When your friendship heads south, how do you let your BFF know that it’s time for you to hit the road? Whether you’re dealing with a toxic friendship or have simply grown apart from your pal (and you know there’s no growing back), there’s a right way and a wrong way to break up with your bestie. Here’s how to end a friendship like a real adult — a.k.a. with grace and class!
How Do You Know When to End It?
First thing’s first: how do you know when to end a friendship in the first place? It starts with asking yourself two questions. First, how did you become friends? Second, what do you want in a friendship going forward?
Sometimes, we know when it’s time to end a friendship by simply thinking about the way it began. Not all friendships begin with a rom-com-style “meet-cute.” We might become friends with someone because we’ve known them a long time or more out of convenience, like when you became besties with your next-door neighbor in kindergarten.
It’s also important to ask yourself whether being in this relationship is really serving you. Like a romantic relationship, friendships can become a drain on your time and energy when they are one-sided or toxic.
When we’re young, we might enter into friendships for reasons — such as popularity — that no longer apply when we’re adults. As you get older, you might discover that you’re looking for something more in a friendship, like loyalty or trust, that you aren’t getting out of this one.
How to End It The Right Way
Whether romantic or platonic, many of us have experienced a bad breakup. You can learn a lot from these breakups about how NOT to end a friendship. For one thing, the rules of common decency apply just as much to a bestie breakup as to a romantic one. That means no breaking up over the phone and no ghosting, as much as you may want to.
The cold, hard truth is that while ending a relationship in a way that’s convenient for us — like no longer responding to our BFF’s text messages — makes the process feel easier to us, it leaves the other person stuck in the dark. They may spend the next few years wondering why you ended the friendship and doubting themselves as a bestie.
Nobody deserves that, especially when you’ve been BFFs for a long time. So, do your best girl a favor and break off the relationship in a sensitive way. Meet in person or give them a call, offer them a gentle but honest explanation, and genuinely wish them well as you part.
How to Heal from a Broken Friendship
Like any breakup, BFF breakups can hurt. Even when we know it’s the right thing for us — especially when we know it’s the right thing for us — we may find ourselves missing our friend, dealing with loneliness, or wondering if we’ll ever have such a special connection with someone again in the future.
It’s important to honor the boundaries you set for yourself, and that your bestie sets for you, at the end of a friendship. Just like you shouldn’t drunk-text your ex, you shouldn’t try to resume a broken-off friendship when it’s convenient for you. Make sure to maintain whatever level of space you agreed upon when you ended the friendship.
Most importantly, take time to honor the memories you made with this person as you heal. It’s like that cheesy wooden quote on your mom’s wall says: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” As lame as it sounds, ending a friendship doesn’t negate the years of love and support they provided you.
Even if the relationship was toxic, it’s okay to acknowledge that there were good things in it, too. Taking note of the beautiful parts of your former friendship does not mean you did the wrong thing by breaking it off. You’re allowed to look back fondly at the past while still recognizing that you don’t want this person to be a part of your future.