When to End a Friendship

friends-holding-hands

Whoever said friends were forever?

Throughout the years I’ve gained many friends, and lost just as many. In some cases it was clear that the friendship was over. However, in most situations, the friendship seemed capable of being saved or worth saving. It seemed like these friendships were just going through a rough time and would get better with time and effort. Ultimately though, these friendships declined, as they were destined to.

These experiences weren’t all negative — one positive aspect is that they allowed me to understand the signs of a dead friendship. When many of these occur, I know it’s time to end the friendship:

1. The friendship is depressing

Friendship isn’t all about having a good time. True friends will stick around through the good and bad, and friends show their worth in life’s unhappiest situations. But if a friend is constantly pulling down instead of uplifting; if I feel worse rather than better after interacting with a certain friend, then it is a sign to let the friendship go.

2. The friend is gossipy

Most people are not fond of gossips, but when the gossip is your friend, what do you do? Some people will remain friends with a person who is known to be a gossip, safe in the idea that the friend would never gossip about them. This is an error: a person who is gossipy will tend to be so about everyone. You shouldn’t wait until the friend gossips about you to turn them loose.

3. The friendship is competitive

Unless you’re in high school it’s time to let go of your competitive friend. A friend who competes and shows envy instead of joy at your achievements is simply not worth it. Why stay in a friendship where you can’t share your greatest moments? A friendship is about reciprocation, not competition.

4. The friend plays the blame game

As with all relationships, friendships are a mutual undertaking and both sides are equally responsible for it. Yet some will blame their friend when things go wrong in the friendship, or outside of the friendship. Instead of realizing that this is a toxic relationship, their friends will take the blame and burden the responsibility. It is much less emotionally draining to simply end the friendship.

5. The friend is really a frenemy

Get rid of any friend whose actions your unsure of or who puts you down.  If you’re not sure whether your friend is a friend or an enemy, don’t worry about figuring it out. Just end the friendship.

6. The friendship is one-sided

Most friendships are not a perfect 50/50 give and take all the time. At times your friend will need you more, at other times you will require their help. But a friendship should not be one-sided in emotional or physical giving and help. Otherwise it’s not a friendship — one-sidedness is one of the most obvious signs of a dead or dying friendship.

Do you know when to end a friendship? What are some of your friendship deal-breakers?

See also:

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “When to End a Friendship

  1. Sometimes the friendship aren’t any of these things. A lot of times the friends become neutral or indifferent (they aren’t toxic or doing anything crazy). This is not to say that I wouldn’t be friends with people who are different from me, but sometimes both parties are just growing in completely different directions. C’est la vie.

    For example, I am becoming a more open-minded and adventurous person. I also have a lot more ambition. People who don’t think outside the box or are too complacent or they like to play victim without doing anything about it are traits that I increasingly dislike being around. The friendship might have worked when I first met them (because I was clueless and less open-minded myself)… but it becomes restrictive to be friends with these people as you grow.

    Flakiness and pretense is also another “deal breaker” to me. I can go weeks without seeing someone in person and still consider them a good friend, but if they still can’t stick to even sporadic commitments, see ya. As I get older, the more intolerance I have for people who can’t put the money where their mouth is, and I’m very quick to pick up on it.

  2. Hi Valerie,

    Thank you for reminding me of my number 7 — The friendship grows apart. Many times I write posts by hand first but I accidentally threw away the paper I wrote this post on. As I went to type it from memory I felt like I was missing something crucial but I didn’t have a whole lot of time to remember what it was. But yes, two people growing in opposite directions in life is probably one of the most common scenarios and one of the less obvious signs that the friendship should end. So thanks muchly. 🙂

    ‘Flakiness and pretense is also another “deal breaker” to me.’

    Good ones! I’m very much not fond of flakiness either. But I guess I don’t consider flaky people friends; i.e. the relationship never evolves to a friendship but stays at the point of acquaintanceship.

  3. I have some problems making new friends, so those that are formed are the good ones. It’s a good side of not being very sociable.

    Sometimes, I lose contact with a friend, but I don’t see them as “ex-friends”. I mean, I hope we could be friends again if we start interacting again.

  4. I just ended my friendship with my closest friend of ten years. There was some things she did in the past that I just couldnt get over. It wasnt over anything petty and if I told it here, people would say how could you stay friends with her after she did that but we were deeply attached to eachother because of all we had been through together. We both were there for eachother through the death of both of our parents. Her parents died a year apart from eachother in her early twenties and my mom died when I was 23, dad when I was 27. Without her during that time, I dont think I couldve made it but the friendship started to get more and more depressing considering we were attached mainly just for that reason and she was kinda a shitty friend in other aspects. It was something that just had to end but I doubt Ill ever be that close to another person again.

    As for that list, ive had alot of one sided friendships that ive had to let go of. Its always been kinda hard for me to find an equal friendship where we both can go to eachother about our problems and our joys. For some reason people always try to put me in the sidekick role.

  5. Mira,

    “I have some problems making new friends, so those that are formed are the good ones.”

    That’s good to hear.

    “Sometimes, I lose contact with a friend, but I don’t see them as “ex-friends”. I mean, I hope we could be friends again if we start interacting again.”

    I know… I miss some of my old friends. It’s hard to leave your old friends behind and I don’t think it’s necessary unless you just don’t get along anymore.

  6. Jessica,

    “I just ended my friendship with my closest friend of ten years. There was some things she did in the past that I just couldnt get over.”

