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Q: After doing some serious soul searching, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t want to stay friends with a certain friend. Whenever we see each other, I always feel super drained and I just don’t think we have good vibes anymore. I really do believe parting ways is for the best. Do you have any tips on how to break the news to her? I really don’t want it to be super awk and I’d like to do it without any dramz.
A: Hi friend! Well, first of all, it’s highly commendable that you’ve come to this realization. Toxic friendships are no fun, and breaking up with a friend is just as important as breaking up with a bae who doesn’t make you feel good about yourself. Sometimes breaking up with a friend is simple — for example, if you both determine your friendship has run its course and just kinda let it play out. Other times, it can be just as complicated and devastating as a romantic heartbreak. Either way, it’s never easy and here’s some advice on how to best deal with it.
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1. Determine Your Route
Deciding on how you want to end your friendship comes down to how she might feel about you. If you suspect that she’s not vibing you either, then you might want to slowly phase out the friendship (similar to ghosting). In this instance you wouldn’t text her back as often and you wouldn’t make plans to hang out. Soon, the texts disappear and you’re both out of each other’s lives. Howeverrrr, if you suspect she doesn’t feel the same way, then it’s up to you to have a formal IRL “talk” (because you’re a respectable, decent human soul who has integrity and empathy).
2. Plan Out What You’ll Say
You don’t want to plan out a whole script, but you do want to have your key points down in case you get nervous or put on the spot. Plus, you want to make it super clear to her why you’ve decided to end the friendship. Providing specific reasons will give her the opportunity to either clear things up or learn from her mistakes for the next friend. It’s best to use “I feel” statements without placing all the blame onto her. For example: “I feel like you’re judging me whenever we hang out,” or “I feel uncomfortable when you said those things to me.”
3. Pick a Time and Place
Choose a private place at a specific time that works for both of you. You want to have enough time to say what you need to say and listen to what she has to say in return. You don’t want to be rushed for time either, so make sure both the time and place works for both of you. You might want to choose a special coffee house or local hang-out spot that feels special to both of you.
4. Choose Kindness
Though you might want to launch into a huge speech about how badly you feel or how much you really don’t like her, try to refrain from meanness. Like any relationships, some friendships don’t work out not because someone’s a terrible person, but because you’re just not suited for one another. If you can choose kindness over meanness, which includes letting her know how much you’ve valued the friendship and wishing her the best, then the breakup doesn’t seem too bad and you can walk away with your head held high while she can find closure. Plus, you can nod to each other in the hallway rather than avoid total eye contact.
5. Let Your Squad Know
If you have mutual friends, then you’ll want to fill them in on what happened. This way they can help minimize the awk by not inviting you to the same pizza/movie nights and parties. By the way, you don’t have to be super specific about allll the details. You can simply say, “She and I are no longer friends” and leave it at that. You’ll be dealing with less drama if you keep it personal and private.
6. Grieve and Let Go
Breaking up with a friend can be just as hard as a romantic relationship. Be gentle with yourself, and allow yourself to grieve the loss of the friendship. Most importantly, don’t feel guilty for letting your friend go. You don’t have to be BFFs to have a meaningful friendship. Keep doing what you love, and be open to new friendships. A new friend is sure to be around the corner!