• Handling Breakups

Ending a long term friendship

Published: May 29, 2016 | By | 7 Replies Continue Reading
A woman asks how to end a long term friendship that has become frayed and unsatisfying.



I’m feeling a bit lost right now. I’ve been friends with this girl for over twenty years now. In recent years she’s become selfish, narcissistic, and generally not a nice person so she has very few friends.

She never asks how my life is going or anything. The conversation is always around her and her life. Whenever I mention something about my life she just ignores it or completely changes the subject. Other friends often ask why I am friends with someone like her as its her way or no way, and I just say oh, we’ve been friends for years. But lately, I’m starting to get sick of that excuse and her.

Last year I fell in love with this boy and I graduated college and got a job and started my career and getting on with my life generally while she is a college drop-out without a boyfriend. Everyone around my age, 24, is moving on with their lives and I don’t have this problem with any of my other friends because we’re all acting our age.

She never once asked me how my job was going or anything. She recently asked me to go on holidays with her two months after I got the job. I said I couldn’t because I had just started the job so I obviously couldn’t ask for the time off obviously.

Nine months into the job, when I could take holidays, I told her my friend from college and I were planning on going away and she went behind my back saying I didn’t want to go with her when she asked. But she didn’t say anything to me, like a grownup would.

Last week I heard she went out for her birthday and didn’t invite me. At this point I think I’m done with her. I feel that she’s jealous because I’m doing so well and moving on with my life and she’s stuck where she is, all of her own doing but wants to blame everyone else. How do I end the friendship properly?

Signed, Jennie


Hi Jennie,

It’s quite common that in their twenties, people mature at different rates and go off in different directions—geographically, romantically, career-wise, etc. While some childhood friendships seem to endure, the large majority do not.

Whatever the reasons for your friend’s unfriendly behavior, it sounds like you are quite sure that you need a break from this relationship. The good news: It sounds like she has decided to drift away, too, because your lives are so disparate.

I don’t think you need to definitively end the friendship, per se. If you no longer initiate contact, it sounds like this one will fade away on its own. Then, if her disposition and life circumstances change, you’ll have left the door open.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

Previously on The Friendship Blog:

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Category: HANDLING BREAKUPS, How to break up

Comments (7)

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  1. Bella says:

    I’ve just recently moved and my best friend I’ve known for a very long time hasn’t been keeping in touch and I’m always expected to text first and she is really rude and has been talking behind my back to my other friends and saying she doesn’t care about me and hates me.

    I recently visited and she seemed distanced and was texting other people and when I told her she was being rude she got angry and make excuses.

    Now she never invites me to things and whenever I go out with friends gets jealous and says I never invite her to things.

    My friends keeping telling me to cut her off because they see I’m stressed and upset but my family is really close with her family and tell me that I can resolve things but I feel stuck and just don’t know what to do.

  2. Remy says:

    So today my best friend for 3 years all of a suddon said i hate you you are not my friend anymore i asked my other friend and she daid that my friend told her that I dont take her bull crap but she allways takes mine that is not true i am all wayse there for her and i feel so bad she then said i am mean to her when she has been my best friend she all of a suddon hates me what do i do i mean its not my fault but i want to know so i can fix it she is one of my only friends and before this she keeps on ignoreing me and she says that i am mean to her and i ignore her and dont lissen to her ideas she was mad at md other friend too but now she and her are best buddies #help i want to fix it


  3. Scott L. says:

    Almost 6 years ago, I had “Lynette,” my closest friend of *45* years end the friendship. It looks like I was “sacrificed” in favor of her job.

    Over 30 years ago I moved out of state but kept in touch at least 2x a month via phone. “Lynette” and her husband got divorced and I felt bad that I wasn’t up there to try and keep them together; basically our friendship was that we would be there for each other.

    In the summer of 2010 she got on Facebook and did not send me a friend request. I sent her several and she declined each time. I called her; left voice messages; e-mailed her and asked her what was wrong. She writes back, giving me a song and dance that she’s always out which is why she never called me back and her job will monitor her page and her friends list and that my liberal politics are too much and she will be fired, and I can’t understand, too bad.

    I tell some mutual friends what she said to me. She heard about it and then sent me a threatening e-mail that said I broke the law and she would have me arrested. To say I was in shock would be an understatement.

    Naturally she blocked me on Facebook and refused to return e-mails and phone calls. Again, this happened almost 6 years ago and yes it still hurts.

    Was I sacrificed for some reason? I will never know.

  4. Ana says:

    I think you need to cut your friend a little slack. Honestly, it sounds like she’s really struggling with her life right now and you seem like you have no empathy for her at all. I’m not saying that you have to continue a friendship that makes you uncomