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HOW TO ... BREAK UP WITH A FRIEND
Friends should be supportive, encouraging and fun. But sometimes people grow apart. What used to be fun just isn't anymore. Or one friend is finally tired of being taken advantage of.
So, how do you end the friendship? How do you break up with a friend? Renee Del Rio, a licensed clinical psychologist and life and business coach for Life Results (amazingliferesults.com), and John Mason, a licensed clinical psychologist for Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board, offered these tips:
* Be gentle. Remember to treat the person the way you want to be treated. Spend time thinking about what you might like to hear if the situation were reversed.
* Be honest about your reasons for ending the relationship. There may be something going on in your life that requires this break up. Perhaps you participate in destructive behavior when you're with this person.
* Be clear. Don't imply that there's a possibility of renewing the friendship later on if you really don't think that will happen.
* Be positive. If it's genuine, positive feedback about the person's good qualities would be appreciated. Share a good memory, what you're taking away from the friendship or how knowing them has changed your life for the better.
* Be humble. Talk about your own faults in the friendship. You could say something like, "You've probably noticed that this hasn't been working for a while, but you've been too nice to say anything. Or I've been too dense to notice." Allow the other person to feel like he or she has some control in the situation.
* Face the music. Try not to avoid the person. If you've been friends for a long time, especially good friends, this is a conversation that's best done face to face. Set aside sufficient time for a conversation to hear the other person's thoughts or concerns, either on his or her home turf or in a neutral place.
* Overwhelmed? Every relationship is different, so ending the friendship may feel devastating. If you feel like it's pressing down on you emotionally and you're not sure you can handle it on your own, get professional help.