I never intentionally ended a friendship until I was in my 40s. Sure, I’ve lost friends along the way — that’s just life. There were times I could feel a friendship fizzling and I would just let it fade away. However, it wasn’t until I was older that I realized I had every right to end a friendship if it was causing more harm to my life than joy.
We all know friendships are about give and take. They ebb and flow and there are times when we don’t have the time we wish we had for each other. But, these aren’t the friendships you throw away. I am talking about divorcing a friend in order for you to live a better life.
I was really nervous to intentionally end a friendship for the first time, but something had been telling me for almost six months that I needed her out of my life.
She was a taker and constantly called me (sometimes over and over) even if she knew I was doing something important with my kids or boyfriend. She once called me at 6:00 a.m. on Christmas Eve because she missed an ex-boyfriend. Something we had talked about 20 times before.
She never asked how I was doing, and if I tried to tell her, she’d turn the conversation back to herself. There was never a time she came to my house, yet I constantly went to see her.
I should add that before I ended our friendship I had a talk with her about my concerns, twice. She’d get mad at me if I didn’t respond to her texts or calls, and I told her that I was busy working or with my kids and I couldn’t be on call for her.
I also felt like the filler friend — the person she’d call if she didn’t have a date or another friend to do something with.
I was angry and resentful and every time she called. I didn’t want to talk to her, nor did I want to feel the wrath of not getting back to her fast enough. I began to wonder what I was even doing. This wasn’t fair to her, nor was it fair to me. After I ended our relationship, I felt so much better, and it left an opening in my life to meet new people.
Here are some reasons to end a friendship:
If they take too much.
There are givers and there are takers — we all know some of each. If you are friends with someone who isn’t respecting your boundaries and they keep talking, even though you’ve talked to them about how you feel, chances are they aren’t ever going to listen.
If they are zapping all of your energy every time you are with them, ask yourself: is this really how I want to feel in my free time when I’m supposed to be with a friend?
If they don’t respect your time.
Are they so self-absorbed that they ignore it when you tell them it’s not a good time to stop by, and come over anyway? Do they call you even when they know you are about to meet up with another friend, or try to keep talking to you long after you’ve told them you have to go?
Yes, there are times when we need our friends and they tell us to call no matter what.
But there’s also a line that gets crossed, and usually the person crossing knows they are doing it and will continue to do it as long as you let them. There are times when the only way to let them know it’s not okay with you, is to walk away and end a friendship.
If they betray your trust.
If you confide in someone and suddenly everyone else knows your shit, that’s a horrible feeling. It can also be hard to sink in. You’ve trusted someone and they’ve let you down. Maybe it was telling someone else something you told them in secret, or going behind your back and letting your kids do something you specifically said wasn’t okay with you.
I believe in giving someone the benefit of the doubt — once. If it happens again, you have to get real with yourself and decide if it’s worth it to always have to watch your back with this person.
If you grow apart.
Listen, there are times we just grow apart. Our life takes us in different directions, or we don’t feel that spark we used to when we are with a friend. It’s okay to end a friendship if you’re not into it anymore. It doesn’t have to be anyone’s fault, and there don’t have to be any bad feelings or anger. There are times we fall out of love with our friends, and that is okay.
If they bring you down.
We all have times when we feel negative and need a friend to rely on. But if there’s someone in your life who is always negative and they bring you down with them, is it really worth it? Are they always bad mouthing everyone and everything? Do you feel good when you are with them? The phrase “You are who you surround yourself with” exists for a reason. No, our friends don’t have to be on all the time, and we fall in love with those who are real because they make us feel real.
However, there’s a difference between that and someone who gets off on talking about everyone else’s flaws and literally wants to bring you down with them. It doesn’t feel good, and it’s not healthy.
If they aren’t putting any effort into the friendship.
If you feel like you are always the one reaching out, or they are always cancelling, you start to wonder if they even want to be your friend any longer. You can ask them if something is going on or if you’ve done something to hurt them. You can also express how you are feeling a bit hurt because it feels like they aren’t into the friendship.
If you do those things and they still don’t seem into the friendship, it’s time to break away and hang with people who actually want to be in your company.
We’re so often inclined to people-please and give folks the benefit of the doubt. But that means we put up with more bullshit than we should. Friendships take work, and they do change over the years. There’s no need to be friends with someone who doesn’t respect you, someone you don’t trust, or someone who doesn’t seem interested in returning the friendship.
There’s a world full of wonderful people out there — and if we hang onto stale friendships, we aren’t making room for new ones.
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