Is there ever an easy way to end a toxic friendship?

It’s a sad fact of life that not every friendship is built to last forever. People grow apart or lose touch, and move on. However sometimes it’s not that simple, especially when you have consciously decided it’s time to break ties with a friend.

A year or two ago I realised a certain friendship was causing me more stress and hurt than happiness. The friend in question was a lover of drama, and I knew she had lied to me on numerous occasions just to stir things up a bit and cause unnecessary upset with others.

I grew to dread meeting her and rarely spoke about my life to her at all, as it was far easier just to keep quiet. I found myself making excuses to cancel plans for dinner or drinks. In time it became clear to me that the best solution for both of us was to end things. As someone who hates confrontation, I instead slowly pulled away from the friendship. We still talk occasionally, but we most definitely are not close any longer.

Although ending things quietly worked for me, I sometimes wonder if it would have been better to discuss the situation with her and let her know how I felt. Every so often a story pops up online about a high-profile bust up between two celebrities, most recently Demi Lovato’s widely-publicised choice to unfollow her former bestie Selena Gomez on Twitter. Sure, a public rift is not the classiest way to do things but at least both parties are aware of how the other feels… and Demi made certain of that by posting this delightful picture on the same day (deleted shortly after).

If you’re thinking of ending a friendship that’s causing you pain, below are some things to keep in mind…

Making the decision

Experts at the Psychological Stress Research Programme in Florida say that many people feel trapped when they are in a toxic friendship and worry that their friend will have nobody else to turn to. In a situation like that it’s important to realise that it’s far more respectful to your pal and to yourself to end things and move on.

Can things be fixed?

Of course, closing off a friendship for good should be the last resort. Asking yourself why exactly you are not happy and if there is any way things can be fixed can make things a little clearer. If your BFF never seems to ask about your life, or has done something hurtful – would he or she change things or apologise if you spoke honestly about the situation? If the answer is yes, it might be worth simply opening up about how you are feeling.

Is it worth the confrontation?

Another important thing to consider is whether it is worth the confrontation at all, or if you are just looking for the satisfaction of calling your pal out on their actions. Do you have a reason to speak up, or do you just want to show how hurt you are? If it’s the latter, a forceful argument might not be the best place to start.

Friendships can be complicated and delicate things, so tread carefully, but always remember that the foundation of any strong relationship is based on respect and trust. Without those two elements, you can expect things to go downhill very fast.