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Ending a Friendship isn't always easy

Updated on September 23, 2010

When to end a Friendship

You might be contemplating ending a friendship but aren’t sure if you should or even how to.  Is this friendship causing you to lose sleep?  Do you feel that you are giving more than receiving?  Has the friendship become more of a one sided thing, with you making the calls or visits?  Do you find that after a visit your world doesn’t seem a happier place?

These are just some of the questions that you should ask yourself before ending the friendship.  Another thing that may be causing you distress in your friendship is a lack of commonality.  At first the idea of a friendship was great, you both seemed to like one another, chuckled at each others jokes and such.  Soon you found out that your ideals were totally different. 

Some just end

Perhaps you have friends for years and one or both of you have changed and neither of you can make the proper adjustment.  Maybe one has grown, leaving the other far behind, whether it be emotionally, educationally, spiritually or financially.

Friendships often just drift apart in the natural course of life.  Every now and then coming back together after years apart only to find there is nothing left in common between the two of you.  Possibly one or the other wondering what you saw in the other.  A promise of “We’ll have to have lunch soon” is spoken and neither believes it will happen. 

What do you do when there is that one person who is a ‘clinger’ and refuses to accept your unspoken dismissal?  There was a Movie a few years ago that was rather comedic in its portrayal called ‘The Cable Guy’, it ended badly for the Cable Guy (sorry for the spoiler if you haven‘t seen it).  It is a serious problem that some suffer from.

Do you know a Clinger?

More than likely you are a kind person, one who never wants to hurt the feelings of anyone, so you suffer in silence.  Your ‘friend’ walks all over you in their misguided attempt at friendship.  You just don’t have the heart to tell them “It’s been a good run but it’s over.”

How do you know that they are a ‘clinger’?  When no matter how much you try to avoid them they still want to be around you.  They won’t take the hint that you no longer wish their company.   If you have caller ID on your phone and don’t answer when they call, so they show up at your door.  You feel the need to come up with an excuse like being in the shower, the basement or just didn’t hear the phone. 

As the friendship wears on you may find your privacy has been totally lost, possibly disregarded entirely.  Sitting in the living room having cuddly time with your spouse you may find your friend peeking in the windows.  When caught giving that little wave acting as though they just popped up. 

Drawing away

You may also find that they have found a way to move closer to you, going so far as to move next door. It will begin to seem as though they don’t just want to be part of your life, they want to be in it thru every aspect.

As you start to draw away from the odd feeling that you get when they are around, they will undoubtedly try to draw closer to you. They can feel your distance. When this happens they may start to get angry with you, not understanding. Now is the time when things will get very strange.

Is your 'stuff' missing?

The beginning of stealing items of yours may happen.  You know this is what they have done with your items because in happier times they shared their love of collecting things.  You may have thought that was strange when it was brought up, but now that items are missing you begin to wonder.  You will have been told of some of the strange things they do with their collections, such as pay for storage then get a rocking chair to set in while visiting their ‘stuff’.

You will find that items you may have held dear have suddenly disappeared.  An Elmo doll your Mother bought you that was setting on your bed, will suddenly be gone.  Dishes that were left to you from the death of your Grandmother will vanish.  After a time they will be brave in their thievery, sneaking into your while you are in another room to steal something right off of the counter. 

You may find more and more of your items become missing, even things such as food from your refrigerator.  The thought behind it may be something as simple as you owe them.  They may borrow items repeatedly, and some of your items you may have to ask for.  Beware when you do, they will get angry.

Don't insult the Clinger!

If it is a ’couple’ such as a husband and wife, you may become ’double teamed’ one borrowing from you while the other accusing you of borrowing all the time.  This is done to cause confusion. 

When you try to explain to your friend that the two of you truly do not having anything in common and you really just want to dissolve the friendship, this will not set right.  Maybe they have different way of dealing with their children that you don’t approve of, or they personally do things you don’t like.  Whatever the reason you no longer want the friendship.  You will think that should be the end of it, friendship is over.  It will be, but may not be to your liking.

They will feel that you have insulted them, rather than accept the truth or even your feelings.  Now they may seek vengeance.  At first it won’t be done obviously, it will be subtle things that will make you question your sanity.  If you have a landlord rather that own your home, he landlord will begin to receive complaints about you.  Something as simple as dog ‘doo’ in your yard.  You will question, “Why are they in my yard to begin with?”, it doesn’t matter to your landlord, he will take notice of the complaint.

Signs of torment

Some more subtle things will be the noise level in your home, they may find a way to shatter that, with noise coming from their home.  Possibly turning up the bass, to cause a low level of ‘beating’ sound.  You may have already discussed in the past your aversion for that type of noise. 

The next thing to come will be the tormenting of your children.  You will have to be on your toes for this one.  It will be done in such a way that you will question just what your children have done to deserve this.  Because they can’t ‘beat you up’ they may encourage their kids to do this to yours, which to you will not make a lot of sense, they used to be friends.  You may try to stay out of ’kids fights’, kids will be kids and they do fight and argue.  If the parents get involved then you will have to step in, this is what they want.

