The Drama Free Way to Break Up With a Friend

Tips for Ending a Friendship as Kindly as Possible

Young women arguing in cafe
Henglein and Steets/Cultura/Getty Images

You want to move on from your relationship but you don't want to be intentionally cruel to someone you once called a friend. And you definitely want to avoid the drama of tears and hurt feelings. Ending a friendship is a difficult thing. Here are some tips on how to break up with your pal the right way.

Make Sure Your Friend Understands Why You Are Ending the Relationship, But Don't Start an Argument In Order to End Things

Once you've made the decision to end your friendship, you can't then go and start an argument.

It's bad form and it really won't accomplish anything. 

Instead, be clear but kind on why you are ending things with a friend. Give them a specific example if you can and let them know why this is something you won't tolerate. 

For instance, "I did not like the way you put me down at the party last night. This has happened before but I just can't be around that" is better than, "You're such a witch! You acted like a jerk at that party."

Name calling should always be avoided. (You'll be glad you took the high road after the breakup is done.) Telling someone you're unhappy with them is never easy, but sometimes friendships actually become stronger after a frank discussion.

 

Address the Issues

If you talked with your friend in the past about how you felt, this will be an easy discussion. Refer to the time(s) you brought the issue up, and any resolution you two might have agreed on. (For example, "Do you remember last year when I asked you to not make comments behind my back to Sally?

You said you would try to stop, but I just heard two more today.")

When you bring up the issue, give your friend a chance to explain. There may be a misunderstanding that you didn't realize existed.

Ending a Friendship Through Email

Sometimes talking things through with a friend is not possible. They are clueless or you've already put up with too many snarky jabs or times when they talk over you.

In these cases, you'll probably do your breakup through email. When your friend won't listen, you are left with no other choice. Some things to keep in mind, however:

  • Make the email short and to the point. Don't pour out your heart because your friend will feel bombarded.
  • Don't initiate an email fight. Sending nasty emails back and forth will only leave you both feeling horrible.
  • Focus on specific events and how they made you feel, rather than assuming why your friend did the things they did.

 

Breaking Up in Person

Depending on the length and closeness of your friendship, you may want to break up in person. This is especially important if your friend has been dear to you in the past. Think of it this way, giving positive energy to the end of your friendship will help you find a new one that much easier and without baggage like anger and resentment. If you end things positively, you'll be better able to get closure on the loss of your friendship.

To initiate the break up, sit down at a convenient time for both of you and talk about the past issues which have lead you to the current situation. Even though you are ending your relationship, keep your discussion healthy. It doesn't pay to name call or be nasty.

Let Your Friend Know It Is Over

Be sure to make your break up intentions clear to your friend, or they may walk away with the impression that you're still friends. After you talk about the issues that have made your friendship unravel, let them know this is the end. Say something like:

  • "Based on the things we've talked about, I can no longer continue with our friendship. It makes me sad to say goodbye to you, but I feel our friendship has changed quite a lot and we aren't close anymore."
  • "I will remember the great times we have had, and I wish you the best. I will always care about you as a friend but we can no longer hang out together."

Allow Your Friend to Process the Break Up

Your friend may be in denial that your relationship is ending, so give them some time to process everything. They may have questions or want clarification on what they did wrong, so be sure to be patient and understanding.

Ending a friendship in a calm manner is no small task! But in the long run you'll be happier you did it that way.