How To Break Up With A Friend

How To Break Up With A Friend
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A friendship has finished its lifecycle. It's time to call it quits. Even though this wasn't a romantic relationship, you want to break up with your friend and you're here to learn how-to.

Each friend represents a certain aspect of your personality, so what happens if that piece of shared personality has changed or even expired? Maybe the thing that bonded you has now become something toxic. How do you transition that person from Top Friends on your call plan to the Do Not Answer dial?

  1. The Straight Up: Good friends tell you when you're being a dick. If you're considering breaking up with this friend, they are obviously doing something(s) that is(are) driving you nuts. Make a list of what you need to say to your friend. Invite her over, open up a bottle (or seven) and Say. It. All. You either walk out with everything hashed out or at the end you part ways. Either way, you know you tried you gave it everything you had and you won't feel guilt about it. If this friend means anything to you, you need to give them a Come-To-Jesus moment. Even if your friendship ends, hopefully she will realize that somethings needs to be changed.
  2. The Fade Away: We've all been here. You went on a date with someone you were meh on. Maybe you hooked up and you just don't want to ever see them naked again. You don't really want to hurt their feelings. You kinda want to keep them "around" if you're ever neck deep in margaritas near their apartment. So you respond to their texts hours/days later and always have a reason why you can't meet up. You know...until the margarita thing. You can totally use this with a friend from whom you want to distance yourself. You send them the occassional "Oh man, it's been so long! We should totally get brunch soon." Soon being never. People get busy. As far as they know, you are very busy. Busy for-ev-er.
  3. The Demotion: It's rare that you should need to cut someone completely out of your life, but sometimes you just need to push them from top tier. You'd invite them to your wedding, but not put them in your wedding party. That can be a tense situation. In order to effectively demote, you need a combination of both The Straight Up and The Fade Away. Let them know that you appreciate them, but that there are a few things that make your evolving friendship difficult. Be direct about it. We all grow up and change. It's part of that process. Then, start creating a distance by being less available. You care about them, but this is not the relationship where you want to spend your time.
  4. Reverse Psychology: Start acting like a jerk. It'll make them not want to be your friend. The only real time to do this is if you've tried everything else and they just won't leave your life. Otherwise, you're not just acting like a jerk...you're kinda just a real jerk.

Have you ever had to break up with a friend? How did you pull it off?

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  • I had to break up with a friend who was emotionally abusive to me and had some emotional problems of her own. We were best friends for years and eventually it just took enough of a toll on me that I had to leave the friendship. Little by little, I just phased her out. I'd still see her from time to time, maybe once a year. She confronted me recently, years after the phase-out, about why I didn't want to be her friend anymore and I made some mentions about some of the things she had done which, to me, weren't very friendly things to do. She was upset and she cried because she didn't realize or remember doing them. Apparently she's getting help now and I'm happy for her. Maybe in the future, she and I will regain our close friendship.

  • Thank you for sharing your story, Laura. And I believe that she didn't realize what she was doing at the time. The reality is that most of the time people aren't thinking about us at all, which is really the root of the problem. I'm glad that your conversation with her has helped direct her towards seeking help.

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