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How to End a Friendship (and When You Know It’s Time to Say Goodbye)

Not all friendships last forever. Learn the signs it's time to end a friendship, explore healthy ways to do it, and prioritize your well-being. Plus, let Blinkist save your friendship!
by Chris Allmer | Jun 4 2024
How to End a Friendship (and When to Say Goodbye)

Friends are basically the family we choose, right? But what happens when those chosen fam vibes turn…well, not so famtastic?

Ending a long-term friendship can feel like a punch to the gut, but truth bomb: clinging to negativity can seriously stall your own growth.

So, let’s explore the murky world of unhealthy friendships. We’ll uncover the signs that a friend might not be bringing the sunshine, and explore strategies for navigating a potential goodbye.

4 Signs Your Friend Doesn’t Value You

Alright, let’s get real for a moment. Friendship isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, right? Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations where it feels like we’re putting in all the effort while our buddy is just along for the ride. Not cool.

So, here are some telltale signs that your friendship might be hitting a rough patch:

  1. You’re Always the One Reaching Out: Do you feel like you’re constantly the one initiating plans or checking in? If it seems like your friend is MIA (missing in action) until they need something, it might be a red flag.
  2. They Don’t Have Your Back: Friends are supposed to lift you up, not bring you down. If your pal is constantly criticizing or belittling you, it’s time to rethink things.
  3. They’re Flakey AF: We get it—life gets busy. But if your friend is constantly bailing on plans or making excuses, it could be a sign that they’re not prioritizing your friendship.
  4. They’re Ghosting You: One day, you’re chatting and laughing like old times, and the next? Crickets. If your friend is suddenly pulling disappearing acts, it might be time to have a heart-to-heart.

Remember, it’s not about pointing fingers or assigning blame—it’s about recognizing when a friendship isn’t serving you and having the courage to do something about it.

And sometimes, your friend might be facing unseen challenges. Instead of judgment, consider offering support and understanding. 

After all, strong friendships are a two-way street. If you’re looking for tips on nurturing your connections, check out Blinkist’s guide on how to be a better friend.

How to End a Friendship

So, you’ve recognized some of these red flags – what now? Here are a couple of paths you can take:

What to do Before Breaking up with Your Friend

1. Self-Reflection

Are you sure? Consider if there’s a chance to repair the friendship through better communication or addressing specific issues. Blinkist offers resources on communication, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence that might be helpful:

2. Have a Conversation

If you feel comfortable, consider having a conversation with your friend. Be honest and express how their behavior has been impacting you.

Maybe they’re unaware of the imbalance, and open communication could lead to positive change.

Why not make this conversation as productive as possible? If you’re looking for tips on how to keep things constructive, consider checking out The Communication Code by Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram. 

This book is a goldmine for anyone looking to improve their communication and really connect during tough talks.

3. Take a Break

Sometimes, friendships just need a little space to breathe. Taking a break allows you both to cool down, re-evaluate, and reconnect later with a healthier dynamic.

4. Focus on Yourself

Take time to focus on yourself and your well-being. Lean on your supportive friends and family, or explore new connections with people who value your presence.

Speaking of prioritizing well-being, have you checked out Blinkist’s collection of mental health books? In just a few minutes, you can dive into summaries of some of the most eye-opening books on mental health

If you’re ready to put yourself first and start your journey to a happier, healthier you, why not give it a shot?

5. Open to Growth

Have you felt like your friendship isn’t what it used to be? If you still feel a real connection there, why not chat about how you both can evolve the friendship to better meet where you’re at in life right now?

Let me introduce you to Resilient by Rick Hanson with Forrest Hanson. It’s not just any book—it’s your guide to building a solid foundation of calm, strength, and happiness. 

6. Break Up with Your Friend

If none of these steps were fruitful, maybe it’s time to say goodbye. Sometimes, a clean break is necessary. 

If the friendship has become toxic or if a conversation seems pointless, you have the right to walk away. You don’t owe anyone an explanation, but a simple “I need some space” can suffice.

But let’s take a look at how to end things with your friend properly.

How to End a Friendship: Let’s Talk Examples

Alright, let’s get practical. Ending a friendship is tough, no doubt about it. But sometimes, having a few examples to guide you can make the process a little less nerve-wracking.

So, let’s break it down with some real-life scenarios:

1. The Slow Fade

You might start by gradually reducing the frequency of your interactions. Maybe you stop initiating plans or responding to their messages as quickly. Over time, the friendship naturally fades away without the need for a formal conversation.

2. The Honest Conversation

Sit down with your friend and express your feelings openly and honestly. You could say something like, “I’ve noticed that our friendship doesn’t feel as fulfilling as it used to, and I think it’s best for both of us if we take some space.”

3. The Clean Break

In situations where the friendship has become toxic or irreparable, it may be necessary to cut ties more abruptly. 

You could send a message or have a brief conversation, saying something like, “I’ve thought a lot about our friendship, and I believe it’s best for me to step away. I wish you all the best in the future.

Hold Up! Can Blinkist Rescue Your Friendship?

Whoa whoa whoa, before you hit the eject button on your friendship, let’s see if Blinkist can play peacemaker!

Think of Blinkist as your ultimate wingman for navigating friendship bumps. It’s a treasure chest overflowing with bite-sized nonfiction books on everything you need: communication, boundaries, and even emotional intelligence. 

Basically, the tools to figure out how to end a friendship (if that’s the route you choose) or, even better, how to save it!

And here’s the BFF-saving secret: 

Blinkist’s killer 2-for-1 premium subscription. Share your account with your bestie, transforming Blinkist into a BFF learning hub designed to tackle those friendship challenges head-on.

Start with creating a Blinkist Space dedicated to, well, saving your friendship! Or you could do the “5 Days to Better & Healthier Friendships: Challenge.” Take a look:

So, give Blinkist a try before saying goodbye!

Start your free 7-day trial

FAQs – About How to End a Friendship

Q: What is a friend?

A: Think of a friend as your go-to person for everything. Someone you can trust, who cheers you on and is there to pick you up when you’re down. They’re more than just a buddy; they’re part of your support crew.

Q: “Bestie” meaning

A: A “bestie” is someone super close to you—top of the list. But even with the tightest bonds, sometimes you hit a rough patch. Ending it isn’t about falling out, but having honest chats about whether your paths still align.

Fun fact alert!

Did you know that almost six out of ten Americans have a best friend? Want to geek out over the details? Check out the juicy stats.

Q: How do you end a friendship with a group of friends?

A: Shifting dynamics in a group can be tough. If you’re feeling like it’s time to move on, honesty is your best policy. Talk things out respectfully if the group vibe isn’t matching your needs anymore. Tools like Blinkist are great for brushing up on your communication skills, and helping you handle these conversations with care.

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