How to deal with you best friend leaving at work

Three colleagues sat around table laughing.

Let’s not beat around the bush. Your best friend at work leaving is a real mare. 

It feels like an amicable divorce or like you’ve been abandoned in action. And whilst you’re happy for the bigger and better things that your pal is moving onto… you’re still lowkey devastated that they’re off and that you’re not going with them. 

Is the problem you? Do they not care?!

In reality, it’s totally normal to think these things. A study found that having a work best friend makes you 63% more engaged in showing up at work at all, so it makes sense to feel the loss of them leaving. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom. We’ve put together our 7 top practical tips to help you make the most of the situation – and decide what to do next. 

  1. Allow yourself to be sad 

This is OK. Really. You don’t have to put on a brave face if you’re cut up about your work bestie leaving. Don’t forget: you spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with your colleagues. You have lunch with them, you work on projects together. It’s basically like being in a relationship. 

The connections you make can be deep, so when someone leaves, it’s a big change. As it sounds, allow yourself some time to grieve. Being kind to yourself will help you evaluate how you feel, and give you space to work out your next move.

  1. Support your pal

As much as you may want to chain yourself to your bestie’s desk in desperate protest, this isn’t practical. And you don’t want your colleague to decide that actually, you’re pretty weird because you’ve gone so big and bitter after they handed in their notice. Instead, how about just make them feel great? Deciding to move on is a big step, and one that should be congratulated. 

Don’t forget, this is nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. So stand behind them and cheer them on. It’s the elegant way to handle it. 

  1. Organise the leaving celebrations

Want a distraction? Go into organiser mode and get everything sorted for their departure. From the party to the leaving card to the gift. And what says you support them and their decisions more than getting them a gift that they actually like?

Now, you know where we’re going with this, but how about a Collection Pot? Yeah, yeah, we’re a broken record – but when you can collect all the money from colleagues by sharing a link online, and the receiver has the option of either cashing out their money or exchanging it for vouchers at up to 60 high street stores, it really is a no-brainer. And, saving time on going round and collecting money manually means you have time to turn the leaving drinks into a Great Gatsby level affair. Imagine the possibilities… 

  1. Double down on work

Talking of distractions, remember that little thing called your job? 

Whilst your work best friend leaving can send you into flux, you should try to avoid letting it throw you off so much that you abandon all your actual work responsibilities. Instead of pondering who you’ll go for 25 minute tea breaks with now, you could alternatively plunge yourself into a big project or take on some new responsibility. Not only can it take your mind off things, it could end up being the start of great career things to come for you. That’s a win-win, no? 

  1. Expand your horizons

It might not seem it today, but there are actually other fish in the sea. The hours and hours of time you spent with your bestie at work could actually have prevented you from meeting the other legends in the office. It’s great to have someone who makes work fun, bearable and who you rely on for everything, but it’s also good for this not to be funnelled into a single source. If the trauma of your work friend leaving teaches you anything, it could be to spread yourself more thinly once they’re gone. Go and meet other people in the team, try to get involved in some work social activities. Don’t forget, there’s such a thing as multiple work soul mates. 

  1. Arrange a meetup outside work

Do you know what’s better than getting on with people at work? Getting on with them outside work. Just because you won’t be spending the working week with your work friend doesn’t mean you’re destined to never see them again. Why not arrange a meetup outside work and start the transition from work friend to actual friend? You never know, this could be the start of something fabulous. 

  1. Look for another role

Decided that you simply can’t go on without your friend? Look, it’s totally OK for a work friend being the best and only thing you like about a job. And them leaving can be a perfect moment for you to take your leave too. It can be a less morbid and dramatic Thelma and Louise type of exit. 

If they go, we both do. 

…still thinking about that Collection Pot?

Of course you are – and we don’t blame you! 

Don’t forget, a Collection Pot really is the easiest way to collect money for an occasion like your work bestie leaving. And it takes all the risk out of stressing about what to get someone as a gift. Let your work friend choose what it is they really want – whether that’s a voucher or the cash – and remind them exactly why they should miss you as much as you’ll miss them!