How to End a Friendship

Whether your buddy is behaving badly or you've simply grown apart, sometimes friendships must come to an end. But how can you conclude your relationship without starting a fight? The key, experts say, is to behave maturely, be as honest as possible, and follow a few strategies for a smooth transition.

According to Renee Del Rio, a licensed clinical psychologist and life and business coach for Life Results, and John Mason, a licensed clinical psychologist for Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board, these 10 tips can help you end a dead-end friendship without the dreaded drama.

  • Come to terms with your decision. Don't avoid the situation. If you've been friends for a long time, this is a conversation that needs to happen. 

  •  Choose the right place and time. It's best to sit down face to face, either on your friend's home turf (it's only fair) or in a neutral location. In addition, set aside enough time so that you'll each be able to voice your thoughts and concerns.

  •  Be honest. Make your reasons for ending the friendship known. Perhaps you feel neglected or abused. Either way, don't try to hide your feelings; bring them to the forefront. 

  •  Be clear and concise. Don't beat around the bush. If you know the relationship is over for good, don't imply the possibility of renewing it.

  •  Be positive. In addition to focusing on your reasons for ending the friendship, share a beloved memory. Discuss the good things you'll be taking away from the friendship.

  • Be humble. Resist the temptation to focus on your friend's faults. Be the bigger person by recognizing your own flaws and weaknesses.

  • Move on. Once you've ended the friendship, understand that you can't go back. Don't email or call, and don't expect anything from your former friend-this will only prolong the transition. 

  •  Take the high road. After the friendship has ended, focus on making new friends, and never allow yourself to speak disrespectfully about your former friend. 

  •  Talk about your feelings. Feelings of loss, sadness, grief, and even anger are to be expected. Let yourself have these feelings, but don't focus on them. If you need to speak with someone, don't choose a person who knew your former friend. Instead, speak with a neutral party, such as a counselor. 

  •  Overwhelmed? Get help. Every person, and every friendship, is different. If you feel overwhelmed by the situation and are worried about confronting your friend on your own, it may be best to seek professional help.