11 Steps To Ending A Toxic Friendship So You Can Move On From The Hurt
Breaking-up with a friend is just as difficult — if not more so — than breaking up with a significant other. You have to face all of those hurt feelings, tears, the splitting of mutual assets, and the hardship of moving on. But sometimes, you need to end a friendship in order to preserve your own happiness.
If you have a friend who is constantly making you feel bad about yourself, betraying you, or causing you more stress than satisfaction, you might need to consider letting her go. Identifying a toxic friendship is not always easy, but if you have come to the realization that your friend is, in fact, toxic, it's important to break ties. There is no need to do more mental and emotional damage to yourself by trying to salvage a relationship with someone who is a bad influence on your life.
So what is the proper way to end a friendship? The last thing you want to do is simply ghost on someone. Not only is it ineffective, it's also rude. You don't want to sink to her level. And, especially if she was your BFF, it's important to have a conversation about what happened. You deserve a chance to say what you're feeling, as well as the opportunity for closure.
Having that conversation, however, can be very difficult. Confrontations and break-ups are always hard, and when you have to have one with your BFF it's even worse. If you want to be able to move on from the friendship in a healthy way, you need to know how to navigate the situation.
1. Plan What You Are Going To Say
Breaking up with your BFF won't be easy,. To help with the conversation, consider writing a script (or at least, making notes) of what you want to say. This will help you stay on track and also prepare for potential backlash.
2. Be Kind
Breakups are tough, whether with an SO or a BFF. And it's always harder on the person who's getting broken up with, so make sure you do it in a sympathetic way. The nicer you are, the better she will react to the situation. And if she does start to get angry, stay calm. If you get angry in return, the discussion will turn into a blow-out fight.
3. Tell The Truth
Honesty really is the best policy. And although you don't want to just deluge her with a list of her worst qualities, don't totally shy away from the facts. Explain to her why you feel the need to end the friendship, and tell her that the relationship is no longer a healthy or positive one for you. This way, maybe she will be able to learn from her actions.
4. Don't Blame Her
Even if you know that the deterioration of your friendship is entirely her fault, don't go laying blame. If you accuse her of being the toxic half of your duo, she will immediately go on the defensive, which will make it even more difficult to communicate or reason with her. You, of course, don't have to take the blame yourself — just put things in more general terms. So instead of "You are a bad friend," try "We just aren't meshing anymore," or "I feel like our relationship is causing me more hurt than joy."
5. Suggest A Break
Hearing that you want to completely terminate your friendship will probably be very hard on your BFF. Saying you want to take a break softens the blow, while still offering an ending. It also leaves the option to rekindle the friendship if she is able to see the error of her ways and work to become a better friend.
6. Make It A Clean Break
Once you've established that you are going to end the relationship, actually end it. Don't text or call her, don't meet for coffee a week later. Out of sight, out of mind. It will be much easier for both of you to mourn the loss of your friendship if you're not in each other's orbits.
7. Unfollow Her
Just like it's a bad idea to stalk an ex-lover, it's also a bad idea to keep tabs on an ex-friend. Social media paints a very stilted picture of someone's life — showing only the best, most Instagram-worthy moments of their week. Seeing this carefully curated version of your friend's life will only make you feel bad about yourself, and may cause you to consider reaching out to her, only to leave you hurt again.
8. Don't Divvy Up Mutual Friends
Don't fight over your mutual friends. This is an issue between you and her, and no one else needs to be involved. Even if your other gal pals want to gossip about what happened, respectfully decline. Explain in a very unbiased way what happened: "Our relationship had become unhealthy, and I was getting hurt/betrayed/used too much," and then stop the conversation. It's the mature thing to do, and your other friends will admire you for it.
9. ...And Ask Those Friends To Be Respectful
Let your other friends know what happened, and ask them to be understanding of the situation. Tell them you probably won't attend events she will also be at, and that for the time being it's important that you keep your distance. But also let them know that you don't want to lose them as friends, and make an effort to see them without her being around.
10. Backpedal If She Won't Accept The Breakup
Sometimes people just won't quit. Even though you've ended the friendship, she may not be willing to accept that. If this is the case, and you can't seem to completely cleanse of her, then backpedal the relationship. Stop reaching out to her, and when she does reach out to you be kind but distant. Understand in your mind that this friendship no longer exists, and that she is just an old acquaintance who still contacts you. Don't give her the power or importance of being your BFF anymore.
11. Be Civil
The end of your friendship doesn't need to be World War III — but it has the potential to be. Try not to fight, and when you do see her after the fact, do your best to be polite. It will definitely be difficult to treat someone nicely who has hurt you, but be the bigger person. The less drama the situation entails, the easier your transition out of friendship will be. You'll be able to move on and be a happier person, no longer influenced by her toxic behaviors.