How to Let Go of a Bad Friendship

Some of us tend to run into bad friendships, get invested in it but then come to realize that the friendship was abusive or manipulative. If you're concerned about being part of a bad friendship, it may be time to cut the ties and let go.


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    Think over what isn't working out about this friendship. Identify the things that are happening in the friendship that you're uncomfortable about. This might be any number of things, but some key things to be concerned about include:
    • Your friend keeps putting you down all the time, criticizes you and makes fun of you. Your friend may also do this in front of other people.
    • Your friend makes you feel uncomfortable, unhappy or distressed, a lot of the time.
    • Your friend is stealing from you, taking things without asking and pretending it's "sharing", breaking your things, etc.
    • Your friend is really nasty about all your other friends and/or family members. Your friend tries to keep you away from other people.
    • Your friend is nasty to you.
    • Your friend lies to you a lot, tries to cover up or pretends to be or have things that aren't real.
    • Your friend is abusing you in any manner, emotionally, physically or both.
    • Your friend is committing crimes, is trying to get you to commit crimes or cover up for them, etc.
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    Delete this friend from your contacts, email, phone, etc. Keeping the contact details only tempts you to call them or email them when you reach a time where regret clouds your judgment.
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    Tell this person exactly why this happened. Don't be too harsh, but just calmly say that you weren't happy in this friendship and you think it would be better for the both of you if you cut ties.
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    When you begin to regret (that will happen), just remind yourself that this was done "for the better". Think to yourself of all the cruel or abusive things they've done. If they were a true friend in the first place, they wouldn't have made you feel this way.
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    They are going to say or do something. People like to have the last word. When they confront you, say exactly what you said to them before, it will show you're the better person if you stay calm. Eventually they will realize that it's over.
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    Don't dwell on the past. It's time to live in the moment and plan for the future. The past is the past and it's not coming back. Living in the past will only make you regret and miss them more, and then you'll come crawling back to them, and the bad friendship will start all over again.
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    As much as you want to think, they won't change. If you jump back into the friendship, they may seem like a great friend at first, but they will go back to their old ways.
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    Don't let them manipulate you. They might do this by acting like a 'wounded puppy' or telling you all the bad things you've done. They're just doing that because they're sad and scared of losing their punching bag (you).
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    It may seem like the worst decision of your life and nothing will ever be right again, but that's not true. It will get better. You'll begin to think less and less of them everyday and you won't even notice. It'll all be okay.


  • Be brave for yourself. They weren't always your friend and that can happen again and you will be just fine and dandy.
  • Don't feel bad about yourself. They're the ones who misbehaved, not you. You deserve better.
  • Know that you're a much better person than them. Resist the temptation to call them when you feel lonely or happy, and go out and make new friends instead.
  • Not everyone is as nice as you think; some 'friends' will purposely hurt you and you're going to have to learn to forget it and move on. They're not worth it. There's billions of people in the world who could be your friend, you don't need that one person who hurt you. Get out there, make new friends with new people and enjoy getting to know them.
  • If you refer to this friend by a shortened version of their name or by a nickname, stop doing it. Start referring to them by their real name if and when you have to speak about them. By doing this, you are disassociating yourself from them on a personal and social level so they'll come from being the friend category to the person you once knew category however you should really only do this if you don't plan on associating with them again in the future.
  • Find some new friends to hang out with, maybe you have some other friends that you could sit with or talk to.
  • Do not go back to them, cut ties completely. If you go back, their behavior will likely just get worse because they know they can get away with it.
  • If things get really out of hand, try talking to the school guidance counselor or someone else you trust.
  • Sometimes you need to sit and think about it, and if you were also in the wrong, maybe you two should work things out and find common ground.
  • If someone is trying these methods to let go of you, acknowledge what you've done to ruin your friendship. If you really feel bad, are willing to change, and want your friend back, check your tone and facial expression. If you show signs of dishonesty, it lowers your chances of being together again.
  • If you end the friendship but are still friendly, avoid doing activities alone with them. Also get mutual friends to understand your situation.


  • If someone is trying to use these methods to let go of you, never insult them or continue to be mean. That will only cement their feelings even more.
  • If they approach you trying to change, don't fall for their trick. Only give them a second chance if they really feel bad for ruining it.
  • If you feel like you were the one who caused the relationship to fail, but know that you did nothing wrong, try apologizing in your explanation of why you're not friends anymore.

Article Info

Categories: Friendship Problems