How Do I End a Friendship.

Hey Vulnerabites!

I have a sincere interest in human connection. I read about it, I talk about it and I write about it.

I want to explore my interest for human connection with this pilot project called “Mondays with Mac” for the month of August. You ask questions, I will choose one question to answer — only on Mondays. So send in your questions to thenakedwriterblog@gmail.com, Direct Message me on Instagram @yoursvulnerably, if you have my number, send me a text.

Mac – I’m curious about your thoughts on whether to have this conversation if you’ve already decided it’s a friendship you want to walk away from regardless of the outcome of the conversation. I can definitely see why it needs to happen if you want to preserve the friendship. But is it necessary to expend the energy if you don’t?

Short Answer: Yes.

A friendship is a relationship. If you are going to leave it, the other person needs to know… and they deserve to know why.

Your why could help them. If you see something you don’t like in your friend, it is part of your responsibility as a friend to tell them (in love). How can they get better if no one ever helps them identify the places they need growth? Wouldn’t you want someone to tell you?

I know many people believe in the “natural death” of a friendship. If life carries you in different directions and you gradually grow apart, that is different. But if you’ve deliberately made up in your mind that you will no longer engage with this person as a friend and you use the excuse of a “natural death”, I think it’s cowardly. This was your FRIEND.

Now, if she slept with your man — to hell with a friendly goodbye.

When I’ve been offended by friends, I am always of the stance that perhaps I’ve misunderstood them. I do not believe that my friends are deliberately trying to hurt me. Hence if they’ve triggered me in a way that’s hurtful, it probably has more to do with me, then with them.

My numbing response is to create space — I’ve been hurt, so I’m withdrawing to ‘protect’ myself from being hurt again.

When I become aware that I’m numbing (or about to numb), my alternate response is to give them an opportunity to bring clarity to their actions and let them know how I’ve been hurt. I make it about me. I don’t blame them for how their actions have affected me. I ask them what was their intention and we take it from there.

Let’s Connect on Instagram @YoursVulnerably

It’s unfortunate that friendships do not often get the same effort as a romantic relationship. If am dating or married and decide to leave my significant other, I’d tell him I was leaving and I’d probably tell him why…. and even before I made the final decision to leave, I’d probably work at it and give him a second chance before deciding to be done with it for good.

Research has shown that people who believe that friendships come “naturally” are reported to be lonely in 5 years. People who believe they need to be intentional in creating and maintaining friendships are reported to be less lonely in 5 years.

I watched a Ted Talk , “What Makes A Good Life? The Longest Study on Happiness” and Spoiler Alert: The answer – Social Connections. Quality of Close Relationships. Good Relationships.

Vulnerabites, what do you think?

And this leads me into another question, “How do you know when it’s time to leave a friendship?”

Let’s Connect on Instagram @YoursVulnerably

Yours Vulnerably,

25 Comments Add yours

  1. Ash says:

    Hmm you’ve really made me think! When I’ve felt hurt by a friend, I usually withdraw and mentally distance myself. I know that’s not always the best thing to do because some people need to know what they’ve done wrong. I think people do deserve that especially if they’re good people at heart. I would say you know when to leave a friendship when they make you feel drained & when it’s more disruptive than positive/ energizing. Great post 🌷

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Ash! Welcome to the Vulnerabite family! So glad to have you 🙂 Thanks so much for bringing your voice to the conversation.

      I’m a lot like you in withdrawing and creating distance with the friend who has hurt me. It’s good that you recognize that there is indeed a better way to handle the hurt. It’ll take time to adjust our default behaviors, but the awareness you have of it is admirable.

      Thanks again for chatting with us! Loved hearing from you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. J says:

    Any time we are dealing with another human being, it is going to get complicated. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to hear truth or can handle it, especially if that truth isn’t his or her own reality or version of said truth.
    I know it is time to walk away when every interaction leaves me feeling drained and negative. I simply don’t have that kind of energy to spare.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. And quite honestly, it hurts to hear that the friendship you have with someone is ending. Some people may not be able to handle it.

      Like

    2. “Any time we are dealing with another human being, it is going to get complicated. ” — Epi dat’s it!!! That’s really it J!

      Because we are complex beings…. our interactions will indeed be complicated.

      Thanks for weighing in on when you know it’s time to leave a friendship! Being drained and negative are definitely two good indicators 🙂

      Like

  3. Beutiflee says:

    I’m always honest. And I do believe in having the conversation. I give them a chance to explain, but I’m not going to keep asking for us to have the talk. I don’t go pass 2nd chances. However, I will speak my peace in a loving way and let them figure out the rest, especially when they’ve been avoiding the conversation.
    In a romantic relationship, I learned from all my past experiences to be honest with myself and them. I don’t want to invest in a relationship if I know I don’t feel a connection with them. Sometimes I offer friendship, but it doesn’t seem to work when they have feelings for me.
    Throughout these experiences I just want to be honest because a true friendship has to endure odds and even moments. We are not perfect and we cannot satisfy everyone’s expectations. But being there for each other on those odd moments takes the friendship to a new level. It’s not only respect, but love like a family. It takes balance and you have to be ok with rejection of both friendship and romantic relationships. If it’s meant to be, then both parties will find a way to stay together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Tiff! Girl, I love when you join the conversation …lol

      ” I’m not going to keep asking for us to have the talk.” — Let the church say Amen!!! I’m usually ready to resign after the 2nd conversation. I’d find it difficult to talk about the SAME issue 3xs.

