How To End A Friendship Gracefully: 15 Healthy Ways To Do It

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Friends are your biggest support system. However, some friendships turn toxic, which takes a toll on your mental and physical well-being. If you want to know how to end a friendship, this post is for you.

A good friend is your biggest supporter, cheerleader, and critic. They stand by you through thick and thin and lift you up when you feel low. However, not all your friends have the purest of intentions. Some people maintain friendship with you because they need something from you and don’t support you when you need them. So it is important to identify such friends and cut them off from your life. In this post, we talk about how to end a friendship respectfully.

8 Reasons To End A Friendship

Breaking a friendship can be heartbreaking, but sometimes, you may have to go through the tough task. Here are a few reasons why you may have to end a friendship.

1. They betrayed you

The person repeatedly betrayed your trust and has not made amends. They have lied to you and have gone behind your back many times and they have not done anything to change.

2. They bring negativity to your life

Your friend does not leave any opportunity to bring you down. They constantly complain about something or the other, choosing to find fault in everything you do. They do not accept accountability for where they are at in life, and they want you to adapt their negative outlook.

3. They take advantage of you

Your friend constantly asks for your help but is nowhere to be seen when you need them. They are fake friends who borrow things from you and do not return them. They ask you to do their work but never do anything for you in return. The relationship is not based on mutuality.

4. They don’t keep your secrets

Your friend constantly reveals the information you have shared with them in confidence. Even if you tell them to stop, they continue to gossip about your life’s secrets and do not hold your best interests or any interest in helping you feel safe.

5. They never have time for you

Your friend constantly ditches you for other people by giving you flimsy excuses. They are not too keen to spend time with you and break dates multiple times. It is a one-sided friendship where you are always vying for their time and attention.

6. They don’t respect boundaries

Your friend repeatedly pushes you to do things you are uncomfortable with. They don’t respect your schedule and expect you to drop everything to spend time with them. They deliberately bring up topics that you do not want to discuss. Your best interests are not considered, and so, you do not feel safe around them.

7. They begin to conflict with your values

You two do not have similar values anymore. Their values have begun to conflict with yours. To continue being friends with them, you will have to change yourself or lie to them, and it will not feel good for you to be around them.

8. They don’t make you feel positive

Your lives have taken different paths. Whenever you meet them, they bring negative vibes, and you feel awkward. You feel depleted and negative after spending time with them, and they drain your energy.

15 Healthy Ways To End A Friendship

If you think ending a friendship by meeting in person is a better idea than writing a letter, sending an email or texting, here are a few tips for proper closure.

1. Plan what you are going to say

Before meeting your friend in person to end the relationship, carefully plan what you want to say. Keep in mind the specific issues or incidents you want to address. Preparing in advance will help you share your reality while not forgetting what you wish to say – even if you are agitated. However, let your friend have their say too. Don’t overwhelm them by talking continuously. Let it be a healthy discussion.

2. Avoid blame games or bad language

Blaming your friend or hurling insults can make the situation go out of hand. To handle it gracefully, put forward your point of view calmly without using any foul language. Using “I feel” statements will help you share how they have affected you without overly criticizing them. Even if your friend raises their voice or insults you, maintain your cool. Quarrels can make it difficult for you to have a proper discussion and diminish the possibility of ending the friendship peacefully.

3. Focus on your feelings, not their faults

Instead of focusing on your friend’s mistakes, weave the conversation around your feelings. If you accuse them and hold them accountable for everything, they might become defensive. Use “I” or “We” rather than “You.”

You can tell them that you are not happy with the way things are going between you. However, avoid making unspecific and rude comments. Instead, communicate the impact of their behavior on you. For instance, you can say, “I was hurt when you couldn’t make time for me during my tough time last year.”

4. Communicate clearly

Is this the end of the friendship or just a break? If it is a break, how long will it be? Are you completely cutting off contact, or will you exchange pleasantries sometimes? If you come across each other, what should be the right approach? Communicate all these clearly so that there is no confusion or problem in the future.

5. Share the load

Your main objective is to end the friendship on an amicable and healthy note. If you hold them solely responsible for everything wrong, it will only complicate the matter. Instead, share the responsibility by using a few “we” statements. For example, say, “Lately, we haven’t seen eye to eye on a lot of things.” Don’t say, “You are always ready for a fight.”

6. Avoid going round in circles

If you want to end the friendship quickly and painlessly, avoid discussing incidents of the past. A long, drawn-out conversation may take you off the track.  If your friend is a toxic person, they might try to argue and pull you down or manipulate you to change your mind. They may also try to put the blame on you. Once you have made up your mind, be firm about your stance on ending the friendship.

7. Wish them the best for the future

If they were a good friend, they deserve kind treatment. They once meant something to you, so make it easier for them. Be the bigger person and sincerely wish them well for the future. Acknowledge the good times you have shared and end on a positive note so that both of you will feel better when you look back at your relationship.

