Friends are important members of our lives. They can make us laugh, offer support during tough times, and just be there for us. But sometimes friendships can turn toxic. This can be very damaging to our mental health and overall well-being. So how do you know when it’s time to drop a friend forever, when it’s time to try to work it out, or when you should just do nothing?
Remember, if you affirmatively “break up” with a friend, there may be no turning back. And if you confront a friend, and try to “work it out,” you may damage that friendship forever. So choose your next steps carefully.
When should you drop a friend forever?
If your friendship is built on a foundation of lies, manipulation, and drama, it may be time to let that person go. This is especially true if the toxicity is impacting your mental health or making you feel bad about yourself. You deserve better than that!
When should you try to work it out?
If you have a fight with a friend, or things just start to fizzle out between the two of you, it may be worth trying to work things out. After all, friendships can take effort sometimes. But if you find yourself constantly putting in all the effort, or if your friend is always crossing boundaries, it may not be worth it. And your friend may be offended when you try to work it out — after all, your friend may not know that there is anything wrong! — that your friendship is destroyed forever.
When should you just do nothing?
Sometimes, the best course of action is to just do nothing. If a friendship starts to fade away naturally, there’s no need to force it. And if you’re not sure what to do, or if you’re worried about damaging the friendship, it may be best to just wait and see what happens. After all, time can tell us a lot about our friendships.
How to put your decision into action
So we’ve talked about the three main courses of action. How should you approach each?
If you want to break off a friendship, there are a few choices. You can ghost them — stop all communication and cut them out of your life. You can confront them and tell them why you’re ending the friendship. Or you can simply drift apart, and let the friendship fizzle out on its own.
Is confrontation ever the best course of action. It may well be. For example, if your friend has done something that hurt you, and you want to confront them about it, that may be the best way to go. But what should you say? “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be friends anymore” is a pretty final statement. You may want to try something like, “I’m really hurt by what you did, and I need some time to process it.” This gives your friend a chance to apologize, and work things out. But if they don’t take responsibility for their actions, then you know it’s time to move on. But remember: this is a really final step. There is probably no turning back. So don’t take this action lightly!
If you want to try to work things out with a friend, the best approach is usually direct communication. This means sitting down with your friend (in person, if possible), and talking through what’s going on. You can express how you’re feeling, and why you think the friendship is suffering. And then you can listen to your friend’s side of the story. After all, they may not even realize that there is anything wrong. And they may be hurt! If so, you might say something like , “I had no intention of hurting you, and I’m really sorry.” You can also try to rebuild trust by being more vulnerable with each other, or by doing something nice for each other. This can help to diffuse the situation, and start to repair the friendship.
But what if you’re not sure what to do? What if you’re worried about damaging the friendship? In this case, it may be best to just do nothing. And if you decide to just do nothing, that’s okay too! Sometimes it’s best to just see what happens, and not force anything. Time can tell us a lot about our friendships. Sometimes friendships just naturally run their course. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. So if you’re not sure what to do about a friendship that’s going through a tough time, just give it some space, and see what happens. If things are meant to work out, they probably will. And if they’re not, well… maybe it’s time to move on. After all, we only have so much time in this life. We should spend it with people who make us happy!
One thing that may be difficult to remember is this: an ex-friend need not be an enemy. You shared important times together. Those feelings were real. Just because the friendship has ended, doesn’t mean that those memories are invalidated. And it’s okay to still care about your ex-friend, even if you don’t want to be friends anymore. They may have been an important part of your life, and they will always hold a place in your heart. So try to remember the good times, and let go of the bad.
Ending a friendship is never easy. But sometimes it’s necessary.
Content by Audere Magazine; Image by Pexels