Friendships evolve over time and sometimes it is necessary to end a relationship that no longer benefits us. Find out here 7 ways to end a toxic friendship and how to choose the method that suits you best.
Friendships change over time
Within a friendship, a mutual, balanced and shared interest prevails. We want to stay close to our friends and share moments with them. However, our personalities and those of others change, as do our priorities and tastes. It is therefore normal to form new relationships that replace, at least temporarily, those we had before. But if we don't take care of these relationships, they will eventually fade away as well.
True friends can be counted on the fingers of one hand
It is generally accepted that true friends are rare and can be counted on one hand. Some of them may be from the distant past, while others may have been met more recently, but the intensity of the bond is just as strong. Ultimately, we all choose our friends, which means that there is a clear intention to create or maintain the bond, but also in the opposite direction, i.e. many do not fit into this category and end up being removed from our emotional life.
How do you end a friendship?
A recent study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, reveals that there are two methods for breaking up a friendship, each with its advantages and disadvantages: the gradual method (leaving the door open for a possible future reconciliation) and the immediate method (burning all bridges with that person).
The 7 strategies for breaking up a friendship
According to this study, there are seven general strategies for ending a friendship. Choose the one that best suits your situation.
1. Gradually decrease the amount of time spent together
The first strategy is to gradually reduce the amount of time spent with your friend. Avoid going out with him/her, including him/her in your future plans, getting together less often, or simply saying that you are not available.
2. Have a sincere and open conversation
Sometimes it's best to have a frank conversation about why the friendship can't continue, whether you're no longer happy with the relationship or your opinions no longer coincide.
3. Becoming more distant in interactions
Another tactic is to gradually become more distant in face-to-face or online interactions. In this case, you can respond to their messages with a formal tone, contact the person only on special occasions, or become more distant in your interactions.
4. Talking badly about the person behind their back
This more confrontational strategy involves talking badly about the person to their other friends. There is a risk that the person will find out from others, but this can sometimes be the goal in ending the friendship.
5. Making up excuses to avoid talking or meeting
Making up excuses to avoid talking or meeting with the person involved is another method, although not an honest one. This includes not answering messages after a certain time or never picking up the phone.
6. The gradual distancing method
Of the two basic methods discussed above, gradual distancing is the more common because it is less direct and more effective if you don't want to experience the discomfort of saying to your face that you want to end the friendship.
Finally, ghosting, just like in the world of relationships, consists in abruptly cutting off all contact, blocking the person's profile on social networks or avoiding crossing paths with them at all costs.
The choice of method depends on the personality
Personality traits influence the likelihood of using different strategies to break up a friendship. “More empathetic people were more likely to use gradual distancing and less ghosting, while more extroverted people preferred to talk face-to-face about the need to end the relationship,” points out Menelaos Apostolou, a psychologist at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus and lead author of the study.
So, which method do you think you have used most often to say goodbye to your lost friends?
- Friendships change over time
- True friends can be counted on the fingers of one hand
- How do you end a friendship?
- The 7 strategies for breaking up a friendship
- 1. Gradually decrease the amount of time spent together
- 2. Have a sincere and open conversation
- 3. Becoming more distant in interactions
- 4. Talking badly about the person behind their back
- 5. Making up excuses to avoid talking or meeting
- 6. The gradual distancing method
- 7. Ghosting
- The choice of method depends on the personality