How to Break Up with Your Friend

Three Methods:Confronting the PersonLetting it Naturally FadeHandling the Aftermath

Many people have been through a breakup with a significant other, but breaking up with a friend can be even harder. When you have a fight you know you can't resolve or you just don't have that much in common anymore, it's time to pull the plug. You can let the friendship fade out naturally, have a confrontation with your friend, or cut things off cold turkey. No matter what, it helps to be prepared to deal with the feelings you'll experience when it's finally over.

Method 1
Confronting the Person

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    Arrange a time and place to meet up. When you don't want to keep the person guessing about why you don't want to be friends, a face to face conversation might be in order. Parks and coffee shops are good stops for breakups because they're neutral, public locations. Even though things might get emotional during your conversation, you'll both be likely to keep things contained if you're in a public place.
    • Avoid arranging to have a long meal together, since you might be ready to go before the food even arrives.
    • If you don't want to meet in person, it's fine to break up with your friend over the phone. Avoid doing it over text, since it's harder to express yourself fully and have a real conversation.
    • Do not break up with your friend in front of people you both know. This can be deeply embarrassing and hurtful.
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    Tell your friend why you're ending it. Be straightforward about why you don't want to be friends. Did your friend cheat with your boyfriend? Does he or she constantly cut you down? Whatever the reason, now is the time to spell it out. Telling your friend exactly what's going on is a brave thing to do, and in the end the person will probably be glad to know what happened.
    • There is a situation in which being straightforward is not the kindest way to end a friendship. If you just don't like the person anymore, through no fault of his or her own, there's really no reason to say it out loud. If this is the case, go back to Method 1 and let the friendship naturally fade.
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    Give your friend a chance to talk. Your friend will either get defensive, apologize, or do a mix of both after your confrontation. You might want to hear him or her out, just in case there's the tiniest chance that you want to stay friends after all. If it's possible there was some kind of misunderstanding, you'll want to know. If that's not possible, continue the breakup process.
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    Set boundaries. Maybe you want to cut things off for good right here and now, or maybe you're fine seeing the person every now and then in a group setting. Whatever the case, be very clear that this is a breaking point, and from now on things will be different. Lay out your boundaries up front so you won't be tempted to back down later.
    • If you never want to talk again, tell the person you won't be in touch after this and that you don't want to hear from him or her, either.
    • If you're still fine hanging out in a group but you don't want to have one-on-one talks, it's fine to say that. It's also fine to say that you might be open to renewing the friendship later, but only if you mean it. Otherwise the person might keep trying to get in touch when you just want to be left alone. Just be crystal clear about your expectations so your former friend won't get confused.
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    Stick to your boundaries. If the person tries to get in touch or win you back over, don't respond. You've said your piece, you've heard the person out, and now your obligation as a friend is over. Just like when you break up with a significant other, breaking up with a friend means you don't have to be responsible for that person anymore.
    • This is easier said than done. If your former friend is really upset, it might be extremely hard to ignore his or her calls and texts. If you're serious about breaking up this friendship, don't let the person cross your boundaries. You'll just give him or her the wrong impression and make things harder in the future.

Method 2
Letting it Naturally Fade

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    If you're growing apart, don't fight it. The fade-out method is best for a situation in which you and your friend are simply growing apart. Maybe there's no concrete reason you don't like the person anymore; you're just interested in other things and other people. Start spending your time how you want to spend it, hanging out with people and doing activities you enjoy. Chances are, your friend will do the same, and you'll start drifting apart without having to make a big deal about it.
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    Stop calling and texting your friend. To break up a friendship, you need to slow down communication. Stop getting in touch with your friend to make plans or just to talk. Stop initiating chats online, text conversations, and any other contact. You can still chat when you see him or her in person, like if you both go out with the same group of friends, but avoid unnecessary contact.
    • When two friends are naturally ready to part ways, it's not difficult to be in touch less often. You'd probably both rather be doing other things, anyway, so it won't feel like a big sacrifice not to talk much more than you need to.
    • On the other hand, if your friend isn't feeling the same way you are about the friendship, being in touch less may hurt his or her feelings. Unfortunately it's really hard to avoid hurt feelings when you're ending a friendship. You'll have to decide whether you still want to end it either way.
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    Keep conversations light. Friends get closer by having deep, revealing conversations during which they get to know each other really well. To pull away from a friend, stop having big heart-to-hearts. When you talk, stick to shallow, surface topics, just like you would with an acquaintance. If you keep talking like friends, it'll be harder for the friendship to fade.
    • If your friend tends to want to talk about private matters, like her relationship with her boyfriend, steer the conversation in a safer direction. Change the subject so she doesn't get the chance to tell you her deepest feelings.
    • Eventually your friend will start to notice that you don't talk the way you used to. He or she may call you out on it or decide to withdraw, too. Be prepared for either reaction.
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    Politely decline invitations. It might take awhile for your friend to catch on to the fact that you're just not into the friendship anymore. A sure way to create some distance is to decline invitations politely, but firmly. If the invitation is for a group activity, you might want to participate, but avoid one-on-one outings. You'll just lead the other person on.
    • Again, if the other person isn't ready for this to end, declining his or her invitations is going to cause some hurt. It's up to you to decide whether the nicer thing to do is be more straightforward about why you keep saying "no" every time he or she invites you to do something.
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    Make excuses if you need to. If you really don't want to tell the person the truth, deflect invitations with excuses. Say you're busy, you have relatives in town, you have too much homework, and so on. This could be seen as the easy way out, since it's not a very honest way to behave toward someone who was a friend. However, if you have a good reason to end the friendship and really don't want to deal with a confrontation, making excuses is pretty effective.
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    Gradually let the friendship come to a stop. Best case scenario, the person catches on that you've moved on from the friendship and decides to go his or her own way. However, if the former friend asks you what's going on, you may want to give him or her an explanation. Be ready for this reaction, since it could be the case that you mean more to your former friend than he or she means to you.
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    Consider the silent treatment for an abusive friendship. If the person you want to break up with has been physically or emotionally abusive or manipulative, you don't owe that person anything; even politeness. Just stop all contact, unfriend the person on your social media accounts, and avoid seeing the person when you don't have to.
    • If you try to have a conversation with the person about it, he or she may end up making you feel like you are the one who did something wrong. Don't get wrapped up in that drama. If you know the person is going to make things hard for you, just cut it off cold turkey.

