Everything you need to know about breaking up with a friend


I've learned on the journey that as you practice self-love, you will grow and transform. Sometimes that means outgrowing old friendships, leaving people behind or realising that a friend of yours is toxic.

Breakups are tricky. There's the heartache, need for closure and awkwardness of actually making it happen. So, what do you do when the person you need to breakup with is a friend? Here’s how to know if your friendship is toxic and it’s time to walk away.

They suck the life out of you.

A toxic friend depletes youR energy. They're the types of people that you struggle to spend time around. Maybe you don't want to answer their text or phone calls because it just feels like it's so much work. Perhaps you feel like you don't get any support in return. If you're experiencing this it’s a good sign that it's time to re-evaluate the friendship that you're in.

You don't like yourself when you're with them.

Toxic friends have a knack for spreading their toxic vibes and behaviour to other people. You might notice that they bring out behaviours within you that are not your best. Maybe you find yourself doing or saying things that completely go against your values things that you would be embarrassed if you’re true friends or the friends that you know for sure. Think drinking too much, gossiping or being passive aggressive when you’re normally super chill.

They are jealous.

A jealous friend won’t acknowledge your win’s, they glaze over them preferring to talk about drama or themselves. These are the types of friends who don't like to share you with other people. Maybe they turn up at your birthday party or your baby shower preferring to sulk or withdraw themselves than celebrate you. Maybe they don't say anything at all.

They’re insecure

Being insecure means to lack confidence in yourself. We are all triggered by different things that cause us to behave out of our insecurities. Maybe a friend gets upset if you talk to her partner. Maybe she gets upset when you’re hanging out with other friends or that they really don't get on with the friends that you have. This person could be someone who sees you two as best friends and everybody else is just an acquaintance. Other things might be that they get upset if you reach a lifestyle milestone like buying a new home or getting married finding a new partner or having a child.

They blame you for their unhappiness.

My warning bells would be going off if I was in any type of relationship with somebody who doesn't take the time to take ownership of how their actions and behaviours contribute to a situation.

Everybody is going to make mistakes in friendships but a good friend can apologise for their part in an argument or a clash. They'd be willing to hear you out and share the full truth of their experiences. There is no withholding of details or refusing to deal with the issue.

A toxic friend would expect you to meet expectations that they've never communicated with you before. They may phone you up and call you out for something that's really upset them and made them unhappy. You make it seem like it's your fault, but they've never asked you for the one thing that is needed. So, when you don't meet their expectations the responses to them blame you for their unhappiness. You might find yourself left to feel like everything's your fault and that you need to change in order to improve their happiness.

All of these signs are really clear that this is somebody who won't take ownership for their behavior. And again it's really hard to move forward without a healthy friendship together.

You don't know why you're friends with them.

I want to make this one super clear. Times spent in any relationship has nothing to do with its quality or it’s value. When you force yourself to invest in a relationship that exhausts, depletes or makes you feel small this is a quick way to dishonour yourself. This isn’t self-loving.

So, how do you actually end the friendship?

You could let the friendship fade out naturally.

Most of us would like a friendship to end this way. A natural ending that doesn’t require any energy. You've either grown apart or you'd rather be spending time with other friends.

You could ghost them.

I'll be honest, I personally don't really vibe with this one but it is an option and you could take it or leave it. You could ghost them. That's not replying to the text, not replying to the phone calls or blatantly ignoring them.

I mean yes it's a way to get out of the friendship without having to deal with the situation head on on. I think it would take a lot longer for you to heal from it and get over it fully. So if you want to take it and that's what feels right for you — power to you. I'm just saying that my personal preference is not to ghost.

Have a mature conversation.

The next one is is that you do kind of formally end the friendship.

You could do it by text. Sometimes this is the best way to manage it to be supportive of your mental health. If you know this person is going to cling on and not allow you to leave or make you feel guilty for wanting to end the friendship or abuse you will be even more toxic towards you. These are all valid reasons for you to take a stand and set a boundary that says I'm not willing to put myself through all of that especially if it's deserved.

Alternatively you could do it over a phone call. If you want to have a full conversation that intends to provide closure for the both of you in ending the friendship this is a great option. Or, you could sit down face to face to talk about it.

Remember just as if you would a breakup with an ex partner that need for closure isn’t always met. Closure is about you being able to walk away with as much peace as possible. It's not about walking away and pleasing the other person while feeling good in yourself.

Still feeling unsure? Here’s what to do to help you get clear on what to do next …

I get it, this is a big decision to make. So, how do you know this is 100% the choice? Queue my favourite practice of them all … journalling.

Open up a blank page with your pen and free flow write about your situation to see what comes out. You could write a question at the top of the page like: How do I really feel about this friendship. How do I want this conversation to go. Why do I want to end this friendship. And again let your pain free flow and allow the answers to unfold on the page.

Finally, invite somebody in to help you make this decision. Make sure you choose someone who will apply critical thinking and an objective opinion. The type you can share your worries or cares without any judgement.

Now, it’s time to make a decision. What do you say Journey Gal?

Thanks to the Muster for supporting this episode of the Journey Gal podcast. Muster is a boutique advertising agency based in Wanaka, that cares about working with socially conscious brands. The Muster take care of our all our copywriting here at The JGP. If you’re looking for someone to help you craft the right words for your blog, business or project then head on through to themuster.co.nz.