How do you end a Friendship?

How do you end a Friendship?

I end every yoga class saying the same thing.  The identical phrase one of my first yoga teachers used to say to me as I was rising out of my final relaxation.

"Breathe in positive thoughts, hope for the future.  Breathe out negativity and toxic relationships."

Those last two words resonate with me day after day, week after week. Toxic relationships.

There is a specific friend I think of.  One that feels forced, out of obligation and causes me stress, hurt and worry.  One that I know I don't need in my life.

How do you break up with a friend?

Do you simply ignore them, which is the passive aggressive approach that I'm taking?

Or sit down and say, "We can no longer be friends."

I haven't figured it out.


Recently I have met some real people that fill me up with knowledge, advice and laughter.  My yoga students who teach me and writers at Chicago Now that inspire me.

Why spend time around toxic people, when there are so many honest and interesting people out there?

Filed under: Life, Uncategorized, Yoga

Tags: Chicago Now, Friendship


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  • Always a tough situation. I tend to agree that when relationships are no longer mutual, when you have tried to "make the best of it," or my favorite, "be the bigger person," you are still caused tremendous pain by the other person's misery or unmet needs or inability to be any other way then the way they are.

    I have made personal choices to step out of such relationships and my life is more peaceful because of it. Sad, but more peaceful.

    Are you still in regular contact with this friend? If so, perhaps a letter. It is never easy to hear what you have to say, but the person may be better able to read it than listen to it.

    If you are not in regular contact, it is very common to simply drift away from one another. Nothing passive aggressive about that.

    Think about your friend's capacity to both listen to and hear what you have to say. A clinical standard is to never take away someone's defenses if they have nothing to replace them with. Think about that. If their capacity is limited, go one of the above routes.

    Good luck to you, Yoga Mom, and kraft och omtanke. MTM.

  • Good question Yoga Mom & good reply MTM. I'm in the midst of this with a long-time friendship that's been steadily deteriorating - we just don't seem to have much in common any more. I'm slowly letting it drift away since she told me years ago that she's a "conflict avoider". Any attempt to talk through it would no doubt be hurtful. It is sad, but I feel better for moving on. Thanks for alleviating some of my guilty feelings.

  • Awkward indeed.

    Phase out of your life, I would say. The blunt, "we can no longer be friends" route isn't real. I've never heard of that story.

    Good luck.

  • In reply to David T.:

    David is right. Just let this person fade away from your life. That is both the polite way and the less confrontational way.

  • In reply to David T.:

    Respectfully David,

    I think severing a relationship may be viewed differently by some men and some women (not all, I admit!) Maybe talking it out isn't that familiar to most men, so the reaction between them would be much different. I believe many women would be more comfortable talking and hugging it out. It just needs to be a rational conversation that allows each person to maintain their dignity.

    Women have a different emotional response to being "phased out". Most tend to over think it. A nagging confusion develops around why you haven't called, returned an email, made plans, etc. . Negative people tend to add you to their gossip stream with mutual friends and it becomes increasingly uncomfortable when you find yourself in the same social situation. Additionally, it takes a lot more time and negative energy to go through a phasing out.

    Over the years, I've severed a few toxic friendships, in both ways, and the "conversation separation" was a far better road to take.

  • In reply to David T.:

    OH... and sometimes it saves the friendship because the other person didn't realize they were being "toxic" (too needy, too negative, too offensive) and they make a change.

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  • I once had a friend who sucked the life out of me both in terms of being physically present for her, and being her emotional support. Had she not moved I would probably have had to have "the talk" although it would have been fairly easy to say "I just can't keep dropping everything for you" or words to that effect. In situations where people drift apart or where it's all take on one side, it's probably too difficult to sit down and talk. Besides, some of those types are also very manipulative, and you'd probably find yourself being made to feel both cruel and guilty at the same time.
    Best to just quietly move in a different direction.

  • I am finding when I have a positive outlook on life, stop gossiping and being negative, these "toxic friends" drift away on their own. Misery loves company and when one friend recently told me I was acting really naive about certain situations, I just let her know that I changed my mindset about life. I explained that life is too short to spend time with people who do not support me.
    It is hard to be assertive, but with practice, you can do it! I started by saying "no" to people who were rude to me.
    :) -elizabeth

  • I have absolutely been in this situation. For me, drifting away quietly was best. I am highly non-confrontational and as a result felt it would have been even more toxic to have a discussion. Plus, as said by Elizabeth, if you don't play into the gossip and overall toxic conversation, the people don't really want to talk to you anyway. Life is way too short; negativity will make it even shorter. Of that I am firmly convinced.

  • In reply to Teppi Jacobsen:

    I appreciate you all stopping over here and sharing your advice and encouragement. I am glad to hear I am not alone in this.

  • unfortunately, when we make friends later in life (after high school and college), we don't always get to know "how they are" immediately. We don't always have the luxury of hearing something in math class that makes you realize that the friendship is not really all you need it to be.

    Sometimes, unfortunately, it takes a lot of time and trials to find out that this person is not one that will make this a great journey. BUT they were at a time, for a time (be it years or weeks).....

    I say, you do need to talk to them and let them know you're no longer right for each other. Whether it be political, social, emotional, or professional views - you no longer can give each other 100% of the friendship either of you deserve.

    You need to be honest and fair to them - and yourself. Let them know you wish them well (if not the best) but that it's time for this stage of your life to end.

    good luck to you and much positive energy.....

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