The one real friend breakup I experienced was a lot more painful than any romantic dissolution I’ve been through.
It was high school, and the thrust of my ex-friend’s breakup speech was this: My other, cooler friends don’t like you. So I’ve decided that I don’t either.
To be fair, we were young, and there’s really no good way to tell someone you don’t want to spend time with them anymore, for whatever reason.
There are, however, a few decent ways that don’t make you look like a total flake.
According to Andrea Syrtash, author of “He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s A Good Thing): How to Find Love Where You Least Expect It,” you can always go with the “slow fade” — you never return their calls; you’re always too busy to hang out. But if you feel uncomfortable ghosting a close friend or if you want to communicate your thoughts, you have some other options.
One is to write a letter, in which you say something like: “I feel like I can’t be a good friend to you like I used to be.”
Syrtash said it’s fine in this instance to put the blame on yourself: “Right now my life is in such a different place and I just don’t feel like I can give the way I used to give to this friendship.” (Consider this the platonic version of “It’s not you, it’s me.”)
If you’ve been arguing, or if you think the friendship is toxic to your health and happiness, you can say: “I don’t think we’re bringing out each other’s best. We’re always fighting. You feel like I’m judging you; I feel like you’re judging me. I wish you the best, but I don’t think this is a healthy friendship for either of us.”
No matter how you choose to end the friendship, Syrtash said the one thing to keep in mind is: “You’re not doing your friend a favour by staying in the relationship out of guilt or pressure. You’re not doing anyone a favour if you don’t want to be there. A friendship needs to be reciprocal.”