If you’re reading this, chances are there is someone you want to end a friendship with.
Maybe they’re too clingy and don’t leave you alone. Maybe they did something that really upset you. Or maybe they barely talk to you, and you feel like they only reach out to you when they need you.
Regardless of what the reason is, you’ve decided to give this friendship a break, and you’re wondering, “How do I do this in the most harmless way possible?”
Well, here’s the crux. As soon as you decide to end that friendship, you have a couple options…
1. Address it and talk to them.
Having “the talk” is rarely the healthier option when it comes to ending a friendship. But what you may find is that sometimes, you can actually get to talking and straighten up all your differences.
If you can resolve your problems and fix the friendship, that’s another thing it will have grown through. If you want to do it right, first make sure you’re meeting your friend for coffee or somewhere where you can talk. Never do this over the phone/chat.
Then, have a game plan. What do you want to get out of the conversation? End it completely, explain your anger and frustration, or give them a chance to explain themselves? Whatever you want to get out of it, you need to keep it in mind and enter that conversation with a clear head.
Finally, you have to remember to always say what you really feel. Don’t be focused on what the person did or did wrong. Instead, keep your goal in your head and just express how their actions made you feel. Let them know why you felt like you had to end that friendship.
Or if you’re less confrontational…
2. Don’t address it and phase them out.
If you decide that you don’t even want to address the problems in your friendship, you can use the phase-out tactic.
As blunt as it may sound, it’s often one of the healthiest ways to end a friendship. Instead of laying your feelings on the line and risking hurting the other person, you’ll avoid hurting any feelings by gradually reducing the social interaction between you two.
You might decide to start calling less often, choose text instead of call, fade them out on social media, answer with short replies, and so on.
Don’t block and unfriend them—it only draws attention to the fact that you’re trying to end the friendship.
If that friend is just an acquaintance who’s starting to act really toxic, this is the best thing you can do to exit that friendship quickly and painlessly.
And while it does seem the more healthy option than flat out ending a friendship verbally, it can be even more painful when that friend can’t take the hint.
Here’s the secret—once you know the two tactics and how to do them right, it’s up to you to decide how you’re going to handle it.
Choose the appropriate tactic based on how you feel, the history you have with that friend, and the real reason you want to end it.
If you want to give it a chance, go with the talk. If you don’t even want to explain yourself, phase them out.
In the end, you will have made the right decision anyway.