Have you been in a position to end a friendship? It’s not a pretty picture, is it? Well, matters of the heart tend to have that effect. We never seem comfortable with the question ‘how to end a friendship?’
But culling toxic friendships is a powerful move. It doesn’t make us insensitive to friends. Rather, our clarity of what we want to invest our energy in becomes evident. Taking red flags seriously is a sign of a healthy mind.
You can decide who you want to spend your time with. You can decide whose association to welcome. And you might as well associate with people who show their interest in your company. You definitely feel it when a friendship runs its course, don’t you?
Healthy and secure people tend to make these difficult choices in all relationships. Friendships are no different!
The purpose of a friendship can be one or more of the following:
- To network
- To get reassurance
- To have fun
- To clarify your mind
If a friendship brings none of the four to the table, you need to ask yourself a difficult question. ‘Do I need to stay invested in this friendship?’
But, is it always easy to spot when these purposes are lacking in our friendships? Well, you know where this is going!
How do you decide when is the right time to end a friendship? And more importantly, how to end a friendship?
Signs a Friendship is Ending
1. You don’t miss them anymore
The distance & lack of contact do not bother you. Your friend does not make a difference to you anymore. You feel disconnected from them. You do not seek their attention.
2. Conversations with them don’t feel authentic
You would rather not talk to them. You have nothing left to discuss with them. Your texts seem forced. Your calls feel like an obligation. You do not wish to start conversations with your friend.
There is no substance or depth to conversations with them. You feel like the conversations aren’t for you at all. You cannot take their areas of focus seriously. Conversations become burdensome.
3. You don’t look forward to their company
They seem to build an unwelcoming space for you. You do not feel the need to catch up with your friend. You would rather invest your energy in somebody else.
Your friend does not seem to add value to your time with them lately. You consider meeting them a waste of time. You avoid & cancel plans with them.
4. You don’t feel appreciated around them
You do everything in your power to make your friend feel comfortable. It can be a very disappointing experience to feel unappreciated by them in return.
You begin to detach from this friend as a result of this displeasure. Your actions are not validated or even acknowledged around them.
They do not seem to be happy for you when you expect them to be. You may begin to regret your efforts that had come from a place of love for your friend.
5. You feel ignored or avoided
You feel alone in a crowd, especially more with your friend by your side. It feels rotten to get ignored by your dear one. You do not feel like you belong there anymore. Your plans with them stop going as planned.
You seem to be on a different wavelength. You do not feel attended to. Canceled plans become a just-another-Tuesday thing for you. You feel the need to adjust yourself to their distant behavior.
6. You feel the need to avoid making efforts for them
You do not wish to take the extra mile for your friend anymore. You try to stay away from a position of help or support. You avoid texting or calling them since you can never be sure if they appreciate it. You do not follow through on plans with your friend.
7. They loathe you more than they love you
They avoid meeting you in public. In groups, they pretend to not hear you. They speak ill of you behind your back. They hardly ever appreciate spending time with you. They are easily offended by your words or actions. You stop feeling like they have your back.
8. Their stories reach you last
They have stopped sharing stuff with you. You do not know much about the life they are living now. They hardly ever call you up to discuss a problem. They seem to have no urges to tell you anything anymore.
9. They make you feel lonely
You are not made to feel important by them. You do not feel welcomed when you interact with them. You feel like a burden on them.
They don’t involve you in conversations when in a group. You don’t feel heard around them. They overpower you. You feel lost. Their eyes never meet yours. They always seem more interested in somebody else. You don’t feel like a priority.
10. You start looking for excuses to end the friendship
You cannot continue to bear this feeling. You wish to cut contact & subtly move away from your friend. You don’t want to go through any more displeasure caused by their presence. You are always looking for spotting their flaws.
You find them very problematic. You do not appreciate the way they talk or behave. You start noticing reasons why you should stay away from them. Their well-wishers & friends don’t interest you. You stop considering them a friend at heart.
How to End a Friendship without Hurting Feelings
One way friendships end is due to two people being disrespectful toward each other. Putting each other down is no way to communicate your concerns. In such cases, the toxic communication acts as a closure in itself. You say nothing more.
Another common way friends drift apart is by seeking revenge. People tend to use social media to voice their concerns. They post negatively about their friend. They seek sympathy from strangers by demonizing their friends.
Spreading negativity helps nobody. Nothing good can blossom from a rotten approach. Yet, many people choose to go for it. More often than not, they end up ruining a friendship forever.
More recently, texts have become a common medium for breakups. Friends tend to part ways over text. This isn’t healthy. You may fall for misunderstandings over text. The chances are undeniable. But it’s one of the most used ways by people to end friendships.
You may have done something similar at some point in your life. The manner may have been a little different. But watching a friendship end is never a pretty picture.
So you may not have noticed your manner at all, back then. You may not have paid attention to how you affected your friend. You may not have bothered about your impact on their mental health, even!
These are a few methods you can consider:
The Written Way
Breakups can be taxing & burdensome. It is easy to lose track of your thoughts mid-confrontation. Not having clarity can worsen the situation. It is way better to write your concerns down. Writing helps you gain perspective, cool down, & be as concise or precise as you wish.
Writing your friend a letter is a good way to go! Letters ease the tension. They also allow the reader to comprehend your emotions better. That is because you take the time to explore them in the first place.
Moreover, writing a letter can feel way safer! Your friend may have been violent toward you or anybody. In that case, you may want to maintain physical distance from them.
You do not owe a goodbye to somebody who has abused you. You need not feel the need for closure in such a friendship. If you wish, you can officially end things through a letter.
The Spoken Way
If confrontation isn’t a task, have an in-person conversation with your friend. You may want to pick a suitable place to have this conversation at. The place must ensure that you & your friend will keep yourselves from making a scene.
Here, you may be able to better explore your concerns. The conversation must be open to feedback & constructive criticism. You must allow your friend to speak.
Affirming when your friend meets your boundaries is a good trait. Letting your friend know when they are treating you right can go a long way.
The friendship might revive due to positive affirmations. Being somebody with an open mind is important. Only then can your comprehension be accurate, more often than not.
It is important to be mindful. You must know how you treat your friend. Here are a few ways you can take your steps. These are some healthy ways of ending a friendship. You may use combinations of the following strategies. It all depends on what suits you best.
Ways to End a Friendship in a Graceful Manner
If you think your life without your friend would look better, you should end the friendship. One way to do so is by communicating your concerns exactly the way they are.
You must understand that clarity is very helpful. It is better to let your friend know your intentions & feelings than to keep them guessing.
Effective communication can make the process of ending a friendship much easier. Dr. Amir Levine, in his book ‘Attached‘, speaks of effective communication. According to him, there are five straightforward principles of effective communication:
- Wear your heart on your sleeve.
- Focus on your needs.
- Be specific.
- Don’t blame.
- Be assertive and non-apologetic.
As you communicate your concerns using these principles, gaining clarity will become easier. These principles will help you better understand if a friend is compatible with you.
Once you see its positive effects, “using effective communication will become second nature”, says Dr. Levine.
Feel free to talk about how they have made you feel. Let them know what bothers you about them in a polite manner. Make sure to be empathetic as you speak. Avoid lashing out, since it will make the process look worse for you.
All in all…
Remember: Effective communication is the key to ending toxic or unwanted friendships. Whether by writing or by speaking, communicating your concerns is essential. Your life will change with the friendships you keep. But it will change for the better with the friendships you don’t!