If you are friends, you are going to be friends forever, right? Not necessarily. A friend who cares about you, supports you, shares the good and bad times, and sticks around when you need them most may be worth staying friends with forever. But sometimes a friend is simply a friend because of time and circumstances, and they are not actually a true friend who supports you and loves you. If you are in a place where you want to know how to end a friendship, then this is likely the case.
Valid Reasons For Why You May Want To End A Friendship
I have had to end a few friendships in my life, and I was told, by more than one person, that you should never stop being friends with someone. It seemed like many people in my life believed that friends had to stay friends no matter what. But, that’s just a belief, it’s not a cold hard fact.
A negative friend can impact our lives in a negative way, and there’s no reason that we have to keep being friends with them just because we have been friends in the past.
A few valid reasons to stop being friends.
- They are overly negative.
- They are critical.
- They have different beliefs than you that interfere with your relationship.
- They are dramatic.
- They only think about themselves.
- They manipulate you.
- They treat you poorly.
- They use you for things they need.
- You don’t trust them anymore.
- You find it stressful to think about them.
- They influence you in a negative way.
The bottom line is that if you think your life is being affected negatively by a friend – even something as simple as they are taking too much time away from things you want to do – then that’s a reason to end a friendship.
There is no one in this world who has to stay friends with someone just because other people think that it’s the right thing to do. Everyone has their own life to live, and if you decide that you don’t want any friends at all in it, that’s your choice.
Make Sure You Really Want To End The Friendship
Sit back and think about it, because once you stop being friends, you may not be able to win them back if you feel like you’ve made a mistake later on.
If you are not sure, then you can always go to counseling with them. Counseling isn’t just reserved for families and couples. Friends can go to counseling to try and work through the issues they are having. Counseling may result in your friendship being stronger than ever before, or it may result in you not being friends anymore, but at least you will feel like you tried if you have any doubts whatsoever.
5 Steps To Take To End A Friendship
Friends are an intimate relationship, so you can’t just stop talking to them like you would with a boyfriend or girlfriend you’ve had for a few weeks. Mostly because they will not take it very well and there will be a lot of pain for both of you as they try to figure out what is going on.
Speaking from experience there are a few things that you should do to make it as easy as possible on yourself and them when you want to end the friendship.
Step 1: Stop Doing Your Normal Friend Things
If you get together daily, stop that. Start saying no to going out with them. Stop doing all those habitual things that you do together.
Doing this will do a few things.
- It will allow your friend to see that they can do those things you did together by themselves.
- It will create some space in your friendship making it easier to accept a permanent space.
- It will help you give your friend some indication that something is wrong. This is important because if you just spring it on your friend out of nowhere that you no longer want to be friends, they may not be able to accept it because, on their end, everything has felt fine.
- It will give you some space to make sure that you really do want to stop being friends.
Give yourself at least a week or two to put some distance between the two of you.
Step 2: Take A Small Break With No Contact
Your friend is not going to like this, but it will give you even more space from the friendship and help them fully understand that you are not happy in the friendship.
Inform them why you want to take a break. Let them know that you are not sure you want to be friends anymore. Share whatever you want to share with them, just don’t let them tell you how you are supposed to feel.
Acknowledge their feelings and concerns and answer their questions the best you can, but don’t let them change your mind. A break will help you get the space you need to make ending the friendship with them easier.
Step 3: Let Them Know You Don’t Want To Be Friends Anymore
Don’t play games with your friend.
If you still don’t want to be friends after the break, then let them know. Don’t make them wait too long to find out your true feelings because they need to move on with their life too.
Be honest. They know you, so they will be able to tell if you are not being honest, which will make things much worse for both of you.
And, again, let them say what they need to say and answer any questions the best you can. But, make it clear that this is what you want.
If you leave any room for doubt, you are going to prolong the confusion and pain. Let them know that you enjoyed their friendship when it was good and it was valuable to your life, but it’s time to move on from it.
Step 4: Don’t Make Further Contact
This is similar to when you break up with someone you are dating. If you contact them in any way, you give them hope that the relationship is not dead.
This is another reason why breaking the habits and taking a break is important. When you stop being friends suddenly, it’s going to feel weird not to call your friend up when something good or bad happens. It’s going to feel weird to do things alone that you used to do together. But the space from the previous steps will have helped you (and them) experience it and accept that life can go on without being friends.
They may not stop contact with you. I had a friend who reached out to me for years afterward trying to engage me. When I finally did respond to a personal email she sent me, she thought it meant I wanted to be friends again and we both had to go through a painful process again.
Step 5: Focus On Moving On After You End The Friendship
Your friend was a big part of your life and no longer is. You may need to create new routines in your life. You may want to go out and look for friends who align with who you are. You may want to just sit back and work on yourself for a while.
It’s going to take time to adjust to a life without your friend, but in time you will look back on the friendship as a valuable part of your life instead of a painful part of your life, and you will be better for it.
Dealing With A Friend Who Won’t Leave You Alone
Your friend may not want to end the friendship. They may not accept that you want to move on with your life. This is very hard, and you need to put your foot down with this happens.
1. Don’t Engage With Them
When you engage, you give them something to work with. As long as you’ve been clear about how you feel and that you want to end the relationship, and given them time to tell you how they feel in step 3, then you don’t need to say anything else. Doing so is going to drag the process on for a long time.
2. If They Are Threatening You Or Scaring You Don’t Take It Lightly
If you wake up at 3 am to banging on the door or they are threatening your life for ending the friendship, do not take it lightly.
The fact is that most of the time it will be empty threats said out of pain and actions that are done out of pain. But you never know what people can do when they are in a state of anger or hurt.
It’s important to call the police if you feel threatened so that your ex-friend knows that you mean business and so you can protect yourself as you move forward.
Wanting To Be Friends Again Down The Line
I can almost guarantee you that you will think about rekindling the friendship once or twice down the line. Maybe you will reflect on when you first started being friends and how fun it was and think that it’s possible you could go back to that.
I can tell you one thing for sure… if the issues that led to you not wanting to be friends anymore have not been fixed, then they are going to arise again if you start being friends. This has happened to me a few times.
For instance, if they were mean before, they may not be mean at the beginning of your new friendship, but if they haven’t become more compassionate people, they are going to eventually start being mean again once things go back to normal.
Another thing to think about is payback. You hurt your friend and if you want to be friends again, they may want to pay you back for that hurt.
If you do want to be friends again, I highly recommend therapy because it will help you uncover old and new feelings that could end your new friendship at some point soon.
Another Important Thing About How To End A Friendship
Don’t do it over text or email. Give your friend, no matter how miserable they made you, the courtesy of talking to them. Unless they are verbally abusive people to you and talk over you and don’t let you get a word in edgewise, ending your friendship on the phone – talking – is your best bet. It will allow them to say everything they need to say. And, it will allow them to hear your voice and understand the reality of what is going on better.