Ask Sam letter


To Sam

my imaginary friends

So since I can't talk about this in person I thought id write a letter. Since I was about 7 I've haf these made up characters in my head. As I grew up I always told myself that when I got older I would grow out of them, but I am almost 16 and it feels like they are a part of my life. They have grown up with me and I usually think ahout them every day like they are real. I feel like I have hardly any friends so when I think of them I feel happy . The thing is I feel like I neeed to let go eventually because imaginary friends are just a childish thing but it really is so hard, I honestly feel to attached.. Please help Sam
Ask Sam


Hi there

Imaginary friends are a very natural part of growing up and many children create them. It can be comforting because invisible friends are controlled by our imaginations and can be there whenever they are needed.

Imaginary friends will disappear at different times. For some people their imaginary friends will stay with them that little bit longer into young adulthood. This can be more challenging because you’ve had many years to make an attachment which means that they may have developed characters and personalities.

The personalities of imaginary friends can feel very supportive because you are always in control as to how they respond. It can feel very reassuring, especially if you're experiencing difficult feelings like loneliness. If someone isn't getting the support they need from real people, this might mean they use imaginary friends in their place.

There can come a time where it feels like the right time to say goodbye. Just like ending a relationship with somebody who exists in real life, it can feel very much like a loss and bereavement. This happens in your own time, when you feel ready and comfortable.

It may help to think of other friendships that have come to a natural end in your life and think about how you coped with that change and how you were able to say goodbye and move forward. 

It could help to lose the imaginary friend gradually, to help soften the strong attachment you feel. Maybe you could try to only think about them at weekends and see how you get on during the week without them. Or perhaps you and the imaginary friends can work with the idea of an ending together to see how you can mutually say goodbye.

Making the decision to no longer think of your imaginary friend may feel like a permanent change. However, you can think of the qualities that you gave them and think about how those things still exist within you. After all, you created them, so everything that they are is within you.

Take care,

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