When Is Ending Friendships the Right Thing To Do?

According to “The Psychology of Friendship,” one of the main reasons people become friends has to do with their physical proximity to one another. The same factor also plays a major role in ending friendships.

It makes sense that we grow close to people we see a lot and who we feel are a lot like us. These similarities fill a practical need as well as validate our own preferences, values, and tastes. If you like going to Renaissance festivals, you now have someone to attend with. If you both enjoy working out, you have a new gym buddy.  

The needs fulfilled by our friendships change throughout our lives, as do the friendships themselves. For instance, after becoming a parent, we tend to make friends who are also new parents because we bond over the various challenges it brings. 

Sadly, for the same reasons that friendships begin, they also end. When a friend moves far away, the friendship might move with it, for example. As you take on new challenges in life and go to the gym less, the closeness that you shared with your workout partner might dissolve.  

Sometimes, our circumstances change and friendships simply fade. Under other circumstances, however, a friendship may become less deserving of the effort you are putting into it.  

We’ve all been in a friendship that felt a little one-sided. You are always the one making plans, checking in, and keeping in touch. This is usually an indication that something is off and the relationship may not be as healthy as you may think.  

There are a few signs to be aware of that could suggest that less is more in terms of what you are investing in the friendship.

You Can’t Trust Them

Gossiping about you, stealing from you, and refusing to support you are all pretty serious transgressions. They go against the fundamental definition of what friendship means. In other words, once they begin engaging in these kinds of behaviors, the friendship has already broken down. It’s time to move on. 

You Feel Worse After Being Around Them

Everyone, at some point, gets caught in their feelings over personal problems, such as a bad breakup, or something that happened at work. This is perfectly understandable. However, when your interactions with someone are consistently draining and leaving you feeling emotionally exhausted or downright depressed, it’s time to take note. 

They Keep Canceling Plans or Putting You Off 

Everyone is guilty of doing this once in a while. Sometimes there is a good reason behind it, and sometimes a friend might just need their space. If, however, this develops into a regular pattern of behavior, you need to take some time and determine if this is their way of moving on from you or if something else is happening altogether. 

Conversely, if you find yourself ignoring someone’s calls and letting their texts go unanswered, you need to pay attention to your own red flag and figure out if this is your way of letting them go.

Show Some Empathy When Ending Friendships

It is important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t give up on anyone too quickly. Sometimes, a person’s response to going through a tough time is to withdraw from everyone. If a friend means a lot to you and you are dedicated to the relationship you have built, try reaching out to them on different occasions, or get to the bottom of why they seem to be removing themselves from your life. Don’t just throw in the towel on someone who matters to you without making every effort you feel is necessary to fix the problem.  

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