Friendships are an important part of our lives, but sometimes they can become toxic or simply run their course. Over time, you may notice that your friendships may change and you may be wondering if you should continue the friendship. Let’s talk about some common reasons to end a friendship that may help you decide if it’s time for you to consider parting ways with your friend.
Let’s face it. Even with close friends, a disagreement or two can be expected. But, if you see patterns of negativity that outweigh the positive ones, it may be time for some serious conversations.
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What are some reasons to stop being friends with someone?
I want to begin by saying that the decision to end a friendship is a very serious one. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of meaningful friendships.
Here are some signs that it may be time to go your separate ways:
1. You feel drained after spending time with them.
Being with friends should be good for your mental health. You should feel better after you’ve spent time with those you consider your friends.
If you find that you consistently feel tired or unhappy after spending time with a friend, it may be a sign that the friendship is no longer serving you.
2. There has been a betrayal of trust.
Trust is a major part of a relationship. If a friend shares private conversations with someone else, it could cause a major problem in a friendship. It is difficult to build back trust once it has been broken.
In situations like these, both parties must prioritize their feelings and determine if attempting to rebuild the relationship will bring them more joy than pain. While I’m a huge proponent of forgiving others, I also believe that forgiveness does not mean the relationship is automatically restored.
3. You’ve become constant rivalries.
Friends should love to see each other doing well. Healthy competition is fine, but if you are constantly trying to outdo each other, that’s a problem.
True friends should support each other as you’re getting promotions, reaching goals doing the things that you’ve dreamed about. If your friend isn’t one of your biggest supporters, it may be time to rethink the relationship.
4. They consistently bring drama or negativity into your life.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t love a good gossip session with my friends every now and then. But, that shouldn’t be the source of all of your conversations.
If your friend is always complaining, gossiping, or causing drama, it may be time to reevaluate the friendship.
5. You no longer have common interests or goals.
No two people are exactly alike, so it’s highly unlikely that you and your friends will have exactly the same interests and goals. You do, however, need to have some things in common or at least be supportive and respectful of each other’s differences.
As we grow and change, our interests and goals may shift. If you find that you and your friend no longer share common ground, it may be time to move on.
6. They consistently disrespect your boundaries or values.
Boundaries are important, even with friends. No one wants to be friends with someone who constantly crosses lines that you have clearly discussed.
A true friend would not consistently ignore or disrespect your boundaries or value. If your friend does this, especially after multiple conversations about it, you may need to consider letting it go.
7. You feel like you’re putting in all the effort.
Friendships should be a two-way street. One person should not be putting in more effort than the other.
Are you the one who is always reaching out? Always making plans? Always apologizing when you have a disagreement? If so, it may be time to move on.
8. You have irreconcilable differences.
Another frequent reason why friendships may come to an end is simply growing apart over time. As we age and our lives go in different directions, it’s easy for us to drift away from old friends. This can include differences in culture, values, expectations, and lifestyle.
If the two of you have been growing further and further apart, then it may be best for both you and your friend if you simply respect each other’s differences and understand that it may be time for you to go your separate ways.
9. Your friend has become obligatory.
If either you or your friend feels like you have to maintain the relationship out of a sense of duty or obligation, rather than genuine enjoyment or connection, your relationship has become obligatory. This can lead to feelings of resentment and frustration, as the friendship may no longer be fulfilling or enjoyable for either party.
If your relationship begins to feel like it’s a must-do rather than a want-to, it might be time to think about whether you should continue being friends.
Remember, it’s okay to end a relationship if it’s no longer serving you. It can be difficult, but sometimes it’s necessary for our own well-being.
Questions to ask yourself before ending a friendship.
Ending a friendship is very serious. Ask yourself these questions before making any drastic moves:
- Have I communicated my concerns or issues with my friend?
- Have I given my friend a chance to address the issues and work on improving the friendship?
- Am I willing to forgive and move forward, or is the issue too significant to overlook?
- How will ending this friendship impact me and my mental health?
- How will ending this relationship impact my friend?
Write the answers to these questions in a journal so you can truly reflect on your responses. Friendships are important so they need to be handled with care.
Tips for having a difficult conversation with your friend
Conversations about going your separate ways can be incredibly tough. In fact, most people opt for ghosting their friend instead of engaging in a difficult discussion about ending the relationship.
As tough as it is, the mature thing to do is to have an in-depth conversation about why you think your friendship has run its course.
Here are some tips for having a difficult conversation with your friend:
Choose the right time and place for the conversation.
Avoid choosing places where you’ll be easily distracted or interrupted. You also want to be wise about where you decide to have the conversation in case you anticipate it going awry.
Be clear and specific about the issue you want to discuss.
Think about everything you want to discuss ahead of time. It might even be helpful to make notes. You want to try your best to stay on topic and keep the conversation from going too far off track.
Use “I” statements to express your feelings and avoid blaming language.
This is not the time to play the blame game. Try to make the conversation more about you than the other person. Do not use this time to attack your friend or cause hurt for no reason.
Listen actively to your friend’s perspective and try to understand their point of view.
Having a mature conversation with someone means allowing their perspective to be heard. Try not to dominate the conversation. Listen actively and don’t let your phone or other distractions get in the way.
Stay calm and avoid getting defensive or confrontational.
If you find yourself getting overly defensive during the conversation, end the conversation. If your emotions are all over the place or you’re on the defense about everything your friend says, you’re not going to get anywhere with the conversation. Try your best to stay calm during the conversation.
End the conversation with a positive note and a plan for how to stay connected moving forward.
Even with difficult conversations, you should strive to end the conversation on a positive note. You should also devise a plan for how (or if) you will stay connected moving forward.