What To Do When You Miss Someone

Published 28.02.2022
10 min read
Julia Sotska

Let's start this article by saying something very important. Missing someone is completely and utterly normal! If you are missing someone who is no longer with you for various reasons, please know this - you are not alone. Now, if that deep longing when you miss someone is taking over your life with negative thoughts, then maybe it's time to look into coping mechanisms.

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Whatever the reason you feel this way, whether it is a song on the radio that reminded you of the person or a memory that crept up in your mind, there are several ways to help you get by when you miss someone. 

This article aims to do its best to provide you with the key to moving forward; however, if you feel that longing for someone is detrimental to your quality of life - please seek professional medical help. 

Why Do We Miss People?

One thing we need to underline here, people miss each other for many different reasons. Some of them may be a bit obvious, while others maybe not so much. Missing someone is all about the same feelings that are raw and unedited. People long for the same things. Most often, they need communication and connection. Bonds and relationships that develop over time are at the very core of our existence. So, missing someone who is no longer present in your life makes perfect sense. 

Psychologist Gregory Kushnick, PsyD, says: "There's no one answer about what to do when you miss someone—it really depends on the situation."

As we've said above, you can miss someone for a multitude of reasons. Some people miss those that were their closest friend at one point, and others cannot forget their ex-partners, some miss a family member that passed away, and so on. 

Anything can trigger a memory of a close friend or a former partner. Relationship Expert and Founder of Ask April, April Maccario underlines: "places, food, scents, random things that can make us remember someone. It is all about learning how to cope with the emotions we feel."

Can You Miss Someone Without Realizing It? 

The short answer is - yes! The long answer - you may be in denial. The most important thing is to own up to your feelings, among other things. So, if you miss someone - don't avoid that feeling; otherwise, it may make you feel worse. Sometimes missing your ex is not among the most pleasant emotions, but admitting to yourself that you miss them may help you feel moving forward. 

Missing someone can make you feel down on yourself, but it can also be an uplifting process. Focusing on the positives, the good memories you made with them, cherishing the moments forever in your memory is a great way to actually realize that you miss someone who is no longer in your life. It may actually make you feel good and regain control over your emotions.

It is absolutely fine to think of the fun moments, laughs, special times you had together. Most importantly, it is all about focusing on the positives of old memories and eventually moving forward.

What If The Person Does or Cannot Miss You Back? 

Speaking of negative memories, someone is not obligated to miss you back. If you lose touch with them, if they express no desire in talking to you, you need to focus your attention elsewhere. What if the person is in a new relationship or no longer alive? There are so many different circumstances that may affect it. So, why would you lose sleep and hurt yourself over someone not being able to miss you back? 

Relationship expert Sonya Schwartz says: "Obviously, it is a sad feeling, but life must carry on. We can't make things happen on our own. Simply put, trust the process."

So, the message is clear here. If someone does not miss you back - do not dwell on it. Keep moving past it regardless of the pain. Continue reading this article to find some of the best ways to cope with these emotions. 

What If The Person You Miss Is Far?

People are not static. In fact, many peer reviewed studies suggest that the majority of us will move at least three times during our lives. So, losing your best friend who moved across the country or your closest colleague because they accepted a job offer in a different part of the world can actually happen. So, what do you do when you miss someone who is far away? 

We live in a digital age. Today, people are no longer limited to talking on the landline. We are now able to stay in touch in more ways than one. Dr. Candice Nicole Hargons, Ph.D., counselling psychologist and director at the Center for Healing Racial Trauma says one of the best ways to cope with missing someone who is far away is by: "Reaching out to them by a text message, call, or social media, and letting them know they crossed your mind." 

Indeed, being able to remind someone about the fun times you've had together may be a great way to get rid of the nasty longing feeling. You can always write them an old-school letter about your friendship. If you have the budget for it at the moment and Covid-19 pandemic restrictions no longer apply, plan a trip to visit the person you're missing. This can be a great way to reset your friendship. 

Keep in mind that when you miss someone may change during the course of your lifetime. Many relationships, including friendships, can and often do change over time. If your long-time friend becomes a parent, they may no longer be able to hang out or party the night away with you anymore. Dr. Kushnick underlines: "You have to realize that the context of your relationship will change. You'll both still care about what's going on in each other's lives—that won't necessarily change—but the ways you spend time together and the things you talk about likely will change."

What If The Person You Miss Is An Ex? 

Oh yes, people miss their exes more often than one would think. Even if that person was awful at times, even if that person was a jerk, and totally deserved to be dumped, even if they dumped you. Human beings can get lost in the process and wait for the pain to fade. If you were spending time with someone during a key time, chances are you will miss some of the things you did together.

One contributing factor to missing an ex-partner may be following their social activities on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. A word of advice? Stop, unfriend, and unfollow. Don't fixate on the time you've spent with them or their new life without you. Struggling to process the breakup may call for a session with a qualified therapist. It's a great idea to find someone to talk to about your feelings. 

