Losing a friend can be just as bad as separating from your partner, but there is the occasional need to end a friendship when things simply don't work out. If your friendship is more poisonous than beneficial, it's time to pull the plug. Saying goodbye can help both of you have a better life, especially if you and the other no longer have anything in common. Follow these steps to end your friendship with dignity.
Method 1 of 3: Part 1: Assessing the friendship
Step 1. Think about what the battle is about
Maybe you've just had a big fight that threatens to ruin your friendship. Think carefully about whether the friendship is worth saving. Do you think your anger will subside, or is this really the end? To get a better understanding of the situation, ask yourself the following:
- Was the fight a one-time event, or has it been going on for a long time? If the disagreement has been going on for a while, think carefully about whether it will pass.
- Is the subject in question more important than the friendship? Depending on the argument, your principles may or may not be more important than your friend.
- Can you ever agree that you two simply disagree on this? If you can compromise, your friendship can survive. If not, you may have to end it.
Step 2. Decide if the two of you have grown apart
Sometimes friendships don't end in an argument, but slowly fade away. Has it been a while since you felt like calling your friend? Or do you make up excuses not to meet? If so, ask yourself if either of you could still save the friendship, or if you really don't even want to.
- How long have you known each other? It is important to consider how much time you have already invested in the friendship against how much time you would like to put into it in the future. If you're old friends, it might be worth saving the friendship, even if it's not as fun as it used to be. It is very valuable to have someone you have known all your life.
- Are you still having fun together? Maybe you don't have to give up the friendship completely, but you can just take a step back. Instead of forcing yourself to meet once a week, see each other less. That way, the times you see each other are more valuable, and you don't get tired of each other.
Step 3. Think about what your life would be like without your boyfriend
Does imagining life without your boyfriend make you sad, or do you feel relief? If you already know that you'll be glad to get rid of all the drama, boredom, or other negative feelings, breaking up the friendship is a good idea. If you also feel some sadness and aren't quite sure if this is what you want, consider other options.
- Think about what it will take to rekindle the friendship. A friendship can take just as much time and effort as a love affair. If you choose to keep yours, you must be willing to put a lot of time and energy into it.
- How many mutual friends do you have? Consider how your mutual friends feel about your friendship and whether they will support its ending.
- What do you like to do together? Ask yourself if you can still do your favorite activities after you end the friendship.
Method 2 of 3: Part 2: Ending the friendship
Step 1. Consider letting the friendship fade naturally
Friends go to different schools, move to another city, or immerse themselves in other activities that make them naturally interact with new people. This is the least painful way to end a friendship and works best when both parties are ready to move on with their lives. To dilute a friendship, you can do the following:
- Stop trying to engage in deep conversations. Stop bothering your friend with personal problems, especially if it often leads to arguments. Keep your conversations superficial.
- Make contact less often. Stop calling so often, and don't always answer when the other person calls. You can do this gradually or stop all at once. If you do the latter, it may surprise your friend and possibly hurt him/her.
- Politely decline invitations. As the distance between you grows, socialize less. Eventually he/she will stop calling.
Step 2. Consider openly confronting your friend
This is a difficult choice, but it is also the fairest way to end a friendship. Instead of making the other person guess why you stopped talking to them, be honest about what happened. To openly confront someone, you can do the following:
- Choose a suitable time for an interview. If your friend is just having a rough patch at home or at school, wait until he/she is in a better condition before cutting ties.
- Choose a suitable place for a conversation. Never end a friendship in company, especially with people you both know. This can be embarrassing for both parties, and gossip can start to circulate.
- Express your feelings. You may be tempted to tell your friend the truth, but don't yell or accuse, as that will only make this awkward situation worse.
- Be clear when you speak your mind. You may also be tempted to apologize for ending the friendship. But unless you've done something wrong, there's no need to apologize if you cut ties with someone.
- Give the other person the opportunity to talk, but make sure they understand your position as well. It is important that your friend can say what he/she thinks of the situation. But make sure he/she understands your side of the story.
Step 3. Instantly end a toxic friendship
In some rare cases, you simply need to cut contact with someone right away. If your friend is manipulative, or hurts you, or has done something that you will never get over, or if you are afraid that he/she will react violently if you end the relationship, stop it right away. Don't answer the phone, don't answer text messages, unfriend him/her on Facebook and don't go to places he/she often goes.
Step 4. Set clear boundaries
However you end the friendship, the other person will probably still want to contact you. Let him/her know if you're still willing to talk or not. If you're not very clear about your expectations, your former boyfriend may be confused.
- If you still want contact with the other person, make it clear what kind of communication is acceptable to you. For example, if you still want to have a chat in the street, but no longer want to meet up, you must clearly state that.
- If you never want to speak to your friend again, warn them of the consequences if they try to contact you again. For example, in serious cases, say that you are requesting a restraining order. Stick to it if he/she doesn't obey your wishes.
Method 3 of 3: Dealing with the aftermath
Step 1. Prepare yourself for grief when you end a friendship
Even if it was a negative breakup, it started out as a nice friendship. Losing that connection can cause grief.
- If your former boyfriend will burst into tears when you end the friendship, choose a method that still allows you to stick with your decision. Perhaps it is better to write a letter or e-mail than to tell it in person.
- You may feel sad or guilty after ending a friendship. Realize that no matter how broken the friendship was, it's normal to feel that way when it's over.
Step 2. Know that anger can also play a role
This is another emotion that is common in a divorce. Hurt feelings can lead to anger, so be prepared to deal with your friend's anger even if you end the friendship because you were the one who is angry.
- If your former boyfriend is easily aggressive, you can expect verbal or physical resistance.
- You may remain angry with the other person for a while, even after the friendship has ended. This is a normal reaction, but beware that it does not lead to self-destructive behavior if the anger persists for too long.
Step 3. Know that passive aggression can also result
It's probably impossible to end the friendship flawlessly, especially if you've yet to see the other person at school or work. Prepare yourself mentally for some dirty games in the months following the breakup.
- If your former boyfriend can be passive aggressive, expect a figurative dagger in your back after you break up the friendship.
- Maybe you too feel like making life miserable for your former boyfriend. While this is a normal reaction, you should try to avoid it, as such behavior can also repel other friends.
Step 4. Realize that ending a friendship can also jeopardize other friendships
There may be mutual friends who side with your former boyfriend. It's hard for people to be friends with both after a breakup, so they often choose sides.
Step 5. Move on with your life by meeting new people
By meeting new people you are sending a signal to your former boyfriend that you have a life outside of him or her. It also makes you feel better when you meet new people, so you don't feel as bad about breaking the friendship.
- New people can replace your old friend, making you less sad about the lost friendship.
- Don't make the same mistake over and over by getting attached to people whose personalities are very similar to that of your former boyfriend.
- You have a right to protect your own happiness. If your friend robs you of your happiness, it is an unhealthy friendship.
- Don't get stuck in a bad friendship because you feel guilty. Think about your own well-being.
- If you have to break up with a friend, do it. But if he/she only has a month to live, don't do it. Then be there for him/her.
- Don't ignore the symptoms of a bad friendship. Unless you change something about it, it usually doesn't get better on its own.
- Resist the urge to tell people about your former boyfriend's flaws. If you do this, chances are you will be treated the same.