Here are a few other ways to end a friendship smoothly and gracefully.

8. Let the friendship come to its natural end

Instead of ending the friendship abruptly, let it fade away gradually over time. You won’t have to explain anything or hurt their feelings. Distance yourself by reducing the overall communication or not answering their calls and responding to their texts immediately. Decrease the frequency of calls and face-to-face meetings too.

9. Take some time out

If the friend was dear to you, it might not be easy to end the friendship. Sometimes, a little time apart can serve as a “cooling off” period. However, sometimes, the distance might open your eyes to the fact that the friendship has run its course. The timeout can simplify the task of ending the friendship. Maybe your friend will glide into the separation, and the bitterness can be avoided.

10. Cut off contact completely

While it is good to end a friendship amicably, it might not always be possible. If your friend is mentally or physically abusive, controlling, obsessive, or has threatened your safety, then a discussion might not be an option. Block them on your phone and all your social media handles. Also, inform your mutual friends about the toxic situation.

11. Maintain distance from them

Once you have communicated that you want to end the friendship, you can distance yourself from them. If you work together, study in the same college/school, or are in the same group, moving away from them completely may not be possible. However, you can minimize the interactions with them. During your group meetings, it is best to reduce direct communication with them. If you work together, keep your interactions strictly professional. If they try to start an argument or harass you, tell them to stop politely but firmly.

How To End A Friendship By Text?

If your friend turns violent or sentimental, text them to resolve the matter subtly.

12. Convey your discomfort by texting, We are not on the same page anymore”

If the two of you have different values that constantly lead to disagreements, text them something like, “While we have had fun times together, my beliefs and interests are different to yours at this stage, ”or “Our lives are on diverse paths, and we have grown apart.” If they ask for specifics, you can give a prominent and latest example.

13. Express your pain with, Our friendship is fractured beyond repair

If they have broken your trust and spoken ill about you, be upfront about it. Text them about how you felt rather than harping about how bad they are. Avoid getting into too many details. It is okay to touch upon their latest indiscretion if required, but don’t use any loaded words.

For instance, you may text, “I am truly hurt that you chose to lie to me repeatedly and gossip about me behind my back.” “A healthy friendship is based on mutual trust and respect. I don’t think our relationship can ever recover from this.”

14. Text you have grown apart, We don’t connect so well

If you have drifted apart and feel that your friendship has become an obligation, you may end it by saying, “We were great friends, however, I don’t feel the connection anymore” or“ This is not an easy decision, but I don’t see the point in forcibly stretching this relationship anymore. Let’s go our separate ways.”

15. Communicate your need with a text, “My well-being is my priority”

You may want to end the friendship because the person constantly humiliates you and brings you down. In such a scenario, let them know that the friendship negatively affects you by texting, “I need to focus on my emotional wellbeing and rebuild my confidence. Our friendship is taking a toll on me, and it is not healthy for me to continue it any further. I wish you well for your future.” While there might be some disparaging remarks and insults from their end, avoid getting into an argument and let it go – take the high road.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do you know a friend doesn’t care about you?

A friend who does not care about you, avoids meeting you by frequently canceling plans, does not include you in their inner social circle, seems distant, always blames you for everything, is not with you in your tough times, and does not feel happy about your accomplishments. If you have such a friend, you should distance yourself from them.

2. Are female friendships more fragile?

Female friendships can be more fragile than male friendships. However, it is believed that women discuss their vulnerabilities and fears with their close friends more than men. Therefore, women’s friendships are more intense and fragile.

How to end a friendship? There is no easy way for it, as friendship breakups do hurt. However, if you decide to part ways, there should be a strong reason, and it’s bound to be upsetting and mournful. It’s natural that you will feel a rush of negative emotions to reach the end, but it’s important not to be engrossed in the bitterness of the situation. So, properly plan what to communicate. Also, remember that time heals everything, and it might bring a better future.

Key Pointers

  • When your friend takes advantage of you, and you feel betrayed, it could be a valid reason to end the friendship.
  • Before taking a step further, plan well about what you want to convey.
  • Avoid miscommunication and inappropriate language. Instead, focus on how they made you feel.

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Shikha Thakur

Shikha is a writer-turned-associate editor at MomJunction. Having done a certification in Relationship Coaching, her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood. She also specializes in baby names. Being a postgraduate in Human Resources from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, she likes understanding people and their relationships. This reflects in her relationship... more

Jason Polk

(LCSW, LAC)
Jason Polk is a licensed couple’s therapist. He’s a Level II PACT (Psychological Approach to Couples Therapy) therapist and has been trained in the RLT (Relational Life Therapy) model. He’s a certified HOCII (Healing Our Core Issues Institute) therapist. Having experienced his own difficulties in relationships, he pursued a career in couples counseling to learn how to have a healthy... more

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