Woman annoyed at girlfriend

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.

Ending a friendship

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.

More about friendship

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Comments on "How to break up with a toxic friend"

Jolene February 02, 2013 | 7:22 PM

I have a friend like this and its horrible she slaps me and threatens me everyday she lite me on fire once. we just got into a fight and im hoping our friendship will be over in a few days im going to confront her and tell her how I feel the only problem is, is that she talks to all my other friends and she trashes her old friends shes 14 and im 13 we share a locker sit next to eachother on the bus and hang out right after school and my mom and everyone in my family is telling me to break it off but im scared

Emma May 23, 2012 | 11:54 AM

I agree Hannah, communication is they key to any good relationship, even if you are wanting to end the friendship, the other person deserves to know that and why. It will help them understand why you are pulling out, and will hopefully help them in their future friendships and relationships. You were friends with them for a reason in the beginning and they deserve to know the truth.

Hannah May 23, 2012 | 9:56 AM

I think communication is key in a situation like this one. Just be honest and genuine, without getting catty!

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