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When and How to End an Unhealthy Friendship

Can I breakup with a friend?

The great thing about friends is that we can choose who we let into our lives. Friendships can be an amazing and powerful tool, offering endless support and encouragement in the most essential of times. However, when a friendship becomes more stressful than it is fun, it may be time to let go. Further, unhealthy friendships can affect our overall happiness and wellness.

When to Say Goodbye

There are a few signs to look out for to determine if you’re in an unhealthy friendship:

1. Selfishness

A friendship should be a mutual connection between two people. Mutual respect, support, openness, and care. Both individuals should make an equal effort to be there for one another and contribute to the relationship.

2. Lack of Support

A friendship should provide support in both the good times and the bad. A true friend wants to be by your side throughout all your life experiences, and always shows empathy for how you feel.

3. Poor Communication

Any type of relationship relies on open communication to thrive and mend itself at times of conflict. If issues are “brushed under the rug” tension will build and problems will be left unresolved. It is important for conflict to be handled in a healthy way, or the relationship will become toxic.

4. Unhealthy Behaviors

If you pick up on unhealthy patterns or destructive personality characteristics in your friend, it may be difficult to maintain a nourishing relationship. Manipulation, defensiveness, inability to apologize, and lack of self-awareness, can make it difficult to maintain a positive and healthy friendship.

How do I end a friendship?

The best way to end a friendship is to be open and honest with how YOU feel.

Here are the exact steps you can take to let go of a damaging friendship in the most mature way:

1. Choose a time that is good for both you and your friend to talk.

2. Acknowledge the good parts of the friendship and that you are thankful for these times.

3. Share how YOU feel and why you are unhappy in the friendship. Come from a place of expressing oneself, rather than pointing any fingers and/or blaming.

4. Let them know that you would like to remain on good terms and still care about them, but feel it’s best to take a step back and not remain as close friends.

Many people ask, “Can I breakup with a friend?” And the answer is- YES.

We should always surround ourselves with positive people who lift us up. When a friendship causes more distress than it does happiness, it is ok to want to let it go. We have to remember to take care of ourselves because everyone is deserving of love, happiness, and support.



Tel Aviv, Israel

Loves: Family, Friends, Weekends, and Chocolate

Cara Paley, M.S. is a Relationship Coach and Motivational Speaker. Get in touch with her on Facebook or through her website here.

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