Friends are very important to us as social beings. We trust them, hope for support in bad times and celebrate our successes with them. If we continue to develop over time, our friendship will also change – unfortunately, not always in a positive sense. Perhaps you feel that the friendship has outlived itself. You may no longer have things in common, or your friendship may have become increasingly unhealthy. Then it’s probably time to end the friendship. But how do you do that without drama? This article will help you figure out if you really should end the friendship and if so, how to do it as gently as possible.
Table of Contents
- 1 Assess the friendship
- 2 Gradually say goodbye to the friendship
- 3 Be open and honest
- 4 Deal with the effects
Assess the friendship
Think about whether you really want to exclude this person from your life.
The end of a friendship can have a huge impact on your (and his) life. That’s why you shouldn’t make a hasty decision when angry. Better take a moment and write down why you are friends with the person. Then write down what you no longer like about the friendship. This will help you find out if the friendship can be saved or not. Being clear about why you want to end the relationship will help you feel confident about your decision and make it clear to your friend. In this way, you experience a conclusion and the feeling that you have done something for your well-being. Don’t forget that growing apart is completely normal and natural. That doesn’t mean that either of you has become a bad person.
Consider whether you are ending the friendship because of an issue that could be resolved or a major personality change.
A simple misunderstanding could be the cause of a conflict. Your friend may not even know they did something that upset you. It could also be that the two of you have changed and no longer have a close relationship. If you became friends in kindergarten and are now teenagers, you may like and appreciate other things. That means you just aren’t a good match anymore. Do you want to end the friendship because your friend didn’t show up for your big competition or said something means about your friend? If these aren’t examples of a pattern that repeatedly emerges, then just telling her that she hurt you may be enough to mend the friendship. If you’re bored with the friendship or you don’t want to spend time with them anymore, it may indicate that your bond has weakened. If you find you have little in common, can’t think of anything to do or talk about, then maybe the friendship is just over. Is she a passionate, thoughtful friend who occasionally dumps you or is always late? Consider whether these issues could be addressed to save your friendship. Does your girlfriend have social anxiety, is shy or clumsy? Could you imagine being someone to help your girlfriend through this phase?
Watch for signs of an unhealthy friendship.
This is a relationship where you constantly feel like you’re being taken advantage of. If your girlfriend offends you, is jealous of other friendships, or feels bad about being with her, it’s probably time to end the friendship. Do you only hear from her when she needs something? Does she use you as a therapist but never return a favor or ask you to do her homework for her? Does she only focus on the negative things in life? Consider if that depends on the current situation because she might be having a difficult time. However, you shouldn’t be spending time with her if it’s a behavior pattern. Does she always see you as a competitor, fight, or be she very clingy or demanding? These are all signs of an unhealthy friendship. Does she do things that get you in trouble? Is she stealing, hurting others, or constantly causing trouble you get dragged into? Then it’s probably not your job to fix these things. In this case, you should pay attention to your own needs first. Think about how you feel after spending time with her. If you tend to feel bad afterward, then it’s probably not a healthy friendship.
Give your friend a chance to change.
If the good in your friendship outweighs it, you should talk about the things that annoy or hurt you. The problems may be easy to fix so you don’t have to end the friendship. Remember that nobody is perfect and maybe you can learn to be a better friend too. In a private situation, let your friend know their behavior endangers your friendship. Tell him, “I really don’t think it’s funny when you flirt with my girlfriend,” or “It’s really not fun to date you when you’re always late. Could you make an effort to be on time?” It can be very traumatic to end a friendship when you haven’t given the other person a chance to change. If this person is a good friend, you should consider them worth discussing the issues before ending the friendship.
Gradually say goodbye to the friendship
Consider whether phasing out the friendship is really appropriate, or whether you should have an honest discussion with your friend.
If you’ve been friends for a long time or very close, it’s usually not best to end a friendship altogether. If you just want to step back a little (instead of just being best friends or going from friends to acquaintances), then gradual withdrawal can work. But if you don’t want your oldest friend to be a part of your life anymore, you owe her an explanation. Nonetheless, you should initiate this process by stepping back a bit. If this person is part of your everyday life (e.g. because you have classes together, are in the same group, and share the same activities), then you should try gradual withdrawal. If you tell her straight out that you don’t want to be friends with her anymore when she’s so much a part of your life, it’s likely to end up being very ugly. If the friendship is on the decline (you both can’t find time for each other anymore), just let it fade away. Then you don’t have to tell her that you don’t want to be friends with her anymore. Don’t throw them out of your life entirely without explanation. Gradually withdrawing from a friendship is different from ignoring it, which means that when she contacts you, you stop responding and you pretend you don’t know her. That would be hurtful, confusing and likely to lead to much drama. Keep in mind that this method can still hurt. Even if you don’t tell them, “I don’t want to be friends with you anymore,” they’ll likely figure out what’s happening and react confused and angry.
