How to Break up with your Toxic Friends

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Thanks for stopping by today.  Today we are going to talk about a subject that is very familiar to anyone, especially women – toxic friendships.  Friendships that have gone sour for some reason or just people who are mean, overly needy, or just plain annoying.  I think we have all been in exactly that place and I’m going to share a technique that I’ve found so helpful in these situations.

Friendships are essential to our well-being and our enjoyment of life, but let’s face it, we don’t always do a great job of picking our friends.  Most friendships happen more or less by accident, and someone who seemed so nice in the beginning can turn out to be a real nightmare.  It’s even worse when it’s a relative or a co-worker or someone that you can’t easily distance yourself from.

First, you need to honestly evaluate the relationship and see what is working and what is not.  No one is perfect and if it is a minor issue, maybe you can overlook it, or drop a gentle hint that might get the person to change their behavior towards you.  Especially if it has been a long-standing friendship, the break-up process can be very painful for both of you, but you’ll know in your heart if a friendship really has to end.

There is always a price to pay for anger and why pay it if you don't need to? Click To Tweet

Sometimes people like to end friendships in a big dramatic way, with lots of emotion and have the “satisfaction” of a huge tear-filled blowout.  Personally, I think that’s a really horrible way to break up with anyone.  Even if you are hurt and angry about things this person has done, the emotional backlash of a huge fuss like this is toxic in itself and no one in this situation walks away unscathed by it.  There is always a price to pay for anger and why pay it if you don’t need to?

I’m still going to love you, I’m just going to have to do it from waaaay over here.

I prefer a kinder, gentler approach.  I call this the “Bless and Release” method.

A softer way to end toxic friendships - bless and release. I'm still going to love you, but I'm going to do it from waaay over here...

I found this in a book somewhere and it has really worked for me over the years.  I don’t have a ton of friends, but I’ve learned that I would rather be alone than deal with the stress and drama of carrying on a toxic friendship.

Basically, I’m saying to the person “You’re a good person and I’m a good person, but together we are just not a great combination.  I’m still going to love you and I wish you well, but I’m going to have to do it from waaaay over here because I just can’t have you in my life”.

Now, I don’t actually say that stuff to the person, because any kind of confrontation usually sends me running for cover, but that’s what I’m thinking, and I start to just gently fade my way out of their lives.  I stop calling or Emailing, I stop making plans with them, I’m gently and pleasantly evasive if they are trying to make plans with me, but because I’m sending them kind and peaceful thoughts, that seems to come across to them, and so far, I’ve avoided any nasty confrontation with my little toxic pals.

Now, if you are in a situation where you can’t completely break up with them, that’s OK.  You can still distance yourself from them emotionally and work on focusing your attention on more positive people.  Don’t talk bad about them, or even think bad thoughts about them.  Just repeat to yourself every day – “bless and release” and eventually, they won’t bother you nearly as much even if they are still generating the same negative behaviors.  Give it a try.


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Comments

  1. This was great, thanks so much for sharing. So wise. I think it’s easier for those like us who don’t “need” a ton of friends.

    • Thanks, I’m so glad this helped you. We end up going into these situations agan and again and when we can make a better choice, I think that’s a much easier way to handle it.

  2. <3 this so much. I have been giving a lot to this since you left me a comment expressing something similar on my own blog recently. I am not good with confrontation but at the day, as you said, it doesn't need to be dramatic or messy. Sometimes two good people just don't mesh.

    Thank you for sharing this, and hope you're enjoying your weekend! XOXO

    • That’s awesome! Yes, your post had me thinking too, and it definitely inspired this post. I hope it makes your friend break-up a little less painful for you. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. Jo Jo Neal says:

    Adrian, thank you so much for this post. I currently have That Toxic Friend and I need to cut the cord. Your suggestion here is beautiful to try a kinder, gentler way to bring separation. This person is tooooo needy and disturbing to me. I shall begin working on this “friendectomy” right away.

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