How To Break Up With a Best Friend (Or Any Friend)

Updated on March 6, 2017
When To Break Up With a Best Friend
When To Break Up With a Best Friend

Why Would You Want To Breakup With a Best Friend?

You should be loyal to your friend throughout thick and thin, right? WRONG. A good friend, who supports you, comforts you, and shares joy with you may be worth sticking with during the bad times. But a friend who brings you down, makes you feel bad, or adds negativity to your life constantly is not someone that you have to be loyal to for life.

There is no law book that says you are not allowed to remove people from your life if they make you unhappy. There are many reasons why you may want to break up with a best friend.

  • They constantly criticize you.
  • They are too negative.
  • They hold different beliefs than you (and it's causing problems).
  • They exhaust you with their drama.
  • They like to talk about themselves but never listen to you.
  • They are selfish.
  • They are manipulative.
  • They are mean.
  • They seem to be using you all the time (a real friend wouldn't do that).
  • There is no trust in the friendship.
  • They have gone bonkers.
  • You just want to move on.

There are many reasons that you may want to end a friendship, and none of them are wrong. Just because other people don't agree, they are YOUR feelings and that's makes them okay.

And Sometimes Friends Just Don't Agree Anymore

Why You Deserve To Break Up With A Negative Friend

How To Break Up With Your Friend - 5 Steps

So, you can't just say 'get outta here' like a little kid and have your best friend run away. Well, you can, but it probably won't work out to well for you. So following is a 5-step process that I have used to slowly distance myself from past negative influences and move on with my life.

It may be time to break up!
It may be time to break up! | Source

No Games

Note: These steps are not about playing games. Chances are at this point you have tried to talk to your friend and make the relationship better, but you are at your wits end and just want out. If your friend has no idea that you are upset, then you may want to talk with him or her first. However, if you feel that it won't do much to do that (I've been there), then by all means, use these 5 steps on how to break up with a best friend to ensure that you can get on with your life without a big fuss or negative confrontation.

Step 1 - Start To Put Some Distance Between Yourselves

Right now, your relationship consists of habits. Those habits are the bonds that hold you together, even if the rest of your relationship is heading south. You need to break those habits so that it will be easier for you and your friend to move on. So, if you spend 7 days a week together, then start spending only a few days together. If you normally meet for lunch on Wednesdays, then cancel it. Chances are your friend will be upset, but they won't confront you about the behavior.

Step 2 - Tell Them You Need a Break

Yes, this sounds an awful lot like a romantic relationship, and it kind of is. Your best friends have a connection that many people do not get to share with you. Tell him or her that you are not sure how you feel about the friendship anymore and that you need some time to think. If they want to talk, then share your feelings. But if they try to make you feel wrong about how you feel (aggressive friends usually will), then leave the conversation and take your intended break from the friendship.

Step 3 - Let Them Know You've Decided To Move On From The Friendship

Eventually they will call you. This is the time to tell them that you have decided that the friendship no longer serves a positive purpose in your life, and you have decided to move on from it. I know this sounds harsh, but this is how you feel right? You want to break up with your best friend and get on with your life. You have to be honest, so that they understand exactly how you feel.

Step 4 - Don't Call, Email, Text or Make Contact With Them

Just like a breakup with a romantic partner, you don't want to give them any false hope that you still want to be friends. They are likely going to be hurt by the end of the friendship, and if you give them signs of hope, then you may end up causing them even more pain.

Step 5 - Get on With Your Life

Start building new routines, and if you want to start looking for more positive friends to create relationships with. The amount of freedom and happiness you will feel when you cut a negative friend out of your life is huge. It feels as though a weight has been lifted off your shoulders, and you are able to just become the person you want to be.

How To Deal With A Friend That Won't Let Go

If you cut off contact with a friend before they are ready, then you may end up making them really upset (or possibly insane). But you can't let how they deal with the situation affect your decisions in life.

How they choose to react is their choice. There is not much you can do about their reactions. But you can keep yours in control.

1. Don't Get into a Fight With Them - Or Anything With Them

They may be itching to tell you off and get under your skin. They could also be dying to talk to you so that they can try to win you back. But resist the temptation to communicate with them. It's like I said before, if you do, then you may be giving them false hope for a potential friendship.

And remember, desperate people are very convincing. They are willing to say what you want to hear so that they can get their way. If your friend convinces you to feel sorry for them or give them another shot, then all of your effort will be in vain and you will have to start over.

If you resist the urge to give and and talk to them they will eventually calm down and leave you alone. Their emotions just need to relax a little, and that only happens with time.

2. If They Are Threatening You Then Don't Take It Lightly

Most of the time they will be empty threats. They are hurting, and they are trying to make you feel as though they don't care about you. However, if they show up at your door, then you shouldn't just greet them like you normally would. Stay behind closed doors and call the police if you have to. You need to let them know that you are not willing to take abuse from them because of a choice you made for your happiness.

Have You Ever Gotten Back a Friendship That Went Downhill?

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I Want To Be Friends Again!

I miss her!
I miss her! | Source

This does happen. You may break up with your best friend only to realize that you want to be friends again. However, ask yourself some questions before you start calling them and reconciling.