Be no longer available.
If your friend plans with you, say you don’t have time. Homework, family, religious reasons – all of these things may make it impossible for you to do things together. Respond slowly to texts and avoid talking on the phone as often as possible. Keep the conversation as short as possible when you talk to each other. Remember not to be mean or harsh to her. It’s not about hurting her feelings. Keep your tone light and say something like, “Sorry. I really have to go.” Do something if you’re uncomfortable acting like you’re unavailable when your friend calls. Join a club that interests you but not your friend. This gives you a chance to meet new people and legitimate reasons for not having time with your boyfriend. Spend time with other friends, reconnect with family, or even do things by yourself.
If you used to tell her about every interaction with your crush or confessed to her about family issues, do it less. Keep the conversation light and stick to topics like homework, etc. If she wants to chat with you for hours about her boyfriend, try to avoid the conversation or keep it short. You might say that you don’t have time to talk, or that you only have five minutes before you need to go somewhere else.
If you immediately make it clear that you’re unfollowing someone or unfriending them, friends will find out before they even know what’s going on. Removing them from all your social media channels will make your decision to end the friendship public. So you miss the chance to remove them from your life gradually. Instead of removing her as a friend, you could just eliminate her from your news feed.
Be open and honest
Think about what you want to say.
This will be a difficult conversation, and you may want to write down your reasons for wanting to end the friendship. Maybe you should even write a screenplay. Since you don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings as much as possible, the reasons should be explained tactfully. You should not blame or accuse them. Perhaps you should discuss what you want to say with another close friend, brother, sister, or parent. That’s okay, and even a good idea if you can make sure the other person doesn’t tell. When your girlfriend finds out from someone else that you don’t want to be friends with her anymore — or worse, from multiple people — it’s extremely hurtful.
Sit down with your friend and tell her what’s going on.
You owe her a call if it’s a close friend. She should get a chance to reply to you, so don’t email or text. Be direct (but not mean) and don’t use lame excuses so she doesn’t have to wonder what just happened. Choose a quiet and private space so she can respond without embarrassment (tears may flow). The break room is not suitable for this. It’s too easy to misinterpret a letter or an email. Therefore, you should talk to the person in person or at least over the phone. Also, she could show a letter to others. Be nice but firm. Don’t say, “Hey, you’ve become an idiot, so the friendship is over. Say something like, “Our friendship has become a negative force in my life, and I think we should end the friendship.”
Let her speak.
Your friend may have questions and complaints of her own. She may become defensive, yell, get angry, or cry. That’s okay, she’s allowed to have those feelings (unless she becomes violent, then get out). Ultimately, you’ll be better off if you’ve had a chance to talk things out, even if it’s difficult. Your friend may regret what she did and want to save your friendship. When you’re ready, you can talk about it. If your girlfriend wants to provoke a fight, don’t get involved. Don’t get involved in a big, dramatic scene. Even if she scolds you, don’t respond. Stay with her until she’s okay. Your friend may take this very seriously, and you may need to stay with her until she regains her composure.
Deal with the effects
Don’t gossip when others want to know what happened.
Others may notice that you are no longer friends and want to know what’s happening. It’s okay to say something vague like, “We’ve grown apart,” without giving details. It’s mean and immature to speak ill of a former friend, whatever the reasons for the end of the friendship. Don’t get involved if your girlfriend gets mean, spreading rumors or gossip about you on social media. There’s no need to expand on things or defend yourself to someone you don’t want to be friends with anymore. That just shows how right your decision was.
Be nice when you see her.
At first, things might be a little weird and your friend might be angry or hurt. Treat them kindly and with respect. Always remember that she was once your friend, maybe even your best, so appreciate what you had. Don’t give her dirty looks or ignore her. Smile or nod to say hello and just walk away.
Don’t get caught up in any drama when mutual friends get upset.
Ending a friendship has implications if you are in the same group. Mutual friends may take sides, ask you to make up, or even get angry. Try not to get upset if some of your mutual friends want to take sides. It can happen and it hurts. But these people are petty and love the drama. You don’t need them in your life.