This Is Goodbye: How To Break Up With a Friend

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Breakups of all kinds objectively suck, but we often don’t talk about the platonic ones that can sometimes sting harder and involve more prolonged periods of mourning than romantic ones. Friend breakups are an inevitability for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’ve grown apart, or perhaps you don’t have anything in common anymore. Maybe you don’t even know why you were friends in the first place. Whatever the reason, we’ve figured out ways to make the platonic breakup land a little easier. 

Perhaps the soon-to-be ex-friend is just not someone you feel is adding to your life anymore. While part of being an adult is certainly using “no.” as a full sentence, so is having a conversation. It might feel easier to avoid making plans with that person for the foreseeable future, but you owe it to the other person to verbalize what’s happening. Psychology Today emphasizes that when you’re ready to have that conversation, make sure you center the talk “about yourself and your needs, not their wrongs.”

“Too often, people will rush in and place blame on a friend who had wronged them when they are making the decision to terminate a friendship. Next, the person being blamed will immediately jump in to defend themselves from the verbal assault. Conflicts may erupt that can transition rapidly from serious discussions to flat-out fights when blaming begins,” they explain, recommending avoiding phrases like, “‘You made me…’ or ‘You should never have…’” 

They claim that “by acknowledging your own feelings, you are recognizing what you do and do not want to experience within a friendship. By describing the action that created the negative feeling, you are acknowledging the behaviors that you will need to see as red flags in future relationships.”

“Shaming and blaming may provide a very temporary feeling of victory, but being open and honest about what you will and will not tolerate in relationships will yield a much longer sense of satisfaction,” they conclude.

You can even send texts recommended by therapists courtesy of Bustle. Licensed behavioral therapist Sherese Ezelle, LMHC, recommended to the publication that if you have a friend who is actively trying to tear you down or perhaps doesn’t support you like they used to, you can tell them simply: “It’s hard to say this but I have to be honest and put myself first and not continue this friendship.” Ezelle even suggests gently letting “them know that you won’t be available to hang out going forward.”

Sandy Sheehy, author of Connecting: The Enduring Power of Female Friendship, echoes these sentiments on Oprah.com. She implores anyone stuck in a toxic friendship or, more specifically, an enabling friendship to end it.  

"Maybe you started out as drinking pals or shared a shopping jones, but now you want to stop the behavior that brought you together," she says. "It's more responsible to admit that you don't think you can maintain intimacy and not binge than to pretend you can't see her because you've suddenly taken up scuba diving."

Tags: Friends, relationships

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Written By

Rose Low

Rose Low is a writer based in New York, with a background in social media strategy and reporting. She has a Masters from NYU and a love for romantic comedies. See Full Bio

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