• Handling Breakups

How do you decide when it is time to break up with a friend?

Published: December 13, 2013 | By | 8 Replies Continue Reading
The time to break up with a friend is when you’re absolutely certain about your decision.



I was wondering if you have any advice on when it’s the right time to break up with a friend.

I have a friend who has betrayed me for the third time in just a few months. I feel that she is always very competitive, and always tries to ‘one up’ me and I hate it.

The first time this happened, my heart was torn apart because she believed that I was a disgusting and horrible person (which isn’t true) and kept blaming me, saying I was the reason she feels like this.

I can’t deal with it anymore. I forgave her the past two times and whenever I begin to feel close to her she disappoints me again. Is it worth being her friend anymore? Is it really worth all the heartache? Thank you.

Signed, Rosa


Hi Rosa,

It sounds like this friend has disappointed and undermined you repeatedly. Yet it’s not easy making new friends and it isn’t easy giving up on old ones–so I understand your reluctance to let go.

I presume that you have tried to talk with your friend about these problems and they still seem to recur. Before you call it quits, you might want to take a break from the friendship and tell your friend why. Perhaps, you can agree to take a break from each other for a month or two, and see if time apart brings you closer together. Another option would be see each other less often, or only to see each other in a group situation.

The reason why I’m suggested these alternatives is that once you decide to end the friendship entirely, you can’t really change your mind and expect to pick up where you left off.

Whatever you do, make sure that you feel clear about your decision before you act. Only you will know when the friendship really isn’t worth the heartache.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

Tags: , , , ,


Comments (8)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. LaTrice says:

    It’s a challenge to maintain a friendship with someone that can’t be trusted-especially when you’ve been betrayed TWICE!! Also, I’m NOT too thrilled about competition between two best friends. What’s wrong with supporting each other’s goals, and encouraging one another? I’m shaking my head right now, thinking WTH?

    I agree with what Irene is saying about ending the friendship, as well as thinking about it BEFORE you act, Rosa. You can see your best friend less often, or ask her to give you some space for a while. I understand that you don’t want to associate yourself with this girl in your lifetime, but still, give it some thought.

    I’m going to be brutally honest, and say that your best friend’s attitude SUCKS!!

  2. C says:

    When you’ve had enough of your friend and there’s nothing that can be done to change them, it’s time to walk away and move on.

    Over the past two years, I’ve progressively cut off a group of four friends – one by one. Two of the friends were competitive (‘one uppers’) and cheap. When I hung out with them, I would either have to pay or drive. One of them would deliberately make lies so that she didn’t have to drive even though she had her own car. Both of the girls also loved to brag or ‘one up’. I finally realized that they brag or ‘one up’ every single time I talk to them because they are insecure about themselves. I did my fair share of mending our friendships by limiting my interactions with them but they never changed. These friendships are simply one-sided where they have absolutely no regard for the other friend. All they do is wear you out and waste your time.

    I’m glad that I no longer keep friends that bring negativity to my life because since then, I’ve had more time to spend it with other groups of friends (that are generous, humble, successful, supportive and positive), take on new hobbies and succesfully build my professional career. I don’t regret my decision. Sometimes, you have to let go of friendships that just don’t work.

    • Kiki says:

      There used to be a time when saying you had a similar experience was a way of connecting to another human. Due to our competitive society everyone now thinks of it as one upping someone. Perhaps some people are one upping, but what if they are just seeking common ground with you? I rarely think of others as one upping me, and when I do encounter them I basically shut down the conversation as it is ridiculous to continue.

  3. Tam says:

    It’s a significant breech to characterize anyone in some diminished way. We’re sharing this sandbox and it’s made noxious when anyone fouls it by giving themselves license to do so. There are people who take license and people who won’t. When you find yourself with someone who does, you have to be thinking about the fact that this will be a person who breeches the rules for the common good. And those thoughts are on an altogether different plane than “Why/How she could do it?”…They are thoughts about who you are going to be in the sandbox and what you are going to stand for.
    This is a relationship not just ungratifying but, in actuality, makes you not just a target but an accomplice fouling the sandbox. With this (new) understanding of the significance, it should be apparent to you that there are larger concerns as well as personal concerns that demand you to stop the relationship.
    However, you end it not fouling the sandbox, yourself. You do so by words of these kind in the presence of the other: “I’ve come to suspect that our relationship doesn’t serve either of us well. I’m going to move on. That we weren’t a good fit does not diminish your (Name friend’s talents and abilities)or you. I wish you all good to come and a better fit for a friend than I.”

  4. Denise says:

    Hi Rosa

    Three betrayals in a few months is a lot. Frequent “one upping” isn’t friendly if she continues when you’ve told her, for example, it makes you uncomfortable.

    Feeling that your heart was torn apart when she believed (said?) that you were a disgusting and horrible person, kept blaming you,(YOU!) and said you (YOU!) are the reason she feels like this?!

    If she can’t give you a true and valid reason for you being a horrible person, she’s projecting something onto you. She’s blaming you for something you don’t know about and aren’t responsible for.

    Forgiveness is important, noble, and gives you peace. Nevertheless, this interaction is not friendship. I don’t see any reason to continue the relationship. Look for someone who is kind, respectful, loyal, fun etc….

  5. There’s a flip side to that–when a friend unfriends you…

  6. Amy says:

    Do you think your friend truly believes you’re a “horrible disgusting person”? I’m not talking about this being your interpretation of her thinking, but her actual thinking. If she does think do little of you, I’m not sure why she’d want to be your friend. Since she comes back, she probably has more regard for you than you think she does.
    I think if you choose to remain friends, keep your expectations realistic. She’s someone who doesn’t handle conflict/disagreements in a healthy manner and unless she chooses to work to fix that pattern, she won’t change. If you like her, you might want to keep her acquaintance, but at an emotional distance.

    I don’t take verbal abuse from friends, acquaintances or family. I’ll accept an apology, but I’m not stepping in that drama-roller coaster by choice. I’m not one for cutting off people I have a history with, but abusive behavior is a deal breaker.

    I hoot you can figure out a satisfying resolution.

    • Corinda says:

      I am new to this site and the discussions are very interesting. I am in my mid forties and in the past year had to make some painful decisions regarding breaking up with long-standing friends. I am a nurturing type of person and always seem to attract people with either some serious addictions or otherwise some unresolved psychological problems. Although I really liked my friends and truly love some of them too, I have reached a stage where I just could not give anymore of my energy to them. Especially my one female friend who has a long standing drinking problem really caused me a lot of pain. I can support someone who genuinely wants to tackle their own destructive behavior but if a person keeps sabotaging themselves again and again for years on end, causing all sorts of dramas in their lives, and then drains my time and emotional energy every time to help them get through their bad patches, I think there comes a time when this has to stop. Needless to say I am still mourning the break-up, even though I initiated it, all that I can say is that it is really excruciatingly difficult but in the end if a friendship starts affecting your emotional health then it should most probably be ended no matter how difficult it is.

      At the moment I am defensive and just bitchy towards people sometimes so I don’t expect anybody to want me as a friend right now but the emotional reserves just are not there for new friendships. I find people to become intrusive the moment that a friendship becomes more long-term and I just do not have the ability to maintain a healthy psychological boundary in the friendships. I wish I could fix that problem but it is with me.

      In any case, when you cook porridge and it becomes too thick it burns, that is the same way with friendships too I think, long lasting so-called “best friends forever” is probably a fairytale just as “they lived happily ever after” for newlyweds is also a fairytale, because real life is full of real problems I suppose.

      You can’t expect friends to make you happy, you must become happy first by yourself.

Leave a Reply