If you cannot find a counselor, lean on your support network. Friends, family, even acquaintances can help you get your mind off your former partner. Do not have a strong support network? Well, now is the perfect time to seek new connections.  

  • Join a yoga or pilates class

  • Volunteer at local organizations

  • Learn to play a new instrument

  • Find like-minded people online

Perhaps doing some of the things you did with your ex is not such a great idea, but if you really enjoyed going on a hike with them, why not try it by yourself? It sure is a great way to get out of the house. The best thing is to try a different route not to trigger any unwanted memories.

Remember, relationships do not always work out. It's a part of life, and sometimes the other person may not want to remain friends or even stay cordial. This is completely normal, regardless of how hard it may be to admit. 

So, if you miss your ex, don't be too hard on yourself. Don't rush back into a relationship either this may affect your new partner later on. Try to focus on the positives that come along with breaking up. You may feel anger and/or guilt over the breakup, but rest assured, these feelings will pass. Also, try not to deny them. Learn to cope with the pain in order to work through it. Once again, if all of it is too overwhelming or causes you anxiety, it is a sign to seek out professional medical advice in your area. 

What If The Person You Miss Is Dead?

Unfortunately, this is probably the most challenging situation. People die, it is the reality of life. Death may be harder to handle for some people than for others. So, if the person you miss passed away, there are certain things you can do to help you cope with the sense of longing that lingers after their death. 

Accepting the grief may be easier said than done, but accepting the fact that they are dead and you are grieving their passing is crucial to learning hope to go on without them. Grief may be extremely difficult to manage on your own. So, if the feeling of loneliness and longing persists, you may want to find a therapist that can help you manage it in productive ways. 

While a therapy course is great, finding ways that can help you cope with missing someone who is no longer alive can also be beneficial. Try to watch home movies with the person or flip through the photo album - if it's too painful, then stop. Perhaps, calling someone who was also close to the person is a good idea? How about doing something that the two of you enjoyed together? Connecting with others who survived the loss of a close person may also help you cope much better. Even though a group therapy session may sound fantastic, it may not work for you. So, trying different scenarios may be the best option here. 

Coping Mechanisms 

We've described some of the coping mechanisms above, but keep in mind there are many different ways to handle missing someone. There are things you can do to help the feeling of missing someone pass:

  • Accept and allow yourself to grieve

  • Find someone to talk to 

  • Distract yourself

  • Start a new hobby

  • Avoid temptations like alcohol and drugs

  • Interact with others

Remember, doing things that are out of your comfort zone may help you divert your attention to something else. So, opening yourself up to new experiences and opportunities may be a great sign to move on as well as cope with missing someone. 

Redirecting your energy elsewhere may help you find yourself again. So, practising good self-care, learning about yourself, meditating, listening to calming and relaxing music may all help you miss someone a whole lot less. 

Self Care Is Crucial

This brings us to a crucial point. Self-care! We all suffer from emotional wounds. People are social beings, so missing someone from time to time is quite frankly a part of life. So, tending to your scars on the inside is just as important as to those on the outside. 

If missing someone affects your mental and physical health, please find a qualified therapist or a counselor to help you. If you want to practice good self-care, start by doing some of the following: 

  • Set a routine:  try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day

  • Make sure you have a restful sleep: buy blackout curtains, close the blinds, use a sleep mask, put on relaxing music that is pleasant for you to hear before bed.

  • Eat healthy food: buy and cook wholesome meals.

  • Treat yourself with kindness: giving yourself a pep talk in front of the mirror may help. 

  • Reach out to loved ones: do not be afraid to share your feelings with family and friends.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with missing someone. Try to accept the feelings instead of squashing them. Emotions tend to build up, especially the negative ones, so letting yourself grieve, accept and move on is crucial to your well-being. 

The Takeaway

We all know that grief is a part of life. Missing people is also a massive part of life. It is up to you not to allow it to consume you. Whether you miss someone who is no longer close to you or someone who moved across the world, if you miss your ex or a person that passed away, all your feelings are valid no matter what. 

You can and should allow yourself to feel sad and lonely sometimes, to miss the incredible times the two of you had together, to look back at old photographs and videos, to listen to your favorite song, to reminisce. Remember, it is okay to miss people, especially if you cannot see them. However, if you agreed not to contact the other person - please respect their boundaries, 

We cannot always solve missing someone by texting the other person or buying a plane ticket. Sometimes, they may be gone forever, but the good memories remain. So, cherish them as much as you can. 

If none of these coping mechanisms work - find a professional counselor or therapist to help you work through it. Remember, professional support can help you get over a breakup, accept emotional loss, and deal with your grief. 


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Julia Sotska is a former Senior PR Manager at Taimi. She hails from Toronto, Canada where she studied Communications and Journalism Broadcasting. Julia is an experienced journalist, TV producer, editor and communications manager. Her work has been featured in prominent publications in Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and more. Julia is passionate about LGBTQ+ and disability rights, mental health, wellness, and parenthood.

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