      Yes Tiff! We absolutely can not satisfy everyone’s expectations…. and I agree, being there for one another is a priority over being perfect!

      And yes —- if the two people want it, they will find a way to make it work! I agree.

      Thank you for your perspective on this Tiff!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. In my early twenties, I felt that it was time to breakup with my childhood best friend. We had been friends for more than a decade at that point and throughout the years, she had done so much to hurt me (unintentionally, of course). Whenever I’d confront her about her actions, I didn’t feel she did anything to correct it. Finally, I got fed up and sent her a handwritten note.

    I regret sending her that letter.

    Instead of her doing some self-reflection and figuring out what went wrong in our friendship, she basically mocked me. She told me that I was trippin’ and even told our mutual friends. She hurt me more with her response than the little things she had been doing throughout the years.

    Maybe this is an extreme example, but it is my reality. I wouldn’t confront someone if I wanted to end a friendship ever again. I may tell them what’s bothering me and if I don’t see a change, I am going to quietly walk away. Less risky that way.

    How do I know a friendship needs to end? I do some analysis on how I feel whenever I speak to the friend. Do I feel better or worse? If I consistently feel worse after talking with the person, then the friendship needs to end. I can feel bad all by myself. I don’t need her help.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey Yaa Yaa! Ouch! That experience could not have been easy for you. So sorry to hear about the loss of your friendship.

      My concern is this statement: “Instead of her doing some self-reflection and figuring out what went wrong in our friendship” —- We can’t decide for others what they will do with the information we offer. I didn’t hear you say much about your part in the failed friendship — Do you know if what was triggering you, had more to do with you than her? — I’m sure there are far more details to the ending of the friendship than you can offer in a short comment on a blog post. I guess I’m always more concerned about us also owning a part in how our relationships turn out.

      Could she have been the reason the friendship ended? Absolutely. But did you also play a part? Only you know Yaa Yaa.

      As for her taking your response to mutual friends, I don’t agree with those actions. It was a conversation between the two of you and should anyone else be invited into it, it should be someone who could objectively offer you both counsel.

      Needless to say, we don’t know if the actual end of your friendship with her was the wake-up call she needed to begin taking self-inventory of her actions — or she could be the same way you left her, I don’t know.

      What I do know is, The only person we can change is ourselves.

      You did what you deemed best for your life.

      PS. The way she responded isn’t indicative of how the next person will respond Yaa Yaa. None-the-less, you are absolutely entitled to ending your friendships the way you deem best 🙂

      As always Yaa Yaa, thank you for joining the conversation and adding such a valuable perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Beutiflee says:

        Actually, I agree with both. @ScribblesandTostitos, you are valid in your feelings and decision to send the note. Your friend handled the situation incorrectly. Although she shared it with your mutual friends, backup wasn’t what she needed, she needed to stop running from the truth. But she shown you how less she valued you and the friendship. She did a coward move.

        However I agree with @TheNakedWriter we all choose the way we respond, even if we don’t agree with the way they do it. And we always play a part in situations, even if we know we are right. Every action we perform will have a consequences towards someone else. It can’t be avoided.
        I learned this from my own friendships, but even more so from my romantic relationships. I learn a lot and loss a lot of people in my life, but I’ve gain a new perspective and new friends along the way.
        I don’t think your method was wrong in any way, but we have to own our truths as well as the actions of others. Each relationship and person is different, we have to decide whether the friendship is worth it or is it a peace stealer and headache.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Tiff, thank you for weighing in! I do value that you can see this from both sides of the coin! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Beutiflee says:

            I’m curious creature

            Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m usually a very deep, self-reflective person. I typically blame myself when friendships go wrong. If I took ownership of what went awry in this friendship, I’d say it was my lack of reality of who she truly was. I did not believe her when she kept revealing her true colors. Maybe I just expected more from her than she was capable of giving.

        If the friendship is at a place where you have to walk away from it, what’s the point in actually telling them you’re walking away? You’re better off saying, “Hey, I didn’t like how you did ABC.” You may even repeat yourself many, many times. You can even say, “I’m not sure if we can continue to be friends if you continue to do ABC.” After all that talking, the person is STILL stubborn enough not to hear you, then what’s the point in telling her you’re walking away? Once you’re no longer around, the person is not stupid. S/he will figure it out.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hey Yaa Yaa! I absolutely agree with you when you say, “I did not believe her when she kept revealing her true colors. ” —- There’s this popular quote about believing someone when they show you who they are… and I absolutely agree!

          I’m sorry that with as much grace as it sounds like you extended to her, she still didn’t catch the hint.

          “Once you’re no longer around, the person is not stupid. S/he will figure it out.” — Lol… I would hope so! I guess my heart usually leans towards, “Tell them what they did, so that they know.” I’ve heard too many friendships fade away and people say, “Well, I don’t know what happened, she just stopped talking to me.” — SOMETHING(s) Happened… No one wanted to talk about it and it was easier to walk away.

          It sounds like you attempted, several times — so much so to write a letter and that’s exceptional! I commend you for it. I think it was a good thing and just because she didn’t receive well, doesn’t mean the next person won’t.

          I hope that you stay true to who Yaa Yaa is, even when people don’t respond kindly.

          You sound like a good one Yaa Yaa. You made some best friends in those “4 years” and maybe she needed to exit, to make room for them 🙂

          Warm Hugs to you sis!

          Like

      3. You’re good at giving advice. Thinking about starting your own advice column? I am quite sure it will be a huge hit.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re quite kind Yaa Yaa. I don’t take the compliment lightly as I do have a warm and fuzzy place in my heart for human behavior and how we connect/disconnect with others. Well, this is it Yaa Yaa. Mondays with Mac as my attempt at exploring this knack of “giving advice”. I didn’t think I was “good” at it, I just knew that I liked helping people think through their interactions with others. So, in short, Thank You Yaa Yaa. I appreciate that.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Kaje Marie says:

      Yaa Yaa – I ghosted a friend somewhat recently, within the past year. We had conflict back in college where she actually stopped talking to me and I had no idea why until way later. But long story short we tried to repair the friendship and after several years I just kind of realized that the damage wasn’t fully repaired. I thought that (and she made it seem as if) we had a real, genuine friendship. But there were behaviors that I noticed that suggested otherwise. In the moments that certain things happened, I had too much going on to really pay attention to what she was doing. But I eventually sat back, did an evaluation, and decided to end the friendship without saying anything.

      In our mutual group of friends, typically if you share something with one, the rest soon find out. So I too had the fear that our conversation wouldn’t be private and that I would be gossiped about behind the scenes. I also didn’t have the energy for drama or an argument. I strongly believe in our need to be vulnerable in order to foster connection and build strong relationships. But even Brene Brown gives caveats and boundaries on vulnerability. So I ghosted and didn’t say anything.

      I did acknowledge out loud the hurts to a different, but trusted group of friends as well as my forgiveness toward her. And to them I also acknowledged that I may not have always been the greatest friend to her either. Maybe not the best approach. I don’t know 🤷🏽‍♀️ I think Mac gave some good advice and I would consider doing things differently in the future.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Kaje – I’m curious. What would you have done differently? You mentioned that you thought you had a real, genuine friendship but her actions suggested otherwise. And remember she stop talking to you after a conflict. Why do you think she did that instead of confronting you? You acknowledged the part you had to play and you have since moved on. Do you think doing things differently would have given you a better outcome?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Kaje Marie says:

          I honestly don’t know if I would do anything differently in that specific situation. However, I do think in the future I would and could follow Mac’s advice with my current friends. The only thing I could have done differently was to call her up and talk about how I felt. I have no idea what the outcome would have been. She could have said “Girl, you’re tripping” or she could have owned up and we would have had a real conversation. History suggested to me that it was likely to be a “girl you’re tripping” convo. I didn’t care either way. I forgave and I put it behind me. I’m sure the whole confront the person you have an issue with directly is the best overall course of action, but I still think there are caveats. From what I know about her is that she doesn’t like confrontation. I assume that’s why she just stopped talking instead of coming to me back in college when we had that issue.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Kelli! Glad to hear that you’d consider doing things differently moving forward!

            It is absolutely easier for all of us to just stop talking rather than confront the issue — no one really likes confrontation (probably just me) — some of us are just more willing than others to stomach it, despite how uncomfortable it makes us, so how reaction really isn’t unusual.

            But for preservation of a relationship, we need confrontation! At least, I think so 🙂

            Like

        2. MMmhhh very good follow-up questions Yaa Yaa. I like how this discussion is unfolding! 🙂

          Like

      2. Hey Kelli! Thanks so much for your sharing so honestly with us! It sounds like she ended the friendship first — her deciding to stop talking to you without telling you why —– and this is what I’m attempting to address, leaving the other person “hanging with no explanation” —- I don’t think that’s ok — perhaps you need to share my blog with her…lol

        In any case, it sounds like the effort to reconcile the friendship failed — hence your decision to “ghost” her.

        So sorry things worked out that way for you. The mutual friends dynamic can surely make things more difficult, sometimes forcing them to have to choose between the two of you. Yikes.

        Glad to hear you’ve voiced your hurts out loud and have decided to forgive her — great steps toward healing! Proud of you for being able to admit and identify where the ending of the friendship hurt you . Too many of us pretend that we don’t care!

        Big warm hugs to you Kelli!

        Like

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