It hurts when friendships end. Most times, friends tend to drift away from each other, unconsciously.
However, sometimes, you need to intentionally end a friendship. And, in this article, we will consider reasons you might want to end a friendship, and how to effectively do so.
“True friends are like gems; they are rare and precious. Don’t be afraid to let go of the stones masquerading as gems.”– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Is It Okay To End a Friendship?
It is okay to end a friendship. But, it is important to do it respectfully and face to face, unless your friend is far away.
Imagine how you will feel if your brother suddenly takes your phone from you and smashes it on the ground for no reason whatsoever. Then he walks away without saying a word to you. Your friend may feel the same if you end your friendship with them without any reason or, at least, telling them it’s over.
Ending a friendship in a disrespectful, or impudent manner can make you appear immature, unreasonable, or even stupid.
In any case, this mostly applies when you have a well-functioning friendship with this person.
“Sometimes the person you’d take a bullet for ends up being the one behind the gun.”– Tupac Shakur
5 Reasons To End A Friendship
Ending a friendship can be challenging, but it can be the best decision in some cases. Some of the most common reasons to end a friendship include;
1. Internal conflict
Internal conflict can result from mirroring your friend. I remember mirroring some of my close friends so much that I began to act like them; stuttering, laughing loudly, speaking comically, playboy semblances, etcetera.
The problem is most of the habits I began to incorporate were not aligned with my values and beliefs. I started losing my sense of self and experiencing serious self-image internal conflicts.
Mirroring can be beneficial, but only if you meld habits or beliefs that are healthy and align with your personality and values. This enables you to remain authentic. On the other hand, if you mirror habits and beliefs that are harmful (eg, laziness) they can make you lead a life you might regret.
This is arguably the worst thing a friend can do to you given how much you may have trusted them.
If your friend deliberately shares your personal information with someone, especially if you’ve made it clear that such details are confidential, it is best to end such a friendship as they seem not to hold your best interest at heart.
Toxic friends cause you more harm than good usually by:
- Making negative comments about you,
- Belittling you,
- Insulting you,
- Fighting you,
- Manipulating you,
- Harassing you,
- Bullying you,
- Consistent one-sidedness; where they mostly take more than they give,
- Gossiping and spreading rumours about you; maybe due to jealousy of some of your successful escapades,
Having a toxic friend can make you have low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. They can even cause you physical harm. You continue at your own peril.
“Your circle should consist of those who support, inspire, and uplift you. Don’t be afraid to let go of toxic connections.”– Bozoma Saint John
4. Lack of respect
If your friend violates, rather than respects your boundaries, beliefs and values, even when you ensure to respect theirs, it’s a sure sign to end such friendship.
5. Growing apart
Friends can grow apart. This could be due to:
- a prolonged inability to meet due to relatively distant locations,
- increased responsibilities,
- no longer sharing the same interests, values, or priorities, especially if one party has experienced immense career success,
- Fading mutual likeness as emotions can be fleeting, especially without steady communication,
- moving away,
- starting a new job,
and so on.
It can be painful to end a friendship on such a note. But life happens, and you just have to move on.
“Surround yourself with people who reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel; energies are contagious.”– Rachel Wolchin
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10 nicest ways to end a friendship
Ending a friendship is usually not easy, but when it is necessary to do so, it doesn’t have to be done rashly. You can cut off a friend without being rude or starting a feud.
“Sometimes the hardest part of letting go is realizing that the other person already has.”
Here are some of the nicest ways to end a friendship;
1. Determine a suitable time and place
Ending a friendship is best done through effective communication, but you have to make adequate preparation beforehand. Hence, consider finding somewhere solemn where you both can have a private conversation. This can be in a religious place (eg church, mosque, etcetera) or a restaurant, on the days they have little or no activity to avoid distraction.
Also, endeavour to be calm so your emotions don’t make you react in an inappropriate manner.
However, there are instances where your friend may avoid the conversation or a suitable time may seem unlikely. In such a case, just go for it when you see fit, regardless, rather than let it weigh you down.
2. Be honest, respectful and brief.
Endeavour to be honest, gentle, and respectful. Don’t lie, insult, or play the victim.
Nkem Owoh alias Osuofia during a movie role once said, “If you want to talk to me, talk to me direct, don’t go through the corners!” Likewise, you should consider being brief and direct in stating your reasons for ending your friendship.
3. Appreciate your friend
No matter how bad the friendship was, chances are you both had some occasional good times together. Never forget that. Acknowledge them and be grateful to your friends for those positive moments and the value they must have brought you. Don’t be an absolute defamer. It tends to make you a bitter person who lacks integrity.
4. Employ empathy
Allow your friend to express themselves. Listen to understand and not argue because, as I earlier mentioned, it tends to make you a bitter person. So show empathy even if you don’t agree with them so you can better figure out the reasons behind their actions.
5. Don’t play the victim
Sure, they may have been at fault, but playing the blame game can make you too blind to see your own shortcomings.
