How do you break up with friends?

when friendships come to an end top tips

I was sitting in a cafe typing away when I overheard the staff chatting.

“I just can’t be friends with him anymore, I haven’t got the time for it. But how do you like, break up with a friend?.”

This got me thinking. We’re all used to breaking up with love interests and partners, but there isn’t really a friend breakup etiquette. You can’t exactly text them and be like, ‘it’s over.’ Or can you?

Breaking up with friends

ending friendships how to

Not all friendships work out in the end

Some friendships can be toxic. Some just come to a natural end. Some just don’t work out. It’s handy when things fizzle out naturally on both sides, but if one friend is still keen – what do you do?? It’s really difficult.

It may seem horrible to think of cutting someone out of your life. But if they are bringing you more stress and don’t really bring anything to the friendship, maybe it is time for a breakup?

We only have limited time on this earth, so ideally, you want to spend it with people who make you happy. It is that simple.

If a romantic partner isn’t making us happy, we end the relationship. So why don’t we do the same with friendships?

Why do they drag on and on, becoming a burden we’d rather not have? 

Ghosting someone (without explanation) can be just as cruel

The guy in the cafe concluded that a friendship breakup isn’t a thing – but should it be? He said…

“Well, perhaps ghosting them is the only option.”

Though some may argue ghosting can be equally cruel. Why? Because the other person gets shut out with no explanation as to why. Sometimes it’s useful to have reasons for why a friendship can’t work. 

I’ve had a couple of people in my life, one friend and one family member, who have just cut me out with no explanation. This is very frustrating and not very mature. If you’ve got an issue, at least tell me what your issue is. Personally, I’d have preferred a formal breakup. Why? Because you get more closure. 

Reasons why friendships need to end

Friendships can come to an end for many reasons. Here are some issues that you might be having:

  • They don’t show up
  • You have to make all the effort
  • They are too negative
  • They are rude or disrespectful
  • Bullying issues
  • It’s just too much hard work to meet up with them

How to break up with friend

If your friendship comes to a natural end and fizzles out, that’s probably the easiest option. There might be a discussion or you both might just recognize it’s not working out and a natural distance starts to build. There’s no heartache on one side, and you don’t have to go through an official break up moment. Phew!

However, often, one person in the friendship decides they are done and leaves a trail of destruction in their wake. It shouldn’t have to be that way. It should be more accepting to end friendships when they are becoming counter-productive. 

The word ‘friend’ means ‘a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.

It makes absolutely no sense to hang on to friendships that are toxic. If you’ve got no affection towards that friend anymore, there probably isn’t much of a friendship there to salvage. 

Breaking up with a friend can be particularly painful. You may not want to let them go, but you know that you must. You may recognise that the other person will be offended, but you have to look out for yourself. 

If you’ve been friends with someone for a long time and invested a lot of time, effort and love for them, a friend breakup can really affect you. Is there a way to do it respectfully and can things be ended amicably, just like in some relationships between partners? Yes, of course you can, but you need to approach with caution. 

  • Be honest but be kind
  • Think about what you want to say in advance
  • Listen and hear what they have to say
  • Explain why, for you, the friendship needs to end
  • Listen to what they have to say
  • Try to end things in a respectful way

Moving on – it’s time to let go

After a friendship has ended, it can be difficult to move on. You may need to stop all contact in order for you to be able to move forward from the friendship. Just like getting over any relationship, it takes time – for both of you. You may have times where you miss what you had but just take a moment to remind yourself why the friendship wasn’t healthy. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *