I’m a firm believer that some friendships are seasonal. Meaning some friends are only in your life for a brief moment. When it comes to friendships, it’s not always easy to know when to stop reaching out to a friend and when it’s time to cut ties.
As someone who values relationships and understands the effort it takes to maintain them, I’ve also experienced struggling with the decision to stop reaching out to a friend. But sometimes, it’s necessary for our own mental health and well-being.
Today, I want to share some signs that it’s time to cut ties AND some signs it may not be time.
When to stop reaching out to a friend: 14 signs it’s time to cut ties
If you’re the only one reaching out and putting effort into the friendship, it might be time to let it go. A one-sided friendship can be draining and leave you feeling undervalued. Examples of a one-sided friendship can include one person always having to initiate contact, one person doing more for the other than vice versa, and one person dominating conversations and ignoring the other’s point of view.
If a friend takes up more of your time complaining than enjoying life or hearing about yours, it may be time to step away. You are what you consume, including who you hang it. If you find hanging out or talking to a friend constantly drains your energy with their negativity, it’s probably time to end the friendship.
Friendship requires two people, and if your friend is consistently unresponsive to your messages and calls, it could be a sign that they’re not interested in maintaining the friendship.
While sometimes life gets hectic and a friend may not be as responsive as usual (for example, she’s a new mom or transitioning in life), if your friend never responds to texts and messages, it’s a key sign that they’re not interested in remaining friends. It’s important to respect their boundaries, but it’s also important to recognize when it’s time to move on.
If you and your friend have different values and beliefs, it can create tension and conflict in the friendship. While it’s important to have diverse perspectives, it’s also important to have mutual respect and understanding.
If your friend is consistently judgmental or critical of your lifestyle and beliefs, it may be time to cut ties.
I see the word “toxic” a lot these days. I want to call out that while a friendship can be toxic, it doesn’t mean that a specific person is toxic (there’s a HUGE difference!). Toxic friendships can be draining and detrimental to your mental health. Friendships are supposed to lift us up, making us happy, and we should enjoy being around friends. If being around a friend makes you unhappy, it’s a sign that it may be time to cut ties.
Everyone has their own lives and can’t always show up for their friends the way they’d like, but if you find that your friend is rarely available or always has excuses when it comes to reaching out, it could be a sign that they are no longer interested in the friendship. If you’re always the one initiating plans, and they rarely return the favor, then it may be time to release the ties.
If your friend consistently declines your invitations and never makes an effort to make plans, it could be a sign that they’re not interested in maintaining the friendship. It’s important to recognize when it’s time to let go and move on.
If your friend consistently disrespects you or your boundaries, it’s important to address it. If they continue to disregard your feelings and needs, it might be time to cut ties. Signs your friend doesn’t value you is disrespectful behavor towards you and is a sure sign it may be time to part ways with your friend.
They dismiss it when you raise a concern
If you bring up a concern or issue to your friend and they dismiss it or minimize your feelings, it could be a sign that they’re not committed to the friendship. It’s important to have open and honest communication in any relationship… especially in friendships. You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends, and if your friends are a source of negativity, dismissal, passive-aggressiveness, and hurt, it’s time to move on.
While social media isn’t everything, it can be a sign of disinterest if your friend stops interacting with you on social media. If your friend was once liking your posts and commenting and now they completely ignore you on social media (but you can see they’re still pretty active on social media), they may be intentionally ignoring you.
No mutual respect
Mutual respect is key in any relationship. If your friend doesn’t treat you with the same respect that you give to them, it may be time to stop reaching out and find healthier friendships instead. Mutual respect is key in any relationship. If your friend doesn’t treat you with the same respect that you give to them, it may be time to stop reaching out and find healthier friendships instead. If you feel like your friend is taking advantage of your kindness or doesn’t value the effort and thought that you put into the friendship, it may be a sign that it’s time to move on.
You’re always confused about the friendship
If you’re always confused about where you stand in the friendship, it may be time to end it. A healthy friendship should be a two-way street, with both parties putting in effort and communicating openly. If you’re always left wondering where you stand, it may be time to move on.
They tell your business and gossip about you
If your friend is constantly talking behind your back and sharing personal details without your permission, it’s a sign that you need to cut ties with them. This kind of betrayal can be especially hurtful and damaging, so it’s best to distance yourself from someone who is not loyal to you.
They don’t support you
If your friend is constantly nitpicking at your dreams, achievements, and goals or fails to show up when you need their support, it could be a sign that you need to cut ties with them. It’s important to surround yourself with people who cheer you on and believe in your abilities, not those who doubt or criticize you.
In the end, it’s important to trust your instincts and recognize when a friendship is no longer serving you. It’s okay to let go and move on to healthier relationships.
You’re outgrown each other
Sometimes friendships happen because of proximity. Perhaps you live in the neighborhood, go to the same school, or work in the same office and department. However, once you no longer have that proximity, the friendship may fade. If you’ve both grown and moved in different directions, it may be time to cut ties and stop reaching out.
How to End a Friendship
As someone who has had to end a few friendships in my life, I know firsthand how difficult and uncomfortable it can be. However, sometimes it’s necessary for our own self-care and well-being. Here are some tips on how to end a friendship respectfully and gracefully.
Have the conversation
The first step in ending a friendship is having an honest conversation with your friend. It’s important to approach the conversation with kindness and empathy. Start by expressing how you feel and what you’ve been experiencing in the friendship. Be specific and avoid blame or criticism.
As an adult, it’s important to communicate with others how we’re feeling and express how we feel. Give friends (and ex-friends) the decency and closure of letting them know that you no longer want to be friends.
Ghosting someone can sometimes be a sign of manipulation and immaturity. Use your words.
Ways to say you no longer want to be friends
Sometimes you don’t know exactly what to say to end a friendship. Here are a few examples of things you can say to end a friendship gracefully and respectfully:
“I appreciate all the time we have spent together, and I’m grateful for the bond we had. However, I feel we have outgrown each other, and I think it’s best if we go out separate ways.”
“We are both deserving of friends we enjoy being around and have a great time around. I have been feeling our friendship shift, and we no longer have anything to talk about. I appreciate the time we’ve spent together, but I think it’s time for us to go our separate ways.”
“I’ve been feeling like our friendship has changed, and I think it’s best if we take some space from each other.”
“This isn’t easy for me to say, but I don’t think our friendship is working out anymore.”
“I value the time we’ve spent together, but I think it’s best if we part ways.
No matter how you choose to end a friendship, the most important thing is to express your feelings honestly and with respect. Be kind and compassionate but firm, as it will make the conversation easier for both of you.
When it comes to how to let go of a friendship gracefully, don’t blame them, as this can make them defensive. Saying things like “You’re not a very good person” will only make things worst. Try to focus on expressing your own feelings rather than assigning blame or judgment. After having the conversation, give yourself time and space to process it.
Appreciate them but move forward
It’s important to appreciate the good times you had with your friend but also to recognize that it’s time to move forward. Remember the positive aspects of the friendship, but also acknowledge why it’s no longer working for you.
I honor and I’m so grateful for all the friendships I’ve had over the years… including the ones that have ended. Each friend has taught me something.
Don’t talk bad about them or gossip
It’s important to avoid talking badly about your friend or gossiping about the situation. This will only cause unnecessary drama and hurt feelings. Instead, try to focus on the positive aspects of the friendship and why it’s time to move on.
I once had a friend who became unresponsive and would always decline my invites. Seeing this pattern, I decided to reach out to her to ask her what was going on. Her response was, “I’m just busy, that’s all!”
A few months later, I heard through the grapevine that she didn’t want to be my friend anymore and was gossiping about me. It hurt because she was telling everyone else BUT me?! Don’t be that person.
You wouldn’t want someone gossiping about you or saying mean things behind your back, right? So don’t do it. It speaks more about you than the person you’re talking bad about.
Unfriend and unfollow, if needed
If you need to unfriend or unfollow your friend on social media, it’s okay to do so. This can help you move on and avoid any reminders of the friendship.
Ending a friendship is never easy, but sometimes it’s necessary for our own well-being. By approaching the situation with kindness and empathy, we can end the friendship in a respectful and graceful manner. Also, don’t feel guilty about ending a friendship – by making this decision, you’re taking a step towards prioritizing your own mental health and well-being.
When to Cut Your Friends Some Slack
I debated adding this section in, but I want to include it because SOMETIMES, you don’t need to stop reaching out to a person and cut them out. Sometimes you just need to give a friend space and grace.
I know how difficult it can be to navigate the ups and downs of these relationships. Sometimes it can feel like you’re the only one putting in effort, and it’s easy to become resentful or frustrated when your friend doesn’t seem to reciprocate.
However, it’s important to remember that everyone has their own life and struggles, and sometimes your friend may not be able to be there for you as much as you’d like.
Here are a few reasons why a friend may not contact you as much and why it may be worth cutting them some slack:
They’re going through a tough time:
If your friend is dealing with a major life event, like a breakup, job loss, death, or illness, they may not have the emotional energy to reach out to you as much as they normally would. In these cases, it can be helpful to offer your support and understanding rather than getting upset that they’re not contacting you as much.
When my father passed away, I didn’t talk to anyone. I was grieving and didn’t have the desire or energy to talk to friends or hang out. I’m so grateful for my friends who understand that I was just going through a tough time in my life and for giving me grace and space.
