We’ve all been there — we’ve had a friend that no longer makes us feel welcome, or one that tested our boundaries a little too much. We’ve had friends that took advantage of us, and friends we’ve grown apart from.
It’s a touchy thing to deal with, and many of us have completely ghosted a friend (or been ghosted ourselves) because it feels easier to handle ending a friendship that way.
I’ve ghosted a friend and regretted it. I’ve let friendships go on too long because I kept thinking things would change. I also had times when I was able to talk to my friend about my feelings and we were able to come to an understanding (after lots of tears).
Changing friendships are just as hard as when we face problems in our romantic relationships. In my almost five decades on this earth, I’ve realized that this really is a part of life … and that there are a few different ways to let friends go.
You don’t have to end a friendship with a huge fight.
Many of us feel like it has to be all or nothing, and if the friendship isn’t like it was at its highest point, that must be it. The truth is, people change all the time. There are times in life when it’s okay to walk away from something without a huge, dramatic fight or scene. Simply let it taper off.
It feels foreign to so many of us to walk away unless something huge and horrible happens. However, we do grow apart, and we are allowed to stop enjoying someone — and walk away when we do.
You don’t have to have an argument and storm out on each other. You can simply stop racing out to them and let them know the friendship isn’t serving you any longer.
This is easier said than done, I know.
Take a break.
Maybe you need some time away. I’ve had friends I’ve lost touch with for years, then we meet up again. Or maybe you get together every week and you take a respite from that for a few months.
Absence does make the heart grow fonder when the relationship feels right to you. There are times we need space to gain some perspective.
Just let the friendship be what it’s going to be.
Being a casual friend with someone who used to be your best friend really is okay. No one wants to feel like they are forcing a relationship with someone who doesn’t want one with them. Nor does anyone want to feel like they should hang onto a friend out of pity.
If it’s not too painful for you to have a less involved relationship with someone you used to be really close with, do that with the knowledge that the friendship isn’t what it used to be.
Talk about it.
Again, this is so hard to do. No one is a mind reader, though. We’ve all hurt someone and had no idea, or said something that bothered them.
I had a talk with a friend whom I felt was taking advantage of me. She never asked how I was, always so caught up in her own drama she didn’t even seem to care.
The truth was, she was going through a really hard time and didn’t even realize what she was doing.
During our talk she was responsive and we were able to start fresh.
This doesn’t always work, though. If you take the time to tell someone how you are feeling, they are allowed to react in any way they want. Then it’s up to you to decide if you want to stay involved with them.
Life is hard, and so is friendship. Just because we’re grown doesn’t mean we don’t face some friendship drama.
Know that it happens to all of us, and it is normal to have big feelings about it — and if a friendship is no longer enhancing your life, it’s absolutely okay to let it go.
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