Friends are essential to our lives-we open up to them, seek support when we're down, and celebrate successes with them, after all-but friendships change and evolve over time, which isn't always a good thing. Are you feeling that a friendship has already given its way - you no longer have anything in common, or the relationship has become toxic - and you want to put an end to it? Not sure how to do this without too much drama? Read on to assess whether it is really necessary to sever ties with the person and how best to do it.
Method 1 of 4: Assessing Friendship
Step 1. Think about whether you really want to cut the person in question from your life
Ending a friendship can have a huge impact on your life, so don't make a rash decision. Sit down to calm down and list the reasons you are friends with the person. Then list the things you don't like most about the friendship to get a better idea of whether it's possible to save the relationship or whether it's best to end it.
- Defining why you want to end the relationship will help you feel confident in your decision and in communicating with the other person. You'll be able to put a stop to things and leave with a feeling that you've done the right thing.
- Remember, it's okay to get away from someone over time. It doesn't make you a bad person.
Step 2. See if you want to end the relationship because of something that can be resolved or because of a major change in your personalities
A simple disagreement can be the cause of conflict; your friend may not know he's done something that's pissing you off. It is also possible that you have changed and there is no longer a connection - if you have known each other since kindergarten and are in your teens, it is possible that you like and value different things. This is normal.
- Are you thinking of ending the friendship because your friend said something bad about your girlfriend or because you missed an appointment? Unless it's a pattern of behavior, making it clear that you were hurt may be enough to get around the relationship.
- If you get bored and don't want to spend time with the person anymore, it's possible that the connection between you has disappeared.
- If you don't have much in common-you're having trouble finding things to do or talk about-that's a sign that your friendship is at an end.
- Is it a compassionate friend who always thinks of you, but who sometimes skips the sidewalks or is always late? Think hard if problems are things that can be worked out to save the friendship.
- Does your friend suffer from anxiety or is he shy? Do you see yourself as a person capable of guiding friends through social problems like these?
Step 3. Try to find the signs of toxicity in friendship
A toxic friendship is an unhealthy relationship in which you feel you are always being used. If your friend insults you, is jealous of your other friendships, or makes you feel bad, it might be better to cut off the relationship.
- Does your friend only contact you when he needs something? Does he use you as a therapist but never return the favor? Does he ask you to do things without giving anything in return?
- Does he only focus on the negative things in life? Assess whether the problem is contained as we have more negative phases. If the problem is chronic, however, it may be that your friend is simply an unhealthy person to be around.
- Is he extremely competitive, does he pick fights or is he too demanding? All these signs point to a toxic relationship.
- Does he do things that cause him problems? If your friend is stealing, hurting people, or doing bad things-and dragging you into it-know that it's not your job to "fix" him. Always take care of your needs first.
- Think about how you feel after meeting your friend. If you end up feeling bad about yourself, the relationship is probably not healthy.
Step 4. Provide an opportunity for change
If the positives of the relationship outweigh the negatives, try talking to your friend about the things that irritated or hurt him. Problems can be resolved, and the relationship may not need to end. Remember that no one is perfect and that you too can become a better friend.
- Talk privately with your friend and explain that their current relationship is detrimental to your relationship. Say something like "I get really upset when you flirt with my girlfriend" or "You know, it's really hard to go out with you because you're always late. Can you try harder to be on time?"
- Ending a friendship without allowing the other person to try to change can be quite traumatic. If she was once a good friend of yours, try to resolve the situation before you break up.
Method 2 of 4: Stepping Away
Step 1. Decide whether it is appropriate to step away gradually or whether you need to have a direct conversation with the person
If we're talking about your best friend, maybe complete severing is not the best tactic. If you simply want to reduce intimacy (turn a best friend into a mutual friend or a friend into an acquaintance), gradual withdrawal can work well. If you want your best friend out of your life, talk to him. Still, it's good to step back before the conversation.
- If the person is always in contact with you (because you study or work together, for example), try the gradual approach. Saying to her face that you don't want to be friends with her anymore will probably complicate things beyond necessary.
- If the friendship seems to be ending on its own (as when neither of you can seem to make time for each other), let it slip away on its own. Needless to say, you no longer want to be friends with the person.
