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How to break up with a toxic friend

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Ending a friendship

Not all friendships are meant to last. In fact, some just aren’t good for you. If you’ve found yourself dealing with someone who’s turning out to be more of a foe than a friend, it may be time to cut your losses.
Woman annoyed at girlfriend

We share some simple but effective ways to distance yourself from a toxic friend.

Start creating space

If the friend you want to detach yourself from is someone you spend time with regularly, it’s time to start putting some distance between you. It’s not always easy to stop seeing someone abruptly so starting slow is a must. Limit texts and phone calls, say no to more and more invitations and otherwise limit the amount of contact you have with her.

Explain but don’t place blame

At some point, questions will likely be raised about why you’re never available to hang out anymore. Rather than immediately going into attack mode, try to explain what it is about your friend’s behavior that upsets or frustrates you. She’ll still get upset but if you use “I” statements (I feel, I think) rather than starting every sentence with the more accusatory “you,” (You always do this, or you always say that) you are less likely to start an all-out war.

Be curt but firm

If you really have tried to make the friendship work but you’ve come to realize this person just isn’t good for you, then be curt but firm in your desire to distance yourself. Any flip-flopping on your part will just invite more contact. It’s normal to feel guilty about what you’re doing but if this friend really is a toxic part of your life (makes you feel bad, is a bad influence), then know you’re doing the right thing.

Keep your distance

Now that you’ve created distance, it’s important to maintain it. This means no answering any calls or texts, not engaging if your former friend is now sending you angry messages, delete her from Facebook and Twitter and don’t say yes to any invites hoping things will be different. It’s tough, but it’s still better than maintaining a friendship with someone who treats you poorly or who is a drain on your life.

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