They will try to pick fights with you, as an adult, you know this is not the way adults behave so you avoid it at all costs.  You have been informed that one of them has a heart condition (in the past) so you will not ‘duke it out’ in the yard.  The fear of a lawsuit will prevent this. 

They may find a way to eavesdrop on your phone conversation, I am not technologically savvy, but somehow if your phone has been ’connected’ to you will know by their comments.  They will be proud of what they have done to you, and may make hints at conversations that you have had on the phone with others. 

You will try to fix things

You may try to become friends with them at this point figuring, “IF you can’t beat them, join them”.  This will work for a short time, they will stop tormenting you.  But soon, it will begin again this time more pronounced.  If you happened to have items stored somewhere within a garage or basement, you will be in for a big surprise when you walk in and find them rifling through your stuff.  The excuse will be “I saw your kids playing with such and such an item, they ran in here I was looking for it to return it to you.”   When you question your children, nothing of the sort happened.

When all else fails - Move

At this point you may decide it is time to move. Do so with care, if you feel that your phone has been compromised, try not to talk about the move on your phone. You may have to do it in one short trip. If at all possible put everything in storage for a short time. Hire teenagers to help with the heavy lifting. If at all possible do it when they have went away for the weekend.

When you are safely away settled into your new home, you may feel safe enough to breathe a sigh of relief. Then again you may not, and for good reason. At first you may be very aware when driving, looking behind you watching for their vehicle. When 30 days or so have passed you may stop looking behind you. One day when you are least expecting it, you look out your door and they are setting at the end of your driveway, waiting for you to notice. When they are noticed, they may do something childish like flip you off as they drive away cackling. Your peace has been shattered once again.

This time you call the police, your nerves are shot and you may do something you one day would regret. They will tell you to file a PPO (Personal Protection Order) and they will go have a talk with them. With the PPO you may find it is denied, since they never physically laid hands upon you. Apparently to the Judge your emotional state doesn’t matter. If you are lucky this will be the end of it.

How to Avoid being a Clinger

How to avoid being a ‘clinger’?  Be a good friend, recognize when someone needs space.  If they are avoiding you, recognize it as well.  If you make one or two phone calls and they aren’t returned, leave it at that.  Don’t bug, they will call you when they want to.  Something may be going on in their life that you are not privy to, if they want you to know they will tell you, in due time.  Don’t show up unannounced, make that quick phone call first, to see if visitors are welcome. 

How to be a good friend

1. Listen to your friend.
2. Be there when needed.
3. Make sure you ‘give’ as well as ‘take’ in the relationship.
4. Don’t call to tell them your problems only to hang up when they start to share.
5. Do not show envy at something they have acquired, be happy for them that they were able to get it. 
6. Be truly happy for their achievements.
7. Do not expect more than they can or are willing to give.
8. Respect boundaries.
9. Just because you like to do something, doesn’t mean they do.
10. Don’t try to force your ideas on them.

Finally, Be adult and respect that they have their home and you have yours.


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    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Those do not sound like friends... Real friends will take the time to let you say what it is you have to say. No one should have to change to suit their friends needs'...

      As time evolves, friends come and go with those we learn lessons in life, hopefully most for the good!! Each one will leave a piece of themselves within your heart. Remember them fondly, say hello in passing but keep your feet moving forward. Some will stay longer than others, always try to remember to be a good friend yourself and you will do just fine!!

    • profile image

      Shay 6 years ago

      I've had friendships end over the years and it is due to me allowing my lack of talking to get the better of me. Or better yet when I'm communicating something there is this need to tell me why I'll fail or it won't work out or that I have too many 'issues' to actually grow as a person. Where one resulted in me being accused of jealousy because I told her that she has a habit of walking around with her head in her ass due to me expecting people to let me down on a night out for my birthday and as soon as that overrated word of 'jealous' came I cut off the so-friend. Her misery doesn't need to be my misery and I told her that. I just see that as a defence mechanism and no reason to look at what you do and how you behave.

      And the other where her need of telling me my feelings, because I came out as gay, just disintegrated because instead of just allowing me to live my life as I wish it became this constant need to explain myself because my changes don't fit them.

      To be honest I miss them and it hurts but I then realise that they never actually cared about me. True friends no matter the distance will always support you no matter how many new friends, experiences and changes occur. As long as you stay under the thumb of so-called friends who want to control you is the more you realise that some people are users or just want to define themselves under the guise of being your friend.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Yes that can happen. I like to think of a friendship is a shared type of thing, a little give and take. If you're the one doing all of the giving or the taking then it really isn't a friendship...

      It sounds like you may have found the solution to your problem, I hope you have tons of friends now!!

    • Aceblogs profile image

      Aceblogs 6 years ago from India

      Great hub , the only problem i had with my friends , i was a kind of bossy and forced my decisions on them unkowingly which had made me lose lot of near and dear one's

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      I would give it a little time before 'calling it quits', maybe just back away for a time. No phone calls, visits etc, and see where it goes. If She accepts that without question then it was probably time to end the friendship. Maybe a few years down the line she may contact you and resume your friendship.