It can also tend to make you officious about their flaws which may make them see you as trying to claim superiority over them. This can make them defensive and consequently lead to a battle of words or even fists.
Hence, present it rather as a personal choice rather than a judgment of their character.
6. Be prepared for their reaction
When you end a friendship, your friend may become upset, confused, and even depressed. They may need space and time to process their emotions, give it to them. Their pain is usually a sign that you mean a lot to them. So respect their feelings and don’t try to be dismissive, defensive, or argumentative.
7. Know when to stop or continue
If your friend wants to have a further constructive conversation or prefers that you not go any further, respect that. Do as they request to a reasonable extent, then get it over with.
8. Maintain dignity and respect
Ending a friendship doesn’t mean you have to be enemies. Be mature about it. Maintain dignity and treat the other person with respect. Don’t spread rumours or speak negatively about them after the friendship ends. Because, again, it can make you bitter and dishonest.
9. Move on
After ending the friendship, it is usually normal to experience difficulty in letting go (for both parties, in fact). But time tends to heal all wounds. Adjust to the situation, and don’t hesitate to socialize with others and make new friends. They may even prove more helpful to you than ever.
10. Stand your ground
You must be unwavering in your choice to end a friendship given that you have come to a well-articulated conclusion. This is because some ex-friends may try to change your mind and even, sometimes subtly, try to get back with you. Maintain your resolve so you don’t have regrets.
While all the above steps are useful, most friendships tend to wear off when both parties grow apart. In this case, there may be little or no need to employ these steps. It may just be best to go with the flow.
“A true friend is someone who is there for you when they would rather be anywhere else.”– Len Wein
6 ways ending a friendship can affect you
Ending a friendship can have adverse effects on you due to;
- the nature of the friendship,
- the reasons for ending it, and
- your respective personalities.
Ending a friendship can be painful because it severs the emotional ties you have with your friend, and entails letting go of any investment you may have made in it.
However, some common effects of ending a friendship include:
1. Emotional hurt
Ending a friendship can make you feel;
- Sadness – Even if it was a toxic or unhealthy friendship, ending it may mean you lose companionship, support, and love.
- Grief – If the friendship was intimate or long-lasting, ending it may even feel like it was their demise.
- Anger – Betrayal can make you feel this way.
- Guilt – This may be the case if ending the friendship was genuinely your fault. However, it is not always possible to save a friendship. And sometimes, ending it is actually for the best of you both.
- Loneliness – As earlier mentioned, this is especially if the friend was a close one, and, sometimes, if they were toxic and abusive.
“Sometimes the best way to show someone you love them is to let them go.”
However, such emotions are usually normal when you end a friendship. So it is mostly pointless to fight those emotions. Instead, endeavour to give yourself time to process them.
Also, seek support from other friends or loved ones, engage in self-care activities, seek professional help like therapy if need be, and move on. Eventually, you may find new friends who are a better fit for you.
2. Change in social dynamics
When you end a friendship, you tend to stop or change all you used to do with your ex-friend. This is usually not easy.
All the more so if you both share mutual friends. You may even need to sever ties with them to avoid giving your ex-friend unwanted access to you.
These changes may also give you the need to find new connections or even force you to spend more time alone.
Ending a friendship can prompt introspection. You try to identify the reasons why the friendship ended, evaluate your own behaviour, and contemplate what you desire in your future friendships. This self-reflection can lead to discovering so many unpleasant things about yourself. However, if you process them well, it ultimately leads to personal development and the opportunity to learn from past experiences.
4. Increased independence
If you come out of a codependent friendship, you may find the reality of relying on yourself alone a bit challenging. However, given time, you will become more resourceful, as you learn to meet your own needs and rely on your own strengths.
It is usually good news to end a friendship if it was causing stress, conflict, or negativity in your life. By ending such toxicity or abuse, you can help create space for more positive and supportive connections.
6. Sense of freedom
Ending a friendship that is stifling can be liberating. It allows you to make choices that align with your values and interests without feeling constrained or influenced by the dynamics of the friendship.
“It is better to be alone than in bad company.” – George Washington– George Washington
Ending a friendship should never be on the sole basis of having a conflict because having conflict is usually natural. Hence, it should only be considered when a reasonable amount of effort has been applied to make the friendship work but to no avail.
“Friendship should be based on trust, mutual respect, and shared values. If those foundations crumble, it’s time to reevaluate.”
Also, like in most Mafian movies where they handle a matter and say, “It’s just business, nothing personal”, ending a friendship shouldn’t be taken ‘personally’. Not being friends with someone does not necessarily mean that you should be enemies with them.
That kind of approach will usually cause more harm than good. Given that you will waste useful time, energy and resources best reserved for improving yourself – your business, family, health etcetera.
Ergo, it is best to ensure you remain respectful and humane even with ex-friends.
“Sometimes you outgrow people. It doesn’t mean you hate them, it just means you realize you deserve better.”
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