How to Know If You Should Leave a Friend: 12 Steps

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How to Know If You Should Leave a Friend: 12 Steps
How to Know If You Should Leave a Friend: 12 Steps

Sometimes a friendship can change for the worse, and at other times you may find that a longtime friend has never been good for your emotional health - in these cases, putting an end to the relationship can be a good idea. Reflect on your feelings: Do you always feel bad about yourself, or do you get worn out after spending time with someone? If so, maybe this friendship needs to come to an end. Also reflect on the relationship itself: does it seem one-sided? Do you feel like you don't get support from that person? In that case, maybe it's time to make new friends. Act calmly if you decide to end the friendship - be direct and honest when explaining the reason for the "breakup", and find a way to move forward.


Part 1 of 3: Reflecting on Feelings

Know if You Should Ditch Your Friend Step 1

Step 1. Reflect on how you feel in this person's company

When a friendship needs to end, we can begin to experience negative feelings in someone else's company. So think about how you feel when you're with this friend - if your feelings aren't so positive, maybe it's time to end the relationship.

  • Do you feel you can be true to your personality? Often, when friendships become toxic, we feel we need to censor our ideas or personalities-in which case, you may always feel defensive, or walking on eggshells, in this person's company.
  • Maybe you act completely differently around other people, and you don't like the way you behave when that friend is there.
Know if You Should Ditch Your Friend Step 2

Step 2. Assess your sense of self-love

An unhealthy friendship can affect how someone feels about themselves, so take a moment to assess your self-esteem. You may feel bad about yourself if you are being manipulated by someone else.

  • Does this friend make you believe you can't do anything right? A toxic person might complain about the behavior of others or constantly mention the other's faults, making you feel constantly judged in their company. After spending time with this person, you may come home feeling bad about yourself.
  • Negative friendships can damage self-esteem - when someone has too high expectations about our behavior, we can begin to have negative thoughts about ourselves.
Know if You Should Ditch Your Friend Step 3

Step 3. Assess your emotions after interacting with this person

An unhealthy friendship can affect your mood and even your physical health, so watch your feelings after spending time with that friend.

  • You may experience negative emotions after meeting the person, such as depression, anxiety, or stress.
  • Negative emotions can also trigger physical symptoms, so you may feel physically tired or sore (such as suffering from a headache) after spending time with this friend.
Know if You Should Ditch Your Friend Step 4

Step 4. Consider whether you feel supported in this friendship

One person may receive little or no emotional support in a hurtful friendship, so think about your bad days - do you feel like reaching out to your friend at those times, or do you believe it's best not to bother the other with your problems?

  • In negative friendships, all interactions can revolve around the other person-maybe that friend talks nonstop about their own problems, but ignores yours.
  • When you try to talk to him, even in more informal situations, do you find it difficult to be heard? A toxic friend may prevent you from talking about yourself and your own problems, as he is only interested in talking about his own life.

Part 2 of 3: Reflecting on the Relationship

Know if You Should Ditch Your Friend Step 5

Step 1. See if this friend tends to criticize you

Many negative friendships are fraught with criticism, so think about how you are treated by that friend. Do you feel that your behavior and personality are always judged?

  • Perhaps you make attempts to change and grow, such as applying for a new job or expanding your social circle-in which case, instead of offering solidarity, a toxic friend might belittle such attempts at growth. When getting a new job, you might hear something like "Good luck, but I'm not sure you can handle this much responsibility."
  • Perhaps the criticisms are more general - this friend could make fun of your personality, your sense of style, and other aspects of your life; making you always feel self-conscious and inferior in his company.
Know if You Should Ditch Your Friend Step 6

Step 2. Consider whether you have ever felt ashamed of this person

A bad friend can have many negative behaviors, to the point where someone is embarrassed to go out with them in public - you may even suffer from the idea of ​​introducing this person to your other friends or family.

