Breakups are complicated. The tears, sorrow, and ice cream we wallow with can only help so. It’s easy to believe, especially in high school, that a breakup, be it romantic or platonic, is the end-all-be-all. However, as the days pass, the feelings of self-pity pass and we begin to heal. The healing process is hard and takes time, mostly because friendships, by their very definition, are complicated.
As our interests, goals, and personalities evolve, so do our friendships. Sometimes, a friendship grows deeper, creating a foundation built on trust and respect that creates a dynamic duo, Leslie Knope/Anne Perkins type of partnership. Some friendships just end up fizzling out, which is completely normal, and while a sad ending to a sweet partnership, there’s no malice left over from the occurrence.
But then there are friendships that are doomed from the start; the abusive, cruel, and manipulative types that sneak into your life unexpectedly. As the realization dawns that the friendship isn’t working out, due to malice, neglect, or general dislike, it’s time to give your fake friend the boot.
So how do you break up with a friend?
First, think Mean Girls: if you’re a Cady in a group of Reginas, it may be time to find new people. The following are steps to help end a friendship and not cause too much heartbreak.
1. Figure out your friend’s strengths
Find out what was it that brought you two together in the first place. Was it a character trait? A similar taste in music? A mutual friend? Focus on the positives of the relationship, dig deep and outline what was good about the person.
2. Understand what went wrong
Figure out what is not working in the friendship. Dr Phil moment here: pinpoint what was it that caused you to feel like the friendship could not go on. Some warning signs of a bad friendship is if the person is overly critical, dominant in the relationship, viciously competitive, or straight up disrespectful to you.
3. Go steady or call it quits
After going over the pros and cons of the relationship, decide whether or not you want to stay friendship or break up with the person. If you choose the latter, understand that this is very hard and awkward to do. But you have to respect the other person enough to do it in person, to their face. Don’t apologize, rationalize, or explain – just tell the truth.
4. Reminisce on the good times
After you’ve gone your separate ways, reflect on the good times. In a world that’s always trying to bring us down, keep some good memories stowed away! Free yourself from the grudges and ill-doings and remember all the good times you and your former friend had.
Note: going cold turkey and “ghosting” your friend is an option, but not a wise decision. By ignoring texts, hiding from him or her in the halls, and giving the person the cold shoulder, there is no communication. This leaves the other person hurt and confused and angry – at you.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that not everyone is meant to be our friend. As Dita Von Teese said, “you can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches”. Cutting out negative people from our lives is not easy, but it is necessary for our social and mental health.
In reality, friends don’t always act like they should, and when that happens, they have no room in your life. Surround yourself with people of substance, who care and appreciate your role in their life. Remember; you have the power of letting people into your circle, and furthermore, you have the power to kick them out.