What Are the Best Ways to End a Negative Friendship?

What Are the Best Ways to End a Negative Friendship?

Published on March 10, 2020 by First Responder Wellness

There is a great deal of discussion surrounding the end of intimate relationships. There is not, however, nearly as much information available to people who wish to end a friendship that is no longer adding value to their life. While breaking up with an intimate partner usually involves the same series of steps and changing of labels, ending a friendship can be much more confusing.

The end of a friendship can be even more complicated than the conclusion of some intimate relationships, and yet equally as painful. Cutting ties with someone who has been a major part of your life can bring about many negative emotions, but it is often a necessary step for personal evolution and positive growth.

While every situation is different and there is no perfect way to walk away from someone you care about, learning to successfully end friendships with as little drama as possible is an important life skill.

Why Do Friendships End?

Friendships end for a variety of reasons, and it is important to understand that it is within your power and right to end a friendship that is no longer serving you at any point in your life. Sometimes friendships end because of some dramatic betrayal, but even more often they end because the individuals involved evolve towards different life paths or begin to prioritize different values.

Often, friendships end because one person is seeking to better themselves in a way that the other individual is not quite ready for. These situations can be especially difficult because the person ending the friendship may still deeply love and care about the individual they are choosing to walk away from.

In other situations, a person may suddenly realize that someone very close to them does not truly have their best interest at heart. People that act out of jealousy, insecurity, and a desire for personal gain within a friendship are often considered to be toxic individuals, and it is important to identify these false friends and disassociate with them to unburden yourself and move forward.

Additionally, some people are simply a constant source of negativity, which can drag you down when you are seeking to achieve a goal or make a dramatic lifestyle change. Letting go of people who bring you down instead of lifting you up is necessary to maintain your own positivity, especially if you have a history of mental health issues. 

Problematic Ways to End a Friendship

Before focusing on the ways in which you should end a friendship, it can be helpful to first point out the common mistakes you should avoid when cutting ties with someone. For example, while it might be tempting to avoid the person entirely by blocking calls, ignoring texts, or deleting them from social media all at once, this isn’t usually the healthiest way to end things.

If you still care about and respect this person to some degree, it is best to refrain from disappearing from their lives overnight. It is also problematic to end the friendship with hostility or aggression, or by angrily listing all the things you don’t like about that person before you walk away.

Additionally, asking your mutual friends to end the friendship for you may be an easy way out, but it doesn’t provide closure for anyone involved.

Healthy Ways to Walk Away

One of the easiest ways to end a friendship is by letting the relationship gradually fizzle out. You can begin by seeing your friend less and less, making fewer commitments to them, and refraining from initiating contact.

While this may take some time, it is often the best option if you wish to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or if you feel the individual’s reaction to an abrupt end to the friendship may be confrontational. Another option is to simply face the music by sitting down to have an honest discussion with the person with whom you would like to cut ties.

Having this talk can be a great way to express your feelings and explain why you think it would be best for you both to go your separate ways. This important conversation can sometimes serve as a wakeup call for the other individual, calling their attention to toxic and self-destructive behaviors they have been engaging in. It is often the best option for those who need to cut ties with drug users and drinking buddies after making the decision to seek treatment for their own substance abuse issues.

Many people with addictions experience relationship issues in all areas of their life, and sometimes cutting ties is a necessary step to recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help and create a happier, more fulfilling life with only positive relationships. The First Responders Treatment Program at Simple Recovery uses trauma-informed strategies to cater to the unique needs of law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental illnesses.

We recognize that first responders encounter job-specific barriers and obstacles that come with the culture of their careers, and that existing stigma may make seeking help for addiction and mental health issues especially difficult. Addiction does not have to mean the end of your career or a lifetime of struggling with your health and relationships. By taking a holistic approach to treatment and addressing the underlying causes of addiction, Simple Recovery makes it possible for first responders to regain control of every aspect of their wellbeing.

First responders dedicate their lives to protecting their community, and at Simple Recovery’s First Responder Treatment Program, we believe in dedicating our time and expertise to helping these strong and compassionate individuals find a path to lasting sobriety and mental wellness.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, call us now at 888-743-0490.