How to Break Up with a Friend

I’ve been there. You see an old friend doing something that you know they aren’t happy with, and it kills you to watch them put their life on hold as they go through the motions of another day. It’s hard to watch someone you care about waste their potential and stay in an unhealthy situation, but there are ways to help them break out of their rut and back into their life. Here are some tips on how to break up with a friend and get them back on track to living the life they want to live.

Don’t end it over text or email

It may sound cliche, but you don’t want your digital breakup to be immortalized in screenshots or forwarded emails. If there is any sensitive information that needs to be communicated—and assuming you two are still on decent terms—it’s best to sit down face-to-face and discuss it in person. It may not feel as comfortable, but it will have an added benefit of providing closure.

Pick your location carefully

The old adage about not being able to choose your family applies equally to friends. But because you can’t choose who’s in your circle, choosing your friends wisely is all the more important. Don’t let yourself be pressured into hanging out with people who make you feel less than happy—and certainly don’t feel like you have to hang out if they’re going out of their way to bully or belittle you.

Check in

Put yourself in your friend’s shoes . Take a moment and ask yourself, How would I feel if my best friend did [blank]? Put yourself in your friend’s situation. Perhaps he has become so busy that he is unable to spend quality time with you anymore. In that case, try dropping subtle hints, such as: I know you are really busy these days, but I miss our times together.

Tell them how you feel

A difficult situation arises when you want to end your friendship, but your friend doesn’t seem willing to let it go. By stealthing your relationship—secretly ending it and hoping they won’t notice—you can avoid confrontation and make clean breaks in all of your relationships. It may not be ideal, but at least everyone will feel as though they got what they wanted out of their breakup.

Know when it’s time to let go

Breaking up is hard—there’s no denying that. However, it’s important to understand when it’s time to let go of friendships that aren’t adding value and moving on. In short, not every friendship is worth keeping around. And sometimes you need to break up with friends before they break up with you. To make sure your friendships are adding value, here are some questions worth asking yourself: What am I getting out of my relationship? How does our friendship make me feel?

Set Boundaries

The fact that you and your friend no longer have the same relationship you once did doesn’t mean it’s okay for her to start monopolizing all of your time. It may be easier said than done, but setting boundaries is essential in any friendship breakup. If she starts saying things like I need to see you so we can talk about [insert frustrating problem here], it may be time for you to call an intervention—or simply block her number from calling or texting yours.


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