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We’ve all read dozens of articles (okay, hundreds) on how to break up with a spouse, partner, girlfriend or boyfriend. The do's and the don’t's, what’s best and what’s not. And even though we may not like the fact that it’s over – or even the whys – it’s romance. And all’s fair in love and war. Romance is a crazy thing; sometimes there are no explanations.
But friendship is another story altogether. When we want to break up with a friend, it can actually be far more difficult. Friendships end for many reasons. We simply drift, some connections come to a natural end, a fight can change the entire dynamic or dramatic life changes (death, health, children, marriage, relocation, a death) can force a friendship to finish. Or the friendship has become toxic, unsupportive and simply not fun anymore.
There are tips that can help:
Don’t end a friendship in the heat of the moment, as much as you may want to. You’ll come off as immature and incapable of hashing things out in a dignified manner. Take a cooling off period and evaluate your situation. Weigh the pros and cons of not seeing this person anymore.
Decide on the extent of the breakup. Do you ever want to see this person again? Are you okay with the occasional polite email? Would meeting a few times a year be okay or is this breakup going to be complete and permanent?
Keep mutual friends in mind. Do not discuss the story with mutual friends – it’ll start gossip no matter how much these friends say they can keep neutral. They can’t . For a shoulder to lean on and for advice, lean on your spouse or partner and choose friends to chat about it with that are not in common with your break up person.
Stop the contact. Don’t call or email and don’t offer nights out or activities to do together. Hopefully they’ll get the hint.
If your friend confronts you on why you are no longer in contact, take a deep breath and have the talk. The “talk” not the email. Our body language is how we truly communicate so a phone call or meet up is far better. Most of us would prefer the phone call! Ignoring things if asked for a reason, will leave a bad taste in your mouth and things will remain unresolved.