7 Tips for Breaking Up with a Friend

7 Tips for Breaking Up with a Friend

Last update: 24 October, 2015

Not every friendship lasts forever and, just like with breakups, sometimes the end of a friendship can be a painful experience. Especially when it’s with a close friend who we consider an indispensable part of our lives.

With our acquaintances, what usually happens is more of a gradual distancing over time than a painful breakup. The damage caused by this kind of absence is much smaller, and the relationship tends to leave good memories and a mutual cordiality. You can nurture a friendship, but sometimes no matter how hard you try, you can’t avoid the end of a friendship.

Here we give you some tips to make the end of a friendship less dramatic, so it causes the least amount of damage possible.

Own up to your mistakes

We all make mistakes, and you’re no exception. But what matters here is that you own up to them.

There’s nothing more frustrating than to argue with someone that never owns up to their mistakes. It’s common for friends to let each other off the hook for certain errors that actually hurt them, and this is a time when you shouldn’t deny or minimize those errors.

Is it really worth losing something precious over your pride? At this point, it’s not about staying friends but rather maintaining the good memories.



Admitting you’re wrong is a big step, but it tends to lose its charm if it’s not followed by a sincere apology. It doesn’t have to be anything drastic. Apologize sincerely, and avoid any passive aggressive or indirect hints of hostility.

Don’t make assumptions

Focus on what’s actually happening. Don’t succumb to the urge of assuming things about the other person’s motives. Our assumptions are very often wrong.

Have some compassion

If the friendship is ending because the other person hurt you deeply, this tip can seem almost impossible to do. But keep in mind that surely at some moment you also hurt someone, and that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. 


Don’t project your insecurities

It’s very common for us to project our insecurities onto other people without even noticing it. This is when we believe our friend is thinking something they’re really not. In reality, we are the ones thinking it.

Avoid questions like: “Is that what you think of me? That I’m a failure?” Before you say it, analyze if it’s not really you who feels that way about yourself.

Don’t bring up the past

It’s important to focus on the present. Argue, talk, feel bad or don’t, but only about the current events. Don’t bring up things that are already in the past. It’s best to not mess with your good and bad moments or memories.

Don’t get anyone else involved

You may feel the urge to talk to other friends and get them to back your side of the story, which gives you the impression that the judgment you’ve passed about the other person is correct. However, we could do a lot more harm along the way than we can imagine.

Don’t force others to take sides, because in the end, that will only end up making you look bad. Also avoid spreading any rumors. Remember, things aren’t always what they seem.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.