Method 3
Handling the Aftermath

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    Deal with your former friend's emotions. Being dumped is not easy, whether you deserve it or not. Be prepared for your friend to cry, beg for you to be friends again, or even get extremely angry. You were strong enough to breakup with your friend, and you're strong enough to deal with the aftermath. Try not to let yourself get wrapped up in the person's emotions. Remember to stick to your boundaries and cut off all contact if necessary.
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    Beware passive-aggressive behavior. Sometimes a former friend will try to make your life harder in small, passive aggressive ways. This is especially true if you go to school together or work in the same place and have to see each other frequently. The person might try to turn others against you, spread gossip about you, or make you look bad somehow. Stay strong and realize that if someone behaves so horribly, your decision to end the friendship was right on.
    • If the behavior escalates from passive-aggressive to just plain aggressive, you may need to take further action. Talk to your teachers or supervisors if it's happening at work or school. See if you can provide evidence that you are being targeted.
    • You may have legal options as well. If the person won't leave you alone and his or her behavior constitutes harassment, you may want to file a restraining order.
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    Realize this might affect other friendships, too. Breaking up with one friend often affects the people you both knew. If you were both part of the same larger friend group, things might be pretty awkward for awhile. Hopefully your other friends won't take sides, but if they do, you know who your real friends are.
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    Take care of yourself. You'll probably feel a sense of freedom after breakup up with a bad friend. Even so, breakups are often tough. It's emotionally difficult to let someone down, and the consequences can last much longer than expected. After the friendship is officially over, make a point of spending time with people who make you feel good. Surround yourself with loved ones and try to put the old friendship out of your mind.
    • You may also feel surprisingly sad to lose the good parts of the friendship with the person you broke up with. After all, you were friends for a reason, even if your relationship eventually turned bad. Sadness is totally normal in this situation.


  • Don't feel bad if your friend wasn't being a good friend. That's not your fault.
  • You may feel guilty, but if you know you made the right decision for yourself, stand by it.
  • Remember that all relationships are volunteer situations. You are not required to continue any relationship.
  • Be firm with what you say to avoid confusion.
  • When you tell that person how you feel, it'll be painful after the break up, but do things that make you happy. Eventually, you'll make a new best friend.
  • Burn your bridges carefully. It can be very hard to restart a friendship, so be certain you want to end things if that's the path you pick.
  • Mutual friends may feel the need to pick sides, so be prepared to discuss your feelings or possibly lose other friends.
  • Ask advice from your family members or other friends, especially people who know your friend well and may be able to add additional insight to your situation. They may be able to give you help for your individual setting.
  • Send a letter or an e-mail if you don't feel comfortable having a face-to-face conversation.
  • If you don't feel comfortable confronting your friend on your own, consult a school counselor or peer mediator who can be a neutral third-party to help with the conversation.
  • If your reasons are superficial,such as wanting to become popular don't do it, don't be selfish.
  • The most important part of any relationship is the exchange of energy. If anyone leaves you feeling drained or uncomfortable and you can get away then please do. Give yourself the energy you have been giving the other and you will begin to feel better!
  • Your friend will probably try to make you feel bad and think that its all your fault, If you know deep down that you didn't do anything wrong then he/she's just trying to manipulate you. Stay strong and courageous.
  • Be very careful if you both have mutual friends, he/she could bad-mouth you to your friends. Be especially careful if you're an adult and you're at work with the person. He/she may bad talk about you to someone with higher authority than you.
  • Don't say it in a rude way because that person also has feelings.
  • If they come back to you wanting to be friends, politely say no. You broke up with that person for a reason. You'll only hurt your self more, when you have to re-break up with them.
  • To avoid the hassle of the aftermath, unfriend them on any social media where other people on their side can help blow out you of proportion.
  • If you break up your friendship with someone and you feel sad, that's okay, let the emotions out. Don't be afraid to show how you feel. It's perfectly natural.

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Categories: Changing and Losing Friends