Ending Friendships

Ending a friendship

Friendships come and go.  It is a rare blessing when a single friendship lasts a lifetime, but many times, life happens.  

Perhaps you moved, got married, divorced, have a new job, or found new interests.  Sometimes you just simply move on to new friends and the old ones fall away naturally.

There's no need for discussion, no hard feelings, you just stop making time for each other.  Your friendship transitions rather than coming to an abrupt end.

Or, on the other end of the spectrum, your relationship changes in ways that you can't accept.  Perhaps your friend took advantage of you, developed an addiction, became abusive, or broke your trust in some way.  If you're unable to find help or a mutual resolution for a toxic friendship, you may have to set boundaries.

This is difficult, but not impossible.

Talk it Out

When the situation comes to a head, or even before, if you can see it coming, you should talk with your friend.  Forget about texts or emails.  And definitely never post anything about the issue on social media.  This is between you and your friend.

Arrange to meet or, if this is not possible, have a phone conversation. 

Tell your friend in a loving, compassionate manner what it is about her behavior that is hurtful to you and draw the line.  Do your best to leave any judgement out of the conversation. 

Simply share:  "It hurts when you ____________________.  Please know that I treasure our friendship, but I can't support or condone this any longer.  I need to say good-bye."

It's best not to consciously end a friendship on a dramatic note.  However, you may not always have control of this.  The dialogue above keeps it simple, but the rest depends on your friend's reaction.  If you know her well enough, you probably already know what that reaction will be.

Prepare Yourself

If you know what possible reaction(s) your friend will have, you can prepare yourself accordingly.  It's never easy to hear a long, drawn out response, nor a defensive one. 

It can also feel like a sucker punch when the response is, "Well, good-bye then."  And that's that.

Farewells are difficult.  Especially when they mean you are about to lose someone you care for deeply.

Have something planned for the time after your talk.  Even if it's going to the grocery for a pint of ice cream.  When you have a plan, it gives you something to look forward to and can help alleviate the sting of losing a friendship.

Keep It Between You

No one else needs to know what has happened between you and your friend.  Of course, you may need someone to vent to or a shoulder to cry on.  But never say too much, share only facts, and do this with someone who doesn't know the other person involved. 

Continuing to be the kind, trustworthy person you are will go a long way with your former friend as well as current friends.

Ending friendships may be difficult and painful, but it's better than continuing a toxic relationship, and possibly damaging the ultimate friendship . . . the one you have with yourself.

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