How to navigate the process of ending a negative friendship

A good friendship can help us to live a longer, happier life. On the flip side, a negative friendship can actually impact your health for the worse. Still, even if you are aware of the negative friendship you might have, it can be difficult to know when and how to let go. If you feel that a friendship of yours is coming to a close, here are some thoughts to consider as you go through the process.

The first thing you must do is try to resolve the situation. Ask yourself what happened that caused the dynamic between you and your friend to change. Maybe there was no fault or negative factors involved; the friendship simply ran its course. Not all friendships are meant to last forever, nor does their duration define their value. If there is no way to resolve the situation, and you feel it’s time to end the friendship, at least give the other the courtesy of a reason. You don’t need to give an exhaustive explanation, but say something out of respect for them and the friendship you shared.

Another thing to consider is that you don’t have complete control over people’s impressions of you. While we hope our friends know our true character, their opinions of us can be surprising when put to the test. If there’s a misunderstanding, you can try to truthfully explain yourself, but your friend may doubt your explanation; they may do this to protect their ego or for other reasons that are impossible to know. Prepare yourself for the possibility that unbeknownst to you, various frustrations have been brewing in their mind for a while, and they may offer some unflattering criticism. It may hurt to hear, but at the very least, you will be able to understand the decay of your friendship rather than constantly questioning the underlying reason.

If the all-of-the-above displays to you that your friendship is a negative one, then it’s time to consider whether ending your friendship is for the best. If you do wind up cutting ties, then make sure not to interfere with mutual friends who continue a relationship with your former friend. Just because you ended a relationship doesn’t mean your friends must take sides and do the same. By no means is it a betrayal if your mutual friends don’t take sides.

We recognize that ending a friendship is incredibly hard, but hopefully, these thoughts will help you navigate the process a little better.

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