How to End a Friendship Peacefully
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By Anna O'Connell/Posted: Nov 10 2014
How to End a Friendship Peacefully

It’s great to have a huge circle of friends, but sometimes you just have to let a friend go. Maybe you’ve outgrown them, or maybe you just don’t get along anymore. Whatever the reasons, these tips will help you end the friendship as peacefully and with as little drama as possible.

Consider Saving the Friendship

Not having as much in common doesn’t necessarily spell doom for a friendship. Unless the differences are extreme, it might be worth saving the friendship rather than burning a bridge that you can’t rebuild down the road.

Sometimes having a good friend to lean is more important than one little argument. Ask yourself if the point of the argument is really going to matter five or ten years down the road or in the grand scope of your life. If it’s not, you shouldn’t let it be such a huge issue now.

Try taking a break for a few days or limiting the amount of time that you spend together. If you decide that you just can’t stand having this person in your life any longer, you might have to close the door on the friendship.

Don’t Pull a Disappearing Act

Keep your friend’s feelings in mind. Remember, you shared secrets, laughter, and probably tears with this person at one time. Just dropping them with no explanation wouldn’t be right. Not only is it the coward's way out of the friendship, it will always leave them wondering what they did that made you run the other way.

Don’t Make Up Excuses

If you don’t want to carry on with the friendship, don’t say you’re sick if they call you and want to hang out. They’ll run into you while you’re out with other friends, or see pictures of you at a party that same night. It’s better to say you have other plans. Never hurt anyone’s feelings unnecessarily.

Sit Down for a Face to Face With Your Friend

Don’t email them, call them, or send them an electronic message by email or otherwise. Instead, arrange to get together and talk to them. Sit down, and tactfully explain how you feel. Be conscious of the words you use, and make a point of not being demeaning while you’re doing it.

To prevent the conversation from turning into a heated argument, use "I" statements instead of "you" statements. Instead of saying, "you do this all the time," say, "I feel like…" That way you won’t come off like a jerk, and your friend won’t become defensive (hopefully).

You might find that your friend had no idea about how you’re feeling, and is willing to make changes that might save the friendship. If not, make sure your friend understands how you feel and that the friendship just isn’t working.

Don’t Talk Behind Their Back Afterward

Once you’ve ended the friendship, don’t go into the details with other people. Lashing out on Facebook or talking behind other people’s backs only winds up in a sea of unending drama. If you truly want to end your friendship peacefully, walk away from it, and move on quietly. Why it ended is no one else’s business.

Be Pleasant Going Forward

After all is said and done, keep in mind that you will run into this person again from time to time. Prepare yourself mentally to handle it maturely, regardless of your age. Don’t be rude, don’t snicker, and don’t ignore them. Just smile, and say hello before walking on by. Burning bridges never helped anyone, and by maintaining a level of politeness you’re ensuring that no one can ever say you handled the situation badly.

Sometimes ending a friendship is the hardest breakup of all. Have you ended a friendship recently? How did you handle it?

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Comments (8)
dishu  - i could have simplified it, in just 3 lines ! - Nov 18 2014 - Like
AzsiaCarmela  - How to end a friendship: Consider saving the friendship. That makes no sense. Then there's the simple fact of if you're getting rid of friends they weren't real friends in the first place. So...that's just. No stop it. You have to be a colossal moron to not to know how to be a good person and end a friendship cordially. Wow. - Nov 16 2014 - Like
MrSon  - Most of the times when I end friendships it is because the friend is too negative for me. If I hang around extremely pessimistic people sometimes, I get really down on myself and my life. So that's why I end friendships. You just have to know what is right for you. - Nov 13 2014 - Like
YanoZ  - All of my friends do the disappearing act to me (and prettying all the bad things and don'ts listed in here) - Nov 13 2014 - Like
dragonlover  - WTF!!! Like why make friends if you're going to F***king get rid of them - Nov 11 2014 - Like
Amnesiahaze  - If only I had friends _>_ - Nov 11 2014 - Like
helldroppr  - Maybe it's me, but when I end a friendship I don't call them "my friend." Burning bridges helped the hell out of me. - Nov 10 2014 - Like
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