a very important topic that i feel so lucky to have come across today, I’m so glad that most people would be able to adjust their lives and thinking with this and stop hanging on to a person like a god, friends are humans and they can leave, it’s our responsibility to train our minds to accept this fact.

  6. Hi Christine, I’ve read your blog and understand clearly where you are coming from. unfortunately for most of us we become comfortable in our lives and stagnate. It is only when something serious or tragic befalls us that we are forced to confront our reality. Things change, life goes on so we either accept and move on or stay struggling. Acquaintances that are unable to muster the energy to leave their comfort zone for you are just that. People that passed through your life to show you a lesson. It is what it is. Hope all works out for your friend.


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