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How to end a friendship: Ending and breaking off a friendship without confrontation

Updated on July 4, 2013

How to end a friendship? Ending a friendship is similar to breaking off a relationship. It can be painful, sad and agonizing. True friendship takes years to build but the silliest of things including lies, betrayal, girls, boys, peer pressure, love, hate, manipulative common friends, bullying, money and bad habits can ruin this magical bond. This post discusses how you can stop being friends with someone without dealing with a nasty fallout and confrontation, if you are ready to be patient and emotionally strong.

Are you sure you want to end your beautiful friendship which you have nurtured all these years? Think again. There might be another solution.
Are you sure you want to end your beautiful friendship which you have nurtured all these years? Think again. There might be another solution. | Source

1) Find valid and precise reasons for the unhappiness in your friendship

There can be many reasons why you decide to end your friendship with someone. It can be because that friend lied to you, made fun of you in front of others or never respected you as a friend.

Identify these reasons and jot them down in bullet points on a piece of paper. Leave the paper in your bedroom drawer and read it the next day with a fresh mindset. Be double sure that the reasons for your unhappiness in your friendship are valid.

2) Think about how your mutual friends will react

Ending a friendship with one person will have a ripple effect on your social circle if you both have common friends. Some of your friends will take your side while some will take your friend's side.

Think about the possible fallout with your other friends before you decide to break off your connection with a particular friend. Be prepared to lose common friends. More importantly, be prepared to justify your stance to your other close friends.

3) Be sure and firm about your decision to end your friendship

It takes years of bonding to build a good friendship but it can take on small rash decision to break it off forever. Such a bad decision can cause regrets later on in life.

Be firm about your decision to end your friendship. You will be very sorry if you repent it later. Think it through properly make a decision that will benefit you and add value to your social life. Once you have decided, there is no turning back.

4) Ending a friendship is not immediate: Tone down your expectations of immediate changes

Ending a friendship is not as simple as pressing a button and getting rid of a person who was a bad influence in your life. You will have to be patient and become mentally strong as the fallout of your decision start to create confusion in your social life.

Think of it like weathering out a storm, except that this storm can last weeks and even months. It will be at least a couple of months before the creases in your social life iron out.

Sharing even the smallest gossip will passively maintain the emotional connection that you share with your friend.
Sharing even the smallest gossip will passively maintain the emotional connection that you share with your friend.

5) Stop sharing gossip and secrets with your friend

The first thing you must do when you decide to end a friendship is stop sharing gossip and secrets with that friend. Gossiping will passively keep the emotional connection between you and your friend active.

Don't stop talking to your friend completely all of a sudden. Just stop sharing intimate secrets, personal stuff and gossip about others. Expect the tone of your conversations to turn colder and more formal.

6) Don't block your friend on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networks

Blocking your friend on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest will make it evident that you are becoming desperate about flushing him or her out of your life. It is a bold move but it can lead to bad mouthing and long term hostility.

Live your online presence normally. Don't block them but start reducing the number of times you reply to their comments, like stuff on their timelines and retweet their tweets. Make it gradual and don't let the cracks in your friendship be apparent to the entire world on social media.

7) Start avoiding your friend's calls gradually: Return the calls after some time

Don't start avoiding your friend's calls completely unless you both have had an ugly spat. Gradually trail off from your friend's radar by not picking up calls, and calling back after some time.

  • Don't pick up your friend's calls
  • Wait for an hour or two before you call back
  • Don't give too many excuses for missing your friend's call
  • Talk straight to the point and tell your friend that you missed the call

As time goes by, your friend should start getting early hints of the fact that he or she is being ignored by a friend.

8) Don't give feeble excuses when you don't want to hang out

Telling a friend that you don't want to hang out together without making him or her feel too bad is a delicate task. But it can be done by gradual conditioning. Below are lines that you can use to say no.

  • No I don't want to hang out today. I don't feel like it.
  • No I'll pass, I'm not in the mood.
  • Not today buddy, I am going to stay home.

Don't give a silly excuse but be slightly expressive when you turn down your friend for the first time. Start being more direct over the next couple of times.

Don't get aggressive if your friend confronts you. Act cool, hide your emotions and feign ignorance.
Don't get aggressive if your friend confronts you. Act cool, hide your emotions and feign ignorance.

9) Feign ignorance if your friend confronts you: Don't be aggressive

Your friend is likely to confront you when he or she feels ignored by you. These are some of the questions you may be asked.

  • How come you have stopped hanging out with me?
  • Why don't you pick up your phone every time I call you?
  • You reply to everyone else on Facebook except me. What's going on buddy?
  • Are you too busy to meet old friends?

Hide your emotions and don't be aggressive when your friend asks you such questions. Be cool, feign ignorance and try to limit the excuses you give. The more you try to explain, the more you will find yourself in a defenseless position.

10) Don't feel guilty about your decision to end your friendship

In many ways, ending a friendship is like ending a relationship. There are many elements of human bonding including dependence, trust and admiration that co-exist in a friendship as well as in a romantic relationship.

Just like how lovers feel guilty after breaking up with their partners, friends too feel the brunt of taking the heavy decision of ending a friendship. Be prepared for this feeling of guilt and don't try to let the false feeling of sympathy for your ex-friend make you do something silly.

11) Don't bad mouth your ex-friend to your other friends

There is no need to bad mouth about ex-friends if you parted ways in a relatively decent manner. Unless there is the need to clarify your actions to mutual friends or clear out false rumors that your ex-friend spread about you, take the high road and avoid saying bad things about him or her to other people.

12) Reach out to your best friend: Vent and listen

This entire process of disassociating your life from someone will take its emotional toll. Confide, vent and listen to the advice of a trusty best friend.

Keep your best friend updated at every step of the way, including telling him or her why you want to end your friendship with someone. The calming words of a person who is a spectator to the situation will help you maintain your emotional balance.

13) Allow your friendship to fade naturally as time goes by: Be patient

Ending a friendship is never a pleasant experience. But you can stop it from being a traumatic experience by not being caught in the nerve-wracking web of emotional and social repercussions.

Develop a thick skin and stay numb to passive aggression, sadness and an overall sense of discomfort in life. Time is wonderful healer and you must be patient and allow time to work its magic. Let your friendship wither and fade away naturally. It will take at least a couple of months.


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    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      When I ended the friendship with someone, I took the slow approach. I didn't do any big announcement but just stopped calling him and going out with him. He did the same to me and eventually the friendship just fizzled out. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Princess, I just read another article by someone who seem to be grieving the end of friendship. You give healthy, thoughtful, peaceful ways of dealing with it. Thank you.

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great article princess! I am going through the loss of a friendship. You've provided a lot of great advice! Thanks for writing just what I needed, lol!