They’re an introvert:
Now I want to make a disclaimer here because I’m also an introvert. There’s a different between someone who is an introvert and someone who is just being distant towards you.
Some people simply don’t need as much social interaction as others. If your friend is an introvert, they may be perfectly content with only seeing you every few weeks or months. It doesn’t mean they don’t value your friendship; they just have a different way of approaching social relationships.
They’re busy with other commitments:
Your friend may have a lot on their plate, whether it’s work, school, family, or other hobbies. If they’re not contacting you as much as you’d like, it may be because they simply don’t have the time or energy to do so. Again, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean they don’t care about you.
When my friend became a new mom, we went from daily chats to weekly chats to a monthly touch base. When we talk, it’s like we’ve never missed a beat, and we truly enjoy our convos. However, I understand she has different commitments and can’t talk as much as I would like. Apart of friendships is compromising and understanding that friends can care for you but may not have the capacity to talk to you often. That doesn’t have to take anything anyway from the friendship.
Of course, there may be times when a friend is truly neglecting your relationship, and it may be time to reevaluate whether the friendship is worth continuing. However, before jumping to conclusions, it’s important to consider all the factors at play and give your friend the benefit of the doubt. By cutting them some slack and offering your support, you may be able to strengthen your friendship in the long run.
How to move forward After a Friendship Breakup
When a friendship ends, it can be difficult to know how to move forward (I’ve had a few friendship breakups and believe me- I know it can be painful!). It’s natural to feel sad and even angry, but it’s important to take steps to heal and move on. Here are some strategies that have helped me in the past:
After a friendship breakup, it’s important to take care of yourself. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly. Take time to do things you enjoy, whether that’s reading a book, going for a walk, or spending time with family.
Talking to a trusted friend or family member can be helpful after a friendship breakup. It’s important to have someone to confide in and share your feelings with. If you’re struggling to cope, consider seeing a mental health professional.
Focus on Success
One way to move forward after a friendship breakup is to focus on your own success. Set goals for yourself and work towards achieving them. Celebrate your accomplishments and remind yourself of your strengths.
A friendship breakup can shake your self-confidence. Take steps to build yourself back up. Practice positive self-talk and remind yourself of your worth. Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you.
After a friendship breakup, it can be tempting to isolate yourself. However, it’s important to stay connected with others. Make plans with friends or family members, or join a group or club that interests you.
It’s natural to grieve the loss of a friendship. Allow yourself to feel sad and process your emotions. Remember that it’s okay to let go of relationships that no longer serve you.
Meet new friends
Friendship breakups can be difficult, but it’s an opportunity to meet new people. Join local events, groups and committees. Attend galas and events that interest you. Having a few trusted friends who understand you is more valuable than having many acquaintances. Here’s an article (and my own advice) about how to meet new friends as an adult!
In conclusion, moving forward after a friendship breakup can be challenging, but it’s important to prioritize self-care, seek support, focus on success, build self-confidence, make plans, and accept the loss. With time and effort, you can heal and move on from the past.
Some friends aren’t meant to be in your life forever
As I reflect on my life and the friendships I have had, I realize that not all of them were meant to last forever.
Some friends come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, as the saying goes. It’s important to recognize when it’s time to let go of a friendship that is no longer serving us.
There are many reasons why a friendship may not be meant to last forever. It could be that we have grown apart, that our interests and values no longer align, or that we have simply outgrown each other. It’s also possible that the friendship has become toxic or that we are no longer able to support each other in the way that we need to.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to recognize that it’s okay to let go of a friendship that is no longer serving us. Holding onto a friendship out of obligation or guilt can be draining and ultimately lead to resentment. It’s important to prioritize our own well-being and recognize when it’s time to cut ties.
Of course, this is not to say that we should give up on a friendship at the first sign of trouble. It’s important to communicate openly and honestly with our friends and try to work through any issues that arise. However, if we find that we are consistently unhappy or that the friendship is causing more harm than good, it may be time to let go.
Life is not meant to be lived alone. We are all deserving of healthy, loving, and positive friendships, and sometimes you need to stop a friendship that doesn’t fit that. Appreciate the good times yall had together, honor the lessons and experiences yall shared and move on gracefully. You’re deserving of that.
In the end, we must trust our instincts and do what is best for ourselves. It’s okay to let go of a friendship that is no longer serving us and to prioritize our own well-being. While it can be difficult to say goodbye to a friend, it’s important to remember that some friends are not meant to be in our lives forever, and that’s okay. See the good in goodbye.
I hope this article has helped you when it comes to ending friendships or giving them some space. Do you have any tips when it comes to friendship? Please feel free to share them below!
If you’re still feeling stuck when it comes to friendship and could use some 1:1 support, check out my good friend and certified friendship coach, Danielle Jackson!
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