How To Know When To Breakup With A Friend

Breaking up with a friend is a very dramatic and emotionally trying process. It’s not much different than breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend, in fact, it may actually be worse since we tend to be closer and know friends much longer than many of our romantic relationships. I’ve had a few friendship breakups and they freaking sucked but were necessary in order to prevent me from going insane. The first time I had to divorce a friend was just a couple of years ago. (There had been many breakups in this friendship beforehand.)

I had been friends with the same chica since I was eleven years old and by the time we were in high school people on the street would come up to us and ask us if we were twins. We look nothing alike but our mannerism, the way we could speak with gestures and looks yet without words and the way we dressed had become so similar people thought we were related. Unfortunately, my BFF had a troubled home life, in high school it was a no brainer that she would come and live with my family. She was like my sister already, my parents knew they had to intervene because she was being emotionally and physically abused. Her parents didn’t even bother to come find her. Things were dire.

It seemed like a great thing to have my sister from another mister live with me but it wasn’t. She was in a fragile and dark place and quickly spiraled out of control. I won’t give you all the details but I can say, that I tried my best to support her and help her but it was no use, she was addicted to finding new ways to hurt herself and self-destruct. If you’ve ever had a troubled friend or family member, you probably know how emotionally draining it is to watch someone fall so hard. It was driving me crazy and pushing me into a dark place, so I just stopped speaking to her. The friendship breakup had begun.

It sucked because I knew that she needed me but I knew that I wasn’t helping her and she was hurting me. Just like when someone is an addict, you have to allow a self-destructive person to hit rock bottom so that they can find the will to build themselves back up. I felt like I was abandoning her when in reality I was just no longer enabling her bad behavior by bailing her out whenever she got into trouble. Years later, we tried to reconnect but she wasn’t in a different place. It sucks, I miss my sister but hey, I don’t miss feeling like crap every time I see her.

If you suspect you may have to breakup with a friend, here are some warning signs.

It’s Just Not Fun Anymore – If every time you see someone in your life you feel frustrated, annoyed or angry at them then it might be time to part ways. A friendship is supposed to be enjoyable most of the time. Squabbles, disagreements and arguments come with the territory but if you feel worse after hanging out with a good friend then this could mean the relationship is toxic.

You’ve Told Them How You Feel And Nothing Has Changed – You can’t really blame someone for mistreating you, if you haven’t voiced that you feel mistreated. However, if you’ve told your friend time and time again that the way they speak to you sometimes or the way they ditch you or the way they flirt with your boo, or whatever it is, makes you uncomfortable and they still continue to behave in that way, then they’re not respecting your boundaries.

Do You Even Have Anything To Say To Each Other Anymore? – A tell tale sign for me was the fact that I just had nothing to say to my BFF anymore. We didn’t have very much in common and the only thing I was interested in was telling her that something in our friendship had to give. We were on different paths, I was trying to navigate adolescence and she was still wrapped up in what I felt like was childish drama.

Everything Is About Them – Selfishness shouldn’t be tolerated in any relationship. Friendships should be equal. You should both be ready to catch each other when you fall. When you’re the one always offering advice, always catching, always there to rescue your troubled friend, it’s exhausting. A friendship should be a shared experience but when one person demands that you constantly listen, help and be present, it’s no longer a friendship so much as a parent-child relationship. You should be getting something out of this, otherwise what’s the point?

You’re Always Rationalizing Their Behavior – You shouldn’t be constantly convincing yourself that your friendship is “fine” and they didn’t “mean to do that.” This is what people in abusive relationships become conditioned to do when they are being manipulated by their abuser. If your friend is nice one day then shit the next and this is a constant occurrence don’t let their good behavior overshadow the horrible things they’ve done.

A friendship breakup is a difficult transition but it may just be the thing you need to move on with your life.

Remember guys THIS is what friendship is really about.

[Image via. Shutter Stock/Odua Images]

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  1. thinking says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who is considering breaking up with a friend.
    Except my friend isn’t that troubled its more of a can’t accept change and can’t accept that the world doesn’t revolve around them or that others can br ore happier then them type of deal.

