The loss of a friendship can be heartbreaking. Unlike the end of a romantic relationship, you may not know how to grapple with ending a friendship. In fact, you may hold onto a friendship longer than you should because you think things might get better or you don't know how to go about it. When the time comes to end a lost friendship, it may be difficult to navigate, but it can be handled with class, and you can move on with your life.
Make a Clean Break
Once you're sure that a friendship needs to come to an end, you can always stop returning phone calls, but they deserve an explanation, especially if you have been close for a long time. Communicate your feelings to your friend in person, and, if you can't do this, make a phone call.
You want to be as upfront and as honest as possible. Explain why you think the friendship should end, say that you are happy to have had them in your life this long and try to avoid a confrontational attitude.
The decision to end a friendship is a hard one to make, and it should come after some soul searching and after more than one attempt to mend the friendship's fences. If nothing seems to work and nothing is improving, then you need to be clear about the reasons for ending this friendship. This will help both you and your former friend.
Once you've told your friend that you'd like to end the friendship, cease contact. You don't want to draw this process out. Be sure to screen your calls, and ignore follow-up e-mails, text messages and letters.
Process Your Emotions
Acceptance is a major part of letting go of a friendship. Remember that the "if only" game will only prolong the grieving process and pain. The best way to move on from a troubling friendship's end is to believe the friendship is truly over.
If you feel as though a friend has failed you, if your friend was more like an enemy or if their friendship is more toxic than productive, make sure to allow yourself the time to process your emotions. It's logical for you to feel hurt, angry and betrayed, among other emotions. It is normal to feel sorry or regretful that the friendship has to end.
You don't want to put your other friends in the middle of this situation, but you do want to use them for support. Be sure to get out and do things with your other friends, write letters and send e-mails to people with whom you've lost contact but whose friendships were always positive. Letting go of a friendship is a chance to reconnect with others. Making new friends can be hard, but it's not impossible.
Take space from activities, places and people who remind you of your former friend. Use this time to try new things, meet new people and take time for yourself. You should also use this time to reassess what you want out of a friendship. If you reassess what you want, it will help you make friends who can support you.
Dealing With Mutual Friends
You and your former friend may have mutual friends, and the end of this friendship can affect others. Make sure to be honest with your friends about the end of this friendship, but do not disclose too much. You do not want your friends to feel as if they have to choose sides. Let your friends know that this friendship is over, but keep your tone pleasant: The end of a friendship does not have to mean the start of a Friend War. If you handle this situation with maturity and respect, you will preserve your other friendships and prevent unnecessary drama.
Additionally, you may be curious about your ex-friend's activities, but be careful of asking mutual friends about this: It can make them feel as if they are in the middle or as if they are betraying your former friend. The way to let go of a friendship is to cut all ties. Even asking about a former friend can bring up old wounds.
The word closure is probably familiar when associated with the end of a romantic relationship, but you will also need closure at the end of a friendship, too. Just because you and your friend are no longer together, this does not mean you can't remember the good times the two of you spent together. You might want to put away mementos of your friend, but you don't have to get rid of them entirely. A friendship is a link to important moments from your past, even if it ended on less than stellar terms.
If you are starting to feel as if a friend has turned on you, consider whether jealousy is rearing its ugly head.