- Don't cut it off completely without explanation. Gradually withdraw from a friendship, but don't ignore the other person's attempts at contact or pretend you don't know them. This can cause hurt, confusion and drama.
- This method can still cause heartache. Even if you don't say in all your words that you don't want to be her friend anymore, the person will still understand the situation and be upset.
Step 2. Be unavailable
When your friend arrives with an invitation, let him know you're busy. Homework, your parents and religious obligations are good reasons to be unavailable. Take your time to respond to messages and try not to talk too much on the phone. When they talk, keep it brief.
- Remember never to be mean. The idea is not to hurt the person's feelings, but to move away from them. Be brief and say things like "Sorry, but I gotta go."
- If you don't feel comfortable pretending to be busy when your friend gets in touch, get really busy. Join a club or engage in an activity that interests you but not your friend. You will meet new people and have new opportunities to hang out.
- Spend more time with other friends, reconnect with your family or go out on your own.
Step 3. Don't share as much as in the past
If you used to tell all about your interactions with your flirtations or family issues, cut down on those conversations. Talk about more superficial subjects.
If he wants to talk for hours about his girlfriend, try to avoid the conversation or keep it as brief as possible. Say you're busy and can't talk, or that you can talk for a maximum of five minutes because of an appointment
Step 4. Don't make drastic changes to social media
Deleting the person from your friends list makes it clear to your mutual friends that the relationship is over, often before the other person realizes what's going on. By removing her from your friends lists, your private decision becomes public and unsubtle.
Instead of deleting the friendship, simply unsubscribe from the person's feed
Method 3 of 4: Being sincere
Step 1. Plan what to say
The conversation is going to be difficult anyway, but it can be helpful to write down your reasons for ending the relationship or putting together a little script for the chat. Since the idea is to minimize hurts, state your reasons tactfully and avoid accusations.
Rehearse what to say with a close friend or family member. It's important to choose a trustworthy person who won't say anything to anyone. If the friend in question hears from someone else that you want to break off the friendship with him, the situation will get pretty boring for everyone involved
Step 2. Sit down with your friend and say everything you have to say
If he was very close to you, it's important to dialogue and allow for a response, rather than just saying everything and not listening. Be direct (but not mean) and don't make up lame excuses.
- A quiet and private environment is the best option to avoid embarrassing situations such as tears. The school yard is not a good place to have a conversation.
- It's very easy to misinterpret a written message, so talk to the person face-to-face or over the phone. Do not send messages in writing as they can be forwarded.
- Be kind but firm. Don't say "You've turned into an asshole and our friendship is over" under any circumstances. Try saying something like "Our friendship has become very negative and I think it's best for us to part ways."
Step 3. Listen to the answer
Your friend will likely have questions or explanations. He might get defensive or even cry. Let the emotions flow - unless, of course, the person becomes violent; in that case, go away. In the future, both of you will feel better that you had the opportunity to say what needed to be said, however difficult it was.
- Your friend might look bad for the way you acted and try to save the friendship. If he's willing, you can let him try.
- If your friend tries to turn the conversation into a fight, don't fall for his. Don't get involved, even if he starts calling you names.
- Stay in place until the person is okay. If your friend is hurt by the situation, you may need to accompany him until he is well enough to go home.
Method 4 of 4: Dealing with the consequences
Step 1. Don't gossip when asked what happened
People may notice that you are no longer friends and become interested. You can say non-specific things like "We've just drifted apart," but avoid details whenever possible. Talking bad about an ex-friend is mean and immature, no matter what happened.
If your friend starts spreading rumors about you, try not to fight back in kind. There is no reason to defend yourself against this or persist in the situation if you no longer want anything to do with the person. In that case, you will know that you made the right decision
Step 2. Be polite when reviewing the person
Things can get awkward for a while, and your friend might be hurt or nervous, but always treat them with respect. Remember, he was once your friend and he deserves this honor.
Don't ignore the person! Give her a slight smile or nod your head when you see her, but keep going
Step 3. Don't get carried away by the drama if your mutual friends get angry
Ending a friendship can disrupt the functioning of a group of friends. Mutual friends may take sides in the situation, asking you to reconcile or getting angry.