How to Decide Whether or Not to End a Friendship after a Fight

Most people believe that every friendship will need to endure a problem at some point or another. But while some problems are forgivable and will even serve to strengthen the friendship when they're over, others are simply deal-breakers, and you have to sever the relationship, even if it's painful. How do you decide which is which?


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    Assess the cause. Why did you fight? Was it your fault, or your friend's fault that the matter escalated this far? Why did the fight reach the point of questioning your friendship? Was it necessary, or was the fight over-blown? Assessing the truth about why you fought is going to be key to deciding whether or not the friendship can or should be saved.
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    Pinpoint the issue. What makes you think this is a deal-breaker? Did you fight over religion, politics? Those differences can make for heated debates - very interesting most times, if you have the stomach for them - but rarely should be cause for ending the friendship. Did you fight over a boy or girl? Did you feel your friend chose their boyfriend/girlfriend over you? Again, boyfriends or girlfriends may come and go but your friend should outlast any of them, if your friendship is true. And there may be the crux of the matter - is your friendship true? Did you fight because your friend breached your trust, broke a promise, or committed a crime? These are serious problems, and must be carefully considered.
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    Identify if there are any certain deal breakers. Some things can be worked out. But if this friend is racist and/or offensive to people of other religions and it affects you, and the person refuses to change, that cannot be worked out.
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    Seek counsel. Ask a trusted relative or friend; someone who is not a mutual friend, who will not spread what you say around your circle of friends. Be as objective as possible when explaining the circumstances and ask for an unbiased opinion. Talking over your problem with a friend, a therapist, or a clergy member may really help you come to a good decision as to how best to handle the situation. But beware; if you tell someone you both know; this may spread like wildfire and then you may not be in the driver's seat about ending it any more. You and your friend have already had a fight bad enough for you to consider whether or not the friendship can survive. Don't complicate things by running your mouth to people you both know; talk to someone outside your circle.
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    Determine if it is still possible to be friends. Sometimes, after a fight, you will simply not want to face the person anymore. If this is the case, it may only be matter of time-take a small, one-week, or even a month long, break from this person.
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    Weigh the benefits and detriments. If you decide to end this friendship; would your life be better in the end? How? Or would it be worse? Imagine your life without this person in it. Think about the fact that mutual friends would most likely divide between the two of you with some remaining loyal to you, and some remaining loyal to your former friend. How will that affect you?
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    Consider whether either of you have had this sort of experience before. Have either you or your friend had this kind of blowout before? If your answer is yes; this fight may be part of a larger pattern for one of you. Look honestly at your own past - have you ever had a fight and then written a friend off afterward? If you have; try to break your old pattern by examining your own sensitivities. If you consult with other trusted friends or family members; they may verify or dismiss the notion that this may be a pattern with you. If your friend has told you of past such blowouts, think about that friend hard. Does she have many or any friends of long standing? People who have few long term friends may develop a pattern of discarding friendships after a certain amount of time, or more crucially after a certain level of intimacy or closeness develops. This is a defense, or guarding mechanism, and you may not be able to get past it.
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    Be sure you make your decision for the right reasons. Being angry with someone is not, of itself reason enough to end a real friendship. Having your feelings hurt is not, of itself, reason enough either. These are the kinds of ups and downs that friendships like sibling relationships can endure if the two of you are willing to fight past your hurt and indignation if you can do this and come together, talk things out, and come to resolution, your friendship can sail through these rough waters and come out stronger than before, having been tested. But if your fight was over a serious fundamental value difference then your decision to end it may be the best for both of you. If; for example your argument was over whether or not to call the cops on your friend's cousin for breaking into the house of a neighbor of yours; you may have an insurmountable problem. If you want to call the police but your friend wants to protect her cousin then you have a basic value difference; to you wrong is wrong no matter who it is. To your friend blood is thicker than water and family loyalty trumps legal and moral considerations. This is a problem that you may not be able to solve with discussion. If this is the case you may have to part ways here.
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    Decide once and for all. Know that if you decide to end this friendship there is probably no going back. If you end the friendship try not to end it on the bitterest possible note. Dig deep inside yourself and be as kind as possible when you inform your soon-to-be ex-friend of your decision. If you're ending this over your friend wanting to protect a family member from possible criminal prosecution; you may not be able to achieve this. Chances are you will go ahead and report the cousin (as you should) and your ex-friend will know it is you at the root of your cousin's impending incarceration. Once done it is possible your friend will be relieved and come to you saying s/he is glad it is over and bears you no ill will - this friendship can be saved. It's possible that your friend couldn't bring him or herself to report the cousin, but it's okay with your friend if you decided to be the "bad guy." But if it really is ready to be junked try to say your goodbyes as nicely as you can: "Well I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Unfortunately I feel like this argument has been too hard on the relationship and I don't think I will be able to just let it go and resume our friendship. I think I need at minimum, a break. And honestly after the way this fight played out I feel I might never be able to go back. Let's say goodbye for now and if we end up meeting again maybe we can start fresh." When you close the door let that be the end of it.
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    Don't badmouth that person. Take the high road no matter what. Don't say bad things about that person and don't listen to anything bad about him or her either. Just say; "We had our differences and I moved on. I don't want to discuss it or anything about him or her okay?" Saying bad things or encouraging bad gossip just keeps things churning. Let it end. Your real friends will be able to discern what is true about you and what is just angry ranting.


  • Just know this! never start a fight, if your friend starts a fight try to end it in the nice way .
  • When you are saying this to the person, don't have a bad attitude because that can always make things worse.
  • Even if you do end a friendship, still apologize. If you don't want to be involved with that person, you don't get yourself involved. Just make things better and move on. If you refuse to move on, with no apology, there's another reason for a fire to spark.


  • Ending a friendship is a loss. It can feel like you've experienced a death. Give yourself time to get over it and forgive each other. If you are in a sticky situation then tell them very nicely that you can't be friends anymore, but if she/he asks why then explain what that person did.

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