How To End A Friendship Amicably
Strong and supportive friendships are an important part of life. However, holding onto friendships that have become difficult or even toxic can cause harm to your mental health. With that said, ending friendships can be difficult. We’re going to cover how you can tactfully end a friendship so you can focus on healthier relationships.
When Is It Time To End A Friendship?
From an outsider’s perspective, it’s often easy to see when a friendship has developed toxic characteristics. However, it can be more difficult to see these changes when you are one of the people involved in the relationship.
While many people recognize the harm a toxic romantic relationship can cause, it’s important to recognize that platonic relationships can also cause harm. If you find your friendship is not meeting the standards for a healthy friendship, you may find the relationship straining.
Here are some signs that may indicate it is time to end your friendship.
They get jealous when you spend time with other friends.
Interacting with your friend leaves you exhausted, upset, or frustrated.
They insult your interests, goals, and/or choices, leading to a decrease in your self-confidence.
They always choose how you spend time together and are not open to your opinions.
You find you cannot be your true self around them.
They make you feel guilty when you cannot spend time with them.
They do not respect your boundaries, and text/call you more than you have expressed you would like.
It’s important to note that experiencing one of these signs, doesn’t mean you need to end your friendship. It can also mean that you just need to honestly communicate your thoughts and desires with your friend. If you find your friendship has not changed after an honest conversation, it may be time to end the relationship.
How To End A Friendship
Whether your friendship is frustrating, boring, or disrespectful, taking precise steps can make ending the friendship as easy as possible. While the ‘breaking up’ process can be difficult, you may find that you feel better on the other side if your actions align with your beliefs and morals. However, if you act out of anger and rage, you may find yourself regretting your actions later.
Communicate Honestly And Effectively
If you know why you need to end your friendship, it’s best to communicate with your friend honestly and transparently. Let your friend know you would like to meet and have a conversation about your friendship so they are not blindsided.
When you talk, the aim is to honestly express your feelings. However, this doesn't mean degrading the party or belittling their character or personal traits.
We’ll look at an example for further clarification. Let’s say you feel like your friend is no longer taking your interests and thoughts into account and only spending time with you when it is convenient for them. Rather than calling them ‘selfish, rude, and inconsiderate’ you could say ‘I feel like I am not able to fully express my interests around you, and am finding it difficult to connect when you don’t respond to my requests to spend time together.’
By framing your thoughts around statements like ‘I feel’ you move the conversation towards your thoughts and feelings rather than your friend’s flaws.
With this said, it’s important to realize that even if you are polite and tactful, the conversation may not be happy and carefree. Depending on the nature of the friendship, the other individual may be secretly harboring similar feelings that are hesitant to express or they could be shocked and angry when you express your feelings.
If you feel like your friend may become angry or violent, it’s best to meet in a public place or have a conversation over the phone.
Consider Writing A Letter
If you are worried your friend will become violent or that you won’t be able to express your true feelings, you may want to consider writing a letter. Some individuals find that it is easier to write rather than express their thoughts. If you decide to send a letter, you can choose whether or not you want to meet with your friend to discuss your thoughts and obtain closure on the relationship.
Steps To Take After Ending The Friendship
After you end a friendship, it’s best to distance yourself from this person. This distance may help create closure for both individuals.
Even if you ended a friendship on amicable terms, you may feel guilty or worry about the feelings of your former friend. These feelings are valid and do not necessarily mean you should re-engage in the friendship. However, it’s also important to recognize that just because your friendship is not right at this moment, it doesn’t mean you can’t return to it later.
If you think you just need a break from your friendship, you can speak with your friend to decide on an established check-in date. At this date, you can resume contact and see if you would like to continue the friendship.
Understand The Adverse Impacts Of Toxic Friendships
While it’s often difficult to end unhealthy friendships, the effects of not ending them may be even more difficult. Adverse and stressful relationships have been linked to poorer health when other factors were taken into account. Prolonged stress can also cause issues including headaches, shortness of breath, and increased heart rate.
Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Ending a friendship can be a difficult, intimidating, and scary process. However, you don’t have to complete these actions alone.
Whether you need help determining whether or not to end the friendship or are seeking support to end the friendship, connecting with a therapist may help. If you decide that you would like to end the friendship, a therapist can help support you during and after the process.
As mentioned above, it’s natural to feel a combination of guilt, doubt, grief, and relief after ending the friendship. You may also feel that you don’t desire healthy relationships, or that your friend is right. Forming a relationship with a therapist may help you improve your self-esteem and develop supportive friendships. However, connecting with a therapist in person may be intimidating or difficult to fit into your schedule. If that’s the case, online therapy may be a more convenient option.
Research has suggested that online therapy is just as effective as traditional therapy when it comes to treating conditions including depression, anxiety, and adjustment disorder. This suggests that online therapy would be just as effective as in-person therapy for improving feelings of guilt and low confidence that may come with ending a friendship.
While healthy friendships are an important part of life, sometimes friendships become distant or unhealthy. If a platonic relationship is negatively impacting your mental health, it may be time to end the friendship. Remember to be honest and upfront with your feelings, and don’t be afraid to ask for help in navigating this transition.
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