1. Have the issues which caused me to end the friendship been fixed? If not, then your friendship will likely fall right back into the same place it was before. If the friendship is going to be different, there the issues have to be solved first.

2. Do I really want them back? The feeling of wanting them back often happens when you have hard times in life. You start to crave that trusted friendship that you had. Sometimes you may just miss the old them - the one that was truly a good friend to you. Remember that they changed over time, and the person they are now is not the same person they were before. You are longing for the old them, not the current them.


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    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 9 months ago from Alberta, Canada

      Glad to hear that. It's hard when you're in the situation and feel like you shouldn't break it off, but hindsight gives you a clear picture of how necessary it was!

    • profile image

      Kayla Schultz 10 months ago

      Thank you for this. It has helped me to finally be able to break it off with an old friend of mine that I can no longer be around without crying. Keep doing what your doing.

    • profile image

      Aqua 10 months ago

      Thank You so much you helped my life!

    • profile image

      suzie 2 years ago

      there is no such thing as a best friend. All friends will betray you at some point. Always be on your guard!

    • ktnptl profile image

      ktnptl 2 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Interesting, we all have such friends. It is important to understand their motive behind this rather than just comparing with their comparing nature. Some friends are very good but they just can't help themselves to compare. But you are right, most friends who compare are not your best friends and you should get rid of them or at least keep yourself at a safe distance.

    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 2 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      @Roz - Glad to hear I could help you make that step. It really does feel great when you let go of negative people and circumstances.

    • profile image

      Roz ♥ 2 years ago

      Thanks... I really needed this. I have a friend right now who is bullying me into doing what she wants. We were best friends but it couldn't go on any longer..

    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 2 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      @msdrama - I feel you! You can't stay in a negative situation for someone else's benefit.

    • msdramaqueen31 profile image

      msdramaqueen31 2 years ago

      I had to end my twenty two years of friendship with my ex-best friend yesterday, and honestly, it was a difficult decision to make. Not only did my ex-best friend called me every name in the book, he continued to take sides, and didn't bother trying to fox the situation between myself, and his stupid "girlfriend." To make matters worse, he refused to hold himself accountable for his actions, and played the role of a victim-which to me was childish.

      He asked me if we could continue to work on our friendship-despite his nasty attitude, and I declined the invitation. I didn't see the point on me trying to fix things between the two of us, and I shouldn't be held responsible for his actions. It wasn't my fault that his "girlfriend" considered me as a threat-due to her insecurities. I wasn't sleeping with him, and I didn't give her a reason to worry about what her man was up to!

      I asked my ex-best friend to leave me alone, and to stay out of my life for good! This man has mistreated me so horribly that I was asking myself if I did anything wrong to him. His behavior was atrocious, appalling and DISGUSTING! I'm not expecting an apology from him, and it wouldn't surprise me to hear that his girlfriend ended their relationship, so he shouldn't crawl back to me. I know that I did the right thing by standing up for myself-and I wasn't going to allow this man to talk to me crazy! He has NO IDEA how much pain that he has put me through.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      You nailed it. This, to many friends, is a problem who no one wants to talk about--and I have been this road too many times.

      Thanks for having the courage to address this problem, (an overbearing, manipulative) best friend who does not allow you to grow much less life.

      I voted all the way across.

      Great stuff.

      Check out my hubs when you get a chance and I would love to have you as a follower so we could exchange ideas and things.

      I promise to NOT email you every hour of the day.


    • profile image

      vonda g nelson 5 years ago

      I am responding to the 1st sentence in the section "I want to be friends again".....Do I really want them back. To be honest now that I have gotten some rest there is so much more that I just read that I would like to comment on, but I will do it later CiaO

    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      I'm not sure I understand what you are trying to say Vonda.

    • profile image

      vonda g nelson 5 years ago

      That's sad..... who would want to have someone back that they defriended only because they are having hard times...christ....that's a low blow. So I'm gathering once times start to look up, they will make chopped, 86, you won't know who they are anymore..........Ooh O.k. I see how that works

    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Oh wow Mandy. She was your next door neighbor? That would add a HUGE level of awkwardness (and stress) to the whole thing. Good for you though, taking a stand. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mandy M S profile image

      Mandy M S 5 years ago

      Oh I had to do this! The woman was taking over my life, she almost caused my husband and I to get divorced. I wrote her an email explaining why I didn't want to be her friend anymore then I never spoke to her again. I ignored her calls and emails and I avoided seeing her face to face. She was my next door neighbor and would pound on my door for an hour, but we pretended not to hear. We found a new house and moved a couple months later. It was awful, but I felt like a weight had been lifted. Awesome hub! Great advice!

    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Well said Billy. Our first priority has to be ourselves - who else will make us their top priority? It really is freeing to be away from negative people.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have had to do this twice in the last four years and it is painful. However, it is necessary because my first responsibility is to myself. I will not be around negative people or people who want to drain me of everything they can take from me. I love me first...then I extend that love to those who can reciprocate. Great hub and message!

    • Relationshipc profile image

      Kari 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Thanks Reynold. It's a subject close to my heart lol.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      I've never read anything like this!!! It is a subject I would never have imagined in a million years, however I can see it needs to be written as this can be a real issue for some. ou have really thought this out. I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. I gotta give this an Up ONE AND BEAUTIFUL. I'm now your fan!