    Sorry to hear that… and happy to hear that.

    “It wasnt over anything petty and if I told it here, people would say how could you stay friends with her after she did”

    I understand… I’ve stayed friends with people long after the friendship’s expiration date and people just wondered why. But like I said, I felt like our problems weren’t worth ending the friendship over. But they were.

    “my mom died when I was 23, dad when I was 27. “

    😦

    I had no idea. Thanks for telling us. I hope you’ve been coping well. *hugs*

    “Its always been kinda hard for me to find an equal friendship where we both can go to eachother about our problems and our joys.”

    Am I not your equal friend? 🙂

    Just kidding, but I do consider everyone here to be a friend of mine.

  7. Good article. I am actually dealing with these issues in my life right now. It’s tough cos someone can be a pretty good friend in a bunch of different areas but if the issues they focus on bum you out (i.e. number 1 on the list), then you have to limit your exposure to them. It’s particularly hard when you have mutual friends. I think if the friendship isn’t too bad you can try to cope by limiting exposure and dialing down the amount of time you spend with the person. Also, I agree with Jessica–I’m concerned that if I stop hanging out with certain old friends that I won’t make any good friends ever again. Still, sometimes you have to look elsewhere for your own wellbeing.

  8. Hi Rocco,

    “I think if the friendship isn’t too bad you can try to cope by limiting exposure and dialing down the amount of time you spend with the person.”

    If isn’t too bad… just don’t try to convince yourself that it isn’t too bad.

    “Also, I agree with Jessica–I’m concerned that if I stop hanging out with certain old friends that I won’t make any good friends ever again.”

    Many friendships last because they’ve always lasted — the friends involved never split apart. And many friendships become close because they’ve lasted; there isn’t anything particularly unique about them that can’t be found elsewhere.

    So yes, of course you will find new, good friends. There are lots of potential great friends out there. 🙂

  9. My “best friend” could fit all of these descriptions. I knew the relationship was over a long time ago, but continued out of a false sense of loyalty and fear. While she continues to lord her “wealth” over our relationship, I will not accept her or her stipulations at my expense…Sign this sisterfriend: gone.

  10. Yep, I’ve been dealing with a toxic friendship for about 6-7 months now. Even before this friend started acting moody, hot/cold with me (and others), I knew that I gave a lot more towards the friendship than she did. What ultimately has caused her to behave oddly in recent months is a controlling boyfriend who belittles her and has succeeded in isolating her from her friends. I had suspected that that was why she was giving less to our friendship months before she started acting hot/cold w/me. I made a New Year’s resolution for 2012 that I would no longer call her like I used to. My interaction w/her has been at work (part-time retail job) and the times she has called me. She has called me a bit more since I’m no longer calling her but I’m unsure if she has noticed that I’m not calling. Until she is out of this co-dependent relationship w/her guy, she is unlikely to change. I did try to talk to her a couple times back last summer & fall but it fell on deaf ears. She was unwilling to talk about what was bugging her. She acted mad at everyone. Now, she pretends like none of that ever happened, but “I” have backed away & I’m actually a lot happier now that I’ve done that. I’m making plans to do things with other people; ones who are emotionally healthy & uplifting instead of dragging me down. The reality is that my friend has become toxic and the friend who sticks with someone like this is in a co-dependent friendship as well. I’m now taking care of myself and I encourage anyone dealing with a toxic friendship to simply back away. Don’t try to talk to them if they have resisted conversations about what the problem is. They will lash out emotionally or verbally if you push them. They are usually miserable in their own right but THEY have to figure that out.

  11. Hi Mitsy,

    “What ultimately has caused her to behave oddly in recent months is a controlling boyfriend who belittles her and has succeeded in isolating her from her friends”

    You touched on something interesting — what sort of things turn a good or (so-so, in your case) friendship into a toxic friendship.

    It seems many people have experiences with a friendship turning into something they’d no longer like to be involved with after one of the friends gets into an intimate relationship.

    Good for you for taking the initiative to end this friendship before it had gone on too long. It’s always easier before you’re too deep in it!

  12. Well, this “friend” has usually had a boyfriend or someone in her life so it isn’t so much that she’s in a relationship as it is that she’s in “this” relationship. The guy is extremely controlling. I’ve witnessed this and heard it from other people. Controlling men try to isolate their women from people who might help them give their independence back. This guy knows I go to Al-Anon and knows that I quit seeing a guy who refused to get sober. He knows I’m ‘strong’ which is something he doesn’t want my friend to be now. I know that I’m not the only person she has disrespected in recent months. I doubt that she has any friends who stay close to her anymore. I was probably her best friend (and she’s often told me as much). So besides her kids (he’s jealous of them as well), there aren’t too many people in her inner circle besides her dysfunctional guy.

    The only way the friendship can be salvaged is IF she decides this guy is ruining her life & decides to end things w/him. Then & only then could a productive conversation take place between the two of us. Until then, she chooses to stay with this guy & jump through his hoops & live in denial. She wants marriage with this guy (or thinks she wants marriage), but the rumor mill is he has someone else in another town. I’m not telling her that though; she’ll have to find it out on her own. I have no proof but the guy’s a user and a manipulator. She’s unwilling to see it at the moment. When & if she sees the light, I will still be there for her. But, until then, she’s on her own and I’m living my life by finding people who don’t have such chaos in their lives.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s