      She may have something going on in her life that is too painful or even too shameful for her to discuss, yes, even among 'good' friends.

      Give her space, breathing room if at a time later she comes back to your circle of friends, welcome her. She may tell you what is/was going on. She may not. As friends we should not pry, but be there when needed.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 6 years ago from Germany

      I have my own experience now about trying to hold a friendship within my very close friends. There is a friend in our circle who is getting lost/far away from us. It was always us who are interacting and communicating. We are the one who be the first to keep in touch with her and now we are fed up because this friend of ours is not making an effort anymore even answering our phone, sms and other kind of communication. She has change a lot. Whenever we see each other, we found out that she was only interrogating us and not sharing her life anymore. We feel that she is having a problem but we can´t help her. Now, we are thinking of ending our friendship with her for even our husbands have notice that this friend wears a "mask" whenever we see her. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      You are correct, this was not a friendship, it was an ownership. They wanted to own us and when they discovered it was not possible got angry. When it was over (on my end) I wrote them a long letter (5 pages) and instructed them on the merits of being decent to people, and the meaning of friendship.

      I don't know if they heeded my advice, and at this point I don't care.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • Edlira profile image

      Edlira 7 years ago

      Interesting hub, though I have to say, in my book a friendship is neither clingy, nor demanding, nor complicated. A friendship is effortless, enriching, supportive otherwise it doesn't qualify as a friendship. As Khalil Gibran says "Friendship is a sweet responsability, never an opportunity". Emphasising the word sweet :-)!

    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 7 years ago

      Yup, the person you had to deal with in this article wasn't a true friend & sounded very scary! ... you are right about the need to end friendships when it isn't working out. A true friend would understand and respect the other friend's boundaries. If someone doesn't respect your boundaries they are not being a good friend & at that point it's best to end the friendship. Ultimately, a friendship should be a 2-way street based on mututal respect (not on feeling sorry for someone, or by the other one feeling needy). Anyhow, thanks Sweetsusieg for a very interesting and thought-provoking hub.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      Isn't it funny how others can become experts of our lives? I'm sorry that your friendship ended, but maybe you will be better off, one can only hope!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • sjk6101983 profile image

      sjk6101983 7 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

      From my own experience, I had to end a friendship recently not just because the person stole from me but she repeatedly blamed me for things and accused me of being a lousy friend. She also talked crap about me online, which I didn't know about until she rather stupidly told me about to my face, and my real friends stuck up for me. She also claimed my medical conditions were fake. Since when did she become a doctor?

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks Lorlie6... Sometimes you just have to do what is best for you. Since you are the one you have to live with! Relationships as well friendships can be fatal or as some people put it toxic. I love me too much (not in a bad way) to subject myself to put up with something that is going no where.

      Thanks for stopping by reading and commenting!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Sweetsusieg, I've had to end friendships in my life simply because the person was depressing me! I'll never forget her, and I worry about that choice, but I was going down with her-in the end, I chose myself.

      Great work.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      Very true - They were not my friends. I tried to be the best person I could in that relationship, when I 'spazzed' out after they found me, I was not very nice. When I think back on my past, I am saddened by the people that have come thru my life that I no longer count as 'friends' because of the actions that happened.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 7 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      A wise person told me it is never good to "Burn your Bridges" This he applied to friendships. Friends, I mean true friends, people you know,I mean really know you can trust, love and respect, may not always stay close, becoming seperated by distance or outside interests, but a true friend is very very difficult to find, and at times just as difficult to hold on to.

      Neighbors, associates, buddies,pals, are not necessarily people one might see as or classify as a true friend.

      The various situations discussed in your hub are not at least in my thoughts actions of someone I would call a "FRIEND".

      Brother Dave.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      I have found in my life through trial and error, that friendships ending over something simple, were never really friendships at all. Those have happened in my life as well.

      I still have one friend who I talk to on a regular basis, we met when we were 10. I have a total of 4 good friends and have had for the last few years. I count myself very lucky to have those.

      Thanks for reading and commenting

    • jeanie.stecher profile image

      jeanie.stecher 7 years ago from Seattle

      I agree, especially when you have been best of friends since you are a kid, and the only thing that ruins the friendship is just a single lollipop.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      In my world, truth always has been stranger than fiction! My life has had some twists and turns that I dare not put on here! I'm sure people are beginning to question my sanity as it is. Oh who am I kidding... I question my sanity.. LOL

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Sweetsusieg, that is like a movie I saw once...yipes! That person has way crossed boundaries. Scary story. Truth is stranger than fiction.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      Yep, I certainly have had a few wacko's in my life. This was the worst one, though there have been others.

      I think I have 'take advantage of me' tattooed on my forehead.... LOL

      Thanks for reading and commenting

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 7 years ago from Minnesota

      Susie-Woe, obviously you had a psycho in your life. I hope all is well now and you are living with peace. I have ended friendships when I realized either they were too clingy or I was doing all the work in the friendship. Thanks for sharing this very unsettling story.