How To End a Friendship Tactfully

Friendships can end either of two ways: naturally or through deliberate action. Friendships that end naturally are often the result of lack of frequent contact, or perhaps too much physical distance. At times, you will need to cut your ties with your friend for one reason or another. It is in this case that you will need to end the friendship through deliberate action. How do you do it without being preachy, mean, discourteous, or dishonest?  In this article, you will learn some useful tips for ending a friendship tactfully.

  1. Examine your conscience. One very important reason for ending a friendship is that you can no longer deal with your friend anymore. Your inability to continue the friendship may be coming from a toxic, one-way relationship between you, or perhaps from a hurtful relationship that will further damage you or your friend if you continue with the friendship. Before you even begin thinking about how to end the friendship, ask yourself first whether it is the best route, and then ask why you want to end it.
  2. Build a strong case against the friendship. To be fair, don’t just examine the cons. Also factor in the pros. Base your assessment of the pros and cons on facts and verifiable incidents. Avoid speculations or rumor-mongering. Also avoid any implied accusations against your friend, unless you really have strong factual evidence to support your accusation.
  3. Talk to your friend in person. Talk in a neutral place. Do not invite your friend over to your house, even if that would give you home court advantage. Do not go to your friend’s house—that would give her or him home court advantage. Instead, invite your friend for a heart-to-heart conversation in a neutral, semi-public place. Do not talk in a place where people will not be able to run to your aid in case either of you becomes physically violent. Do not talk in a crowded place either—as any untoward reaction from either of you could create public embarrassment.
  4. Use the guillotine method. This is a figurative way of saying that you should be direct to the point in ending the friendship. Do not beat around the bush, as it will tend to hurt your friend more and can backfire on you. State your case honestly but in a firm, neutral voice. Just as you are honest about your desire to end the friendship, honestly tell your friend about how you feel. You do not need to lie; the truth will surface anyway. Avoid nastiness or meanness. Be very cautious about the words that you use because intense conversations such as this are often tempting moments for sarcasm and insults.
  5. Keep your cool. If you remain calm, you will continue to be objective and level-headed. Expect normal reactions such as anger and feelings of hurt. It is also normal for your friend to react in a hostile or insulting way towards you. But, if you stay cool, you will be able to restrain yourself from getting back at your friend.

The end of a friendship is a very sad moment. Yet, you need to know how to let go of some friendships that are not helpful to you, especially those friendships that are hurtful and destructive. This article has given you tips on how to do that.


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