As we grow up, we might notice that our relationships with our friends change over time. Many friendships can survive (and even thrive) as life moves on.
However, if you or your friend don’t seem as invested in the friendship, it might be a good idea to think about how much you want it to continue. Pretending that everything is fine might do more harm than good.
Here are a few signs that suggest it might be time to break up with a friend:
There’s a lack of communication
Open, healthy communication is crucial to any good friendship. If you want to talk to your friend about problems in the relationship and they don’t want to engage, it could be time to move on.
For example, your friend might make a comment that hurts your feelings but instead of finding out why it upset you, they just say a quick ‘sorry’ and want to carry on as if it didn’t happen.
The two of you are too different
Differences in interests and personality are normal and healthy in friendships. However, incompatible differences in terms of expectations of each other, ways of communicating and core values can undermine the connection between any two people.
For example, one person might expect their friend to hang out with them all the time and their friend can’t or doesn’t want to do that. Both people will feel like their needs aren’t met and might be less willing to keep the relationship going.
The friendship is abusive or toxic
Whenever a friendship feels one-sided or even toxic, it’s time to end it.
A friendship can be toxic when:
If the idea of telling your friend how you feel about their behaviour frightens you or makes you anxious, it’s likely that the friendship is in trouble.
See if there is something else going in their lives that’s making them act this way. However, if you don’t find anything, it might be best to save your energy for making friends with people who respect and support you.
If you’re afraid of verbal or physical abuse from your friend, keep away from them and tell a parent, carer or another trusted adult.
How to end a friendship on good terms
If you feel safe with the friend, you can try to end the friendship on good terms. Here are a few tips:
- Talk to your friend in person – what you want to say might lose its meaning over text or email and your friend may want to ask you questions.
- Don’t meet with the friend if they are toxic or abusive – instead, send them a polite but clear message in writing.
- Use “I” statements to explain your decision and your feelings – this will help you both have an honest conversation without blaming each other.
- Get support from someone you trust – you can always talk to Childline – call 1800 66 66 66, send a text to 50101 or chat online at Childline.ie, 24 hours a day, every day.