How to part with a Friend as cleanly and painlessly as possible

How to distance yourself from a friend

Breaking up with a friend is one of the hardest things… and it’s even harder if he’s your best friend. Not only because our friendships are sometimes more intimate and intimate than romantic ones, but also because friendships are subject to fewer rules. While the novel often follows set expectations (first date rules, monogamy commitments, getting down on one knee, divorce settlements), friendships are usually unique in something and probably less written.

And because we keep our friends so close, but we don’t have any social recommendations to end that intimacy, it’s important to do it as cleanly and painlessly as possible. By “clean” and “painless”, I mean that the breakup should be as intentional and surgical as possible. To avoid pain, avoid messy uncertainty, mixed messages and false hopes that prolong events and play a tug of war with everyone’s emotions.

But most importantly, it’s your job to take care of yourself. Yes, you really cared about this person (and probably still care), so you will want to put this friendship a worthy end to his suffering, but your main priority is yourself.

What not to do:

Don’t fight because you’re too cowardly to break up like an adult.
Do not stop calling them, do not disappear or become their “ghosts”. It is more difficult for everyone to move on when there is no suitable ending.
Don’t do it with a text message (unless you back it up with a phone call or a meeting).
Don’t blame them for everything. Take responsibility for your own things.
Don’t break up with them unless you’re sure you’re done with the relationship. Don’t dance the breakup dance to make up.
Friends sometimes grow in different directions until they have nothing in common.
Friends sometimes grow in different directions until they have nothing in common.

Why do you want to break our friendship?

Because relationships are one-sided.
If you are always someone who initiates, invites, helps, includes and makes plans, then all relationships are your job. You may begin to feel that it’s just a thankless job and not worth it. When you’re always someone who plans, pays, drives and organizes everything you do together as friends, it can be exhausting. It’s even worse when you do all the work of keeping in touch, but they just complain, make unreasonable demands, make you wait, or don’t show up at all. When you start to feel that your only role is a patron, a secondary character or a close friend, maybe it’s time to move on.

Because you give more than you get
For friendship to work, each of you needs something to offer. It doesn’t have to be the same (I scratch your back and you scratch me), but it has to be balanced (I make dinner and you bring dessert, or you make me laugh and I make you feel appreciated). When you put time, energy and even money into a relationship but don’t get much in return, it may be time to invest elsewhere.

Because they cause drama, trauma and frustration.
Some people live in a constant high-risk drama. I don’t mean someone who is out of luck, but someone who seems to be constantly fighting, waging wars, making bad decisions and making life more difficult than it should be. They balance on the brink of disaster and continue to wait for you to save them, or worse, try to drag you behind them.

Because they make you feel bad about yourself.
Friendship is supposed to consist of mutual appreciation, but some “friends” do not keep their end of the bargain. If a “friend” behaves more like an enemy, insulting you, humiliating you, criticizing your decisions, belittling your achievements, competing with you or trying to outdo you, or not appreciating your friendship, and if spending time with them inevitably makes you feel bad about yourself, it may be time to re-qualify them as more than just a “friend”.

Because they have a negative impact on their life and livelihoods.
If a friend forces you to do stupid or dangerous things, make wrong decisions, endanger yourself OR others, or take uncomfortable risks, then friendship is simply a bad idea.

Because they weren’t there when you really needed them.
Sometimes it takes tragedy to realize that your friends are not really close to YOU. An illness, a breakup, a divorce or a financial failure can show you who is really covering your back (and who is not).

Because you just can’t agree on important issues.
Of course, we don’t expect our friends to agree with us on everything, but there are some important topics that you can’t miss. Racism, politics and human rights issues can be irreconcilable differences that simply cannot be overcome.

Because you don’t have anything in common anymore.
Sometimes you think that you have a lot in common with the person, but it turns out that this is not so. Other times, friends simply evolve in different directions: professionally, financially, politically, socially or spiritually, their personalities no longer coincide. Life decisions, where to live, whether to marry or with whom, to have children or not, lead him in different directions. Maybe it was actually a calculation relationship from the very beginning, you just never realized it. There’s nothing else to talk about.

Toxic vs Obsolete Friendships

Before discussing how to break up with a friend, it is important to distinguish between a toxic relationship and one that has just gotten out of control. If a friend has become abusive, violent, threatening, or intimidating, your own safety should be your priority. The instructions below only apply if you do not feel fear or threat.

How to break up with a friend

Take the time and space you need to figure everything out before undertaking anything. Start with a retreat: return all the books you borrowed, cancel constant dinners, change your schedule to avoid meetings. Stop texting, calling and making plans. If they ask what it’s about, tell them that you just need a little time. In the meantime, talk to people who understand, keep a diary, or undergo therapy. Do what you have to do to make sure it’s right – not to have them in your life.
Choose your shipping method(s). Decide whether to do it in person or in writing. You can send a short, well-worded email, followed by a quick in-person meeting. If you’re texting, quickly end it with a phone call or a meeting, because we all know how lousy it is to break up with a text message. It is not easy to part with someone face to face, but it will be important for your long-term personal evolution.

Be direct, concise and honest about your feelings. Let it be short and sweet. Remember to use “I” statements instead of blaming them for everything. Don’t talk about what they could have done differently or how they could have fixed things if the relationship can’t be fixed. Don’t panic at the last minute by giving false hope. Perhaps the most sensible thing to do is stick to a carefully worded scenario. See examples of what needs to be said below.
Tell them that you no longer want to maintain a friendship with them. Yes, you have to be very clear. These words should be pronounced explicitly, not implied or implied.
Respect friendship (in the past tense). Recognize the importance of the relationship and take a moment to remember the good times and what you really appreciated about that person.

Give them a chance to respond. Listen to his answer, but do not get stuck in it, do not get involved in an argument or get into a protracted argument. This is not the time for an eye for an eye. If they send a long email, don’t join the fight, if they want to start a fight, don’t join the fight. Acknowledge your point and then get out as soon as possible.
Take the case to the end. After that, cut off the contact. If you accidentally see them somewhere, say hello cordially, but leave as soon as possible.

Examples of things to say when you break up with a friend

“I totally appreciate the good times we’ve had in the past, but I realize I need more now.”
“You and I always laugh a lot, but now I need to fill my life with people who completely understand, appreciate and support me.”
“Communication has become too difficult and I don’t want to try anymore.”
“The positives of our relationship are outweighed by the negatives.”
“I don’t feel emotionally protected or supported in our relationship.”
“I need to stop dating you because I end up doing things I regret and I’m trying to change my life.”
“You don’t have what I need in a friend and I don’t have what you need, and that won’t change.”
“You were once a great friend to me, but we grew up in different directions.”
“I want to surround myself with people who understand the path I’m taking today.”
“I don’t feel the same feelings for you anymore.”
“When we first met, we had a lot in common, but our lives took different twists and turns.”