  • Everyone lives in embarrassing times, and good friends know how to forgive others' gaffes, but a toxic friend may be in the habit of doing and saying things to embarrass you. In this case, every interaction in public is accompanied by the threat of misbehavior.
  • Do you feel like you need to hide this person from others? Maybe you don't want to introduce her to your parents, or ignore her phone calls and texts when you're in the company of other friends.
Know if You Should Ditch Your Friend Step 7

Step 3. Assess whether you like to spend time with him

Healthy friendships are mutually beneficial, and we feel happy and refreshed when we are in the company of good friends. In negative friendships, you may be nervous or unhappy whenever you interact with the other person.

  • Are you excited to meet the person? Or maybe you feel bad just thinking about seeing her? Some people go so far as to ignore messages and phone calls from toxic friends.
  • Do you feel 100% happy and comfortable in his company? Or are you nervous most of the time, afraid something will go wrong? Even when things go well, you might not like to spend so much time being afraid of a possible fight or argument.
Know if You Should Ditch Your Friend Step 8

Step 4. Think about how he relates to others

Toxic friends have empathy issues, so this person may be unable to engage or identify with other people's issues-such a person may be so self-centered that he appears not to care what others feel or experience.

  • When you try to vent about a situation you've been in, you may not feel heard because the person always starts talking about their own problems.
  • Maybe you say you've been stressed out at work-in which case, that friend might respond something like "That doesn't even compare to the stress I get at my job" and start talking about his own work problems.

Part 3 of 3: Ending the friendship with peace of mind

Know if You Should Ditch Your Friend Step 9

Step 1. Face the situation

When we realize that we want to end a friendship, our first step should be to face the truth - get out of the state of denial and accept that the relationship is over.

  • Ask yourself tough questions to determine why the friendship still exists - do you feel sorry for the person? Do you feel a certain obligation to keep the relationship alive because it's so old? Try to identify the reasons why you don't want to end the story.
  • Accept the fact that we need to do what is right for ourselves - there is nothing wrong with ending a friendship that has become negative and draining.
Know if You Should Ditch Your Friend Step 10

Step 2. Be honest and direct

You may feel like just letting the friendship cool off, but honesty is almost always the way to go - with it, everyone involved will be able to put an end to the story.

  • Plan a face-to-face conversation if you like, but you can also explain the situation through a phone call or text message. Try to be direct, but don't blame the other person - prefer to use phrases in the first person singular ("I"), which will help you emphasize your own feelings, rather than making judgments about the other person.
  • Say something like "I feel like we don't have a connection because we're so different people," and make it clear that you value the time you spent with this person, but now it's time to move on. For example: "I think now we must go our own ways. I will always be grateful for our years of friendship, and for everything I learned from you."
Know if You Should Ditch Your Friend Step 11

Step 3. Do activities to feel better

Losing a friend can be as difficult as breaking up, so do things to avoid feeling empty - fill your days with fun activities to get the end of friendship out of your mind.

Take up a new hobby; start swimming or running; adopt a new craft project; Read a book

Know if You Should Ditch Your Friend Step 12

Step 4. Determine why the friendship lasted so long

If you have ended your relationship with a friend, this is a good time to learn some lessons that will help you avoid negative people in the future. All relationships have benefits, and you may be attracted to a certain type of person for some reason.

  • What were the strengths of the friendship? Perhaps you enjoy stepping out of your comfort zone, or perhaps you were happy to have a friend you could compete with from time to time.
  • Perhaps it refers you to someone from the past. For example, a friend who does not treat the other well might remind that person of her own mother, with whom she has always had a difficult relationship. Going forward, try to become more aware of why you are attracted to certain individuals.


  • Don't feel like you're abandoning a friend, but instead view the situation as an opportunity to learn to value yourself and your own needs.
  • Always try to assess friendships from your friends' point of view, not yours-you'll probably find yourself irritating at times too.
  • One of the best reasons to end a friendship is to have a friend who incites us to commit any kind of crime.

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