  2. Relieved says:

    I recently broke up with a friend who was extremely self absorbed and the relationship had been one sided for quite awhile. I was sad at first but now I realize she required so much time and energy that I feel a sence of relief it's over! Not to mention she was turning into a horrible person and it was just too hard pretending to like her anymore.

  3. Sometimes you just realize you are on "different levels". There is not anything wrong with it. I felt really bad for "breaking up" with a friend years ago. But it was a toxic friendship-she was very judgmental, she liked to play games with people (including her friends…which was weird), she was jealous, and she lied. I had to do it. Funny thing was…we decided not to be "dramatic" about it and if people asked we would just say we were not as close anymore. Guess what. So many came up to me after that saying she was talking about me behind my back. At that point, I knew I did the right thing.

  4. NotThinEnough says:

    I had to give up an 8 year friendship a couple of weeks ago. She'd always been someone I thought would be a friend for life but after confronting me for a second time-the first time was in my home after I had invited her and her sister over for a very expensive, special dinner I had planned for months-about why it was absolutely imperative that I get gastric bypass surgery or the equivalent lap band. The first time I was humiliated beyond words but we had been drinking a lot of wine with dinner and she kept saying how much she cared for me etc… So I gave her a pass and let it go. But this time it was unexpected since I had only asked her a question about who I should talk to about refinancing my home.

    We'd had numerous conversations about how I hated it when people did this to me. She knew very well that I would never retaliate and have never done anything like that to anyone about their faults. I am just not that way. I told her I was angry about it and she could have cared less. She said awful things to me and basically under the guise (it's what everyone always says) "we are just concerned about you because we love you", she also stated that she didn't care if I ever talked to her again. The lack of respect that people show me just because I don't fit their image of who I should be has followed me all of my life. When I was very thin, it was always something that was wrong with me that led people to bully and berate me including my own family. If I wasn't walking correctly enough for my neighbor, or wearing perfume that someone didn't like, or talking a certain way, or wearing my hair, or makeup, clothing the way someone thought I should…it was always something I needed to change to be "better". After years of trying, I finally stopped. Even a guy who supposedly was in love with me for years had a picture of who he THOUGHT I should be and what he thought I looked like in his mind. The day he said he loved my green eyes was a real "eye opener" since I have brown eyes and he had pictures of me. After realizing I wasn't his picture, I left before that relationship was even a relationship. This latest incident shocked me to my core but didn't surprise me. I realized at that moment that our friendship had run its course. I would never again be able to trust her or anyone else with my confidences. I'd showed her my most honest and ugly sides and I also showed her my best sides. But never again with anyone. I'd never be able to forgive her for being so mean to me especially after I asked her to stop more than once. Being thin and pretty and the person she felt I needed to be was more important than the person I am and the struggles I go through to fight to be a better person. I'm not perfect but I am highly conscious of what judging people by their looks can cost and I take great pains not to do it. But in order for me to grow and to move forward, even with these past couple of really awful years, I needed to get rid of someone who turned on me once too often. As the saying goes, when someone shows you who they are, believe it. So, I start my new job in a couple of weeks and hopefully will find new, better people as friends.

  5. Daniela says:

    This is quite true, however sometimes it really hurts to break up. I have a friend like you are describing and I still don't want to break up with her.

  6. Oh Well says:

    I recently broke off a 5 year friendship. I felt kind of bad thinking back on it because maybe to her it came out of nowhere (I stopped talking to her, didn't attend her birthday celebration, and finished the break up via a series of back and forth facebook messages…). I was googling "how to break up with a friend," to see if there was a better approach I maybe should have tried. I even considered reaching out to her again because I felt bad for just stopping cold. But when I read the warning signs listed in the article I felt a lot better. I noticed about 4/5 of them in our friendship. It sucks to think that five years of something can be over just like that. I rarely ever cut people out of my life. Friendships may fade, but I've never had to burn a bridge like this. I guess that's why I feel so bad about it. But I know I'm a happier, more sane person this way.

    1. Hestitant says:

      I feel like I'm in the same boat here. I too stopped talking to a long-term friend and as a result, had her 21st birthday invitation "revoked," but I am still unsure whether to say anything to her. She was completely rude towards me the last time we saw each other, although I feel that she thinks it was I who is in the wrong. Who knows. The worst part about all this is that I may have a run-in with her in the near future.

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