3 Signs It’s Time to End a Friendship.

Breaking up is (nearly always) hard to do, but breaking off friendships is far more difficult than ending romantic relationships.

The reason is that at some point, most of us are aware that romantic relationships (even marriages) may end, but many of us see friendships as being for life. As one good friend put it, after awhile you become almost like family.

However, just like there are good reasons to sometimes break off contact with family members, there are good reasons to end a friendship.

After having had two friendships end in the past year, I wish I had paid more attention to my gut and saw the signs that were there, but I chose not to see.

1. Your friend only contacts you when they need something.

We all have friends we may not be in constant contact with but turn to immediately in times of crisis. However, I am not talking about those situations or those people.

I’m talking about friends who only contact you if they need help moving, need to borrow money, or want to complain about their significant other but never reciprocate when you need them.

True friends are there for each other. Sometimes when they need you, it’s impossible to drop everything right then and there, but a friend will make a point to be there for you when you need them.

If it feels like your relationship is all give and take with you being the one who is giving and them taking, then it may be time to re-evaluate the friendship.

2.  They discuss things you shared with them without your permission.

We’re all guilty of this.

However, it’s one thing to share that your friend has gotten a new dog or moved to a new place and another thing entirely to share personal information you know they wouldn’t share with just anyone.

In this day and age of social media and blogging, some people seem to deliberately mine others for information to use for material or anecdotes.

Even before the age of the internet, some writers did this including author/social gadfly Truman Capote who famously betrayed the trust of his socialite friends including Babe Paley and Gloria Vanderbilt for his planned roman a clef Answered Prayers. (Indeed, he revealed such intimate details of the former’s philandering husband, CBS founder William Paley, that he left no doubt who the “inspiration” behind his characters were.)

While most (thankfully) will never have to worry about being the inspiration for a writer of Capote’s status, nearly everyone today has a blog, and I do know people who have had things written about them without their knowledge or consent.

In one case, an ex who was still “friends” with her ex-boyfriend wrote many unsavory things about him and even suggested he suffered from various mental illnesses. While she did not name him, she included so many personal and work-related details that anyone with Google could have found out who he was.

Frankly, I would not call a person who does that a friend.

Also, bear in mind that some people just want the personal stuff so they can feel better about their own situations or use it against you at a later time. Again. that’s not a friend.

If you suspect you are being mined for personal information for whatever reason, ask yourself if this is a case where you are constantly being asked to reveal personal things about yourself but your friend reveals little or nothing about themselves. If so, it’s possible you are being used and you don’t even know it.

3. Your friend cannot take criticism.

Being a friend and loving unconditionally does not mean that you cannot criticize someone, especially if you feel they are going to do something they’ll regret and/or hurt themselves or others.

Granted, constantly criticizing someone or judging their every decision is bad, but sometimes tough love is in order.

I’ve had friends dole out tough love to me and while I did not want to hear it at the time, I later thanked them for it. As I mentioned in a recent piece, any relationship, including friendships, are going to have periods when the two of you disagree and even times when you do not speak.

It’s to be expected.

If someone wants unconditional love and never any criticism, then I strongly advise them to get a friend of the four-legged variety and not a human one.

As someone who hates losing friends, I know first hand how hard it can be to end a friendship. However, just like I hope none of you would stay in a romantic relationship that isn’t working, I hope that none would stay in a friendship that simply is not working or is making you feel drained and unappreciated rather than adding to your life.

Ending a friendship—even a long term one—need not be dramatic or nasty. Simply saying that you no longer feel like there is a place in your life for it or saying goodbye and that it’s time to move on, while thanking them for the memories, may be more than enough.

Cutting negative friendships out of your life can help you focus more on the ones that are working. Treasure them like the precious gifts they are.



10 Types of Odd Friendships You’re Probably Part Of.

6 Ways to Spot the Energy Suckers in Your Life.



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Ed.: Catherine Monkman

A hopefully-helpful bonus:

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Tom Apr 11, 2016 6:04am

Someone who reacts with defensiveness, denial, and/or complete lack of concern when you tell them flat out something they have said or done is hurtful to you. Game over.

Yonks Dec 21, 2015 7:16am

I agree with Tomatotomahhhto – what gives us the right to criticise others? Essentially criticism boils down to judging people and Surely unconditional love is about the opposite of this. I’m a fan of openness & honesty, yes, but judgement and criticism, no. I would reverse your number 3 and actually say goodbye to critical / judgmental people. If people are honest and open in their feedback and ask really good questions to help their friend grow then criticism need not be necessary and says more about the criticiser rather than the criticised.

CoolDepot Jul 18, 2015 2:21pm

but WHY do we have friends?

I think a friendship is a job that benefits both parts at a psychological level.
A friend will work with you on your mental image of yourself, your self steem, your dreams, your projects… at a psychological level.
Your friend may also help you with money or your actual work, but only because that will help you at a psychological level.
A friend will make you feel safe, sane, confident and with a purpose because he/she will ¨remind¨ you your best moments, your past desicions, your past passions, and so on, in ways only your friend knows how to by means of empathy.

It is increasingly difficult to stop a friendship the older or more intense it is, because we are losing all those ¨reminders¨and potential boost with it and we may even be dependant on them at some level.
A friendship should end (or stop for x amount of time) when it becomes a psychological drain rather than a psychological boost.
This happens when the empathy connection between the friends lives weakens due to a change in compatibility, which is natural because we constantly change while we pass through the stages of our lives, so we will eventually de-sync.

If a friendship is developed well enough it will understand this and be able to stop it for x amount of time until the friendship becomes compatible again, or to mold the friendship along the changes to keep it stable.
If not i will rupture by necessity.

So the key SIGN to monitor is Empathy.
Is your friend been as empathic as you need he/she to be?
Are you been as empathic as your mate needs you to be?
Can you or can he/she fullfill the empathy needs?
Yes or no?

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Kimberly Lo

Kimberly Lo is a yoga instructor and freelance editor & writer based in Charlottesville, VA. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework, travel, and photography. Connect with her on Facebook.