Friendship is something we all treasure. When we are young, we base our worth on the number of friends we have rather than the quality of our friendships. As we grow, we face the difficult circumstances of watching friends phase in and out of our lives for various reasons.
Since I was used to friendships ending organically, I had never experienced a friendship ending by choice until my adult years. Trapped in toxic friendships, I worked harder than ever to bring them back to health because I believed once a friend, always a friend! It wasn't until a friend of mine left me suddenly that I realized leaving was an option–I had a choice in the matter.
Some friends bring out the worst in us, continually steal the spotlight, or disrespect us behind our backs. These friendships aren't real. Boundaries must be set, and we must decide to love ourselves enough to get rid of toxic relationships in our lives because some simply cannot be continued.
But how do we end toxic friendships?
Letting go is never easy because we don't like failing. If a friendship doesn't last, we often blame ourselves. But it's important to recognize that we can't get along with everyone and there is a season for everything.
1. Intentionally phase yourself out.
As I mentioned before, we often naturally phase out friendships when we move on in our lives, but to leave a friend, we must be intentional. Stop calling as often, don't respond to texts as frequently, and definitely stop making plans to get together. A clean break will often cause drama, so phasing out is always a better, less hurtful option.
2. Have a conversation.
If this friendship has a long history, you may owe an explanation. Sit down as you would for a relationship break-up and explain how you feel. There is never a great way to say, “I no longer want to be your friend.” But, it's necessary. Go into this conversation with your mind made up so that your friend's response doesn't change your mind. If you have given your friendship many chances, it is unlikely change will occur that will make a difference.
3. Let yourself grieve.
Losing a friend is hard, and it's important to let yourself have time to grieve the good times. Then remind yourself of the hard times and the reasons why ending the toxic relationship was necessary.
Staying in a relationship and putting up with the drama is much easier than calling it quits. But respect yourself enough to surround yourself with friends who lift you up, have your back, and support you no matter what.
If you need a reminder of what a good friend looks like, watch the video below!
Remember, no friendship is perfect. But you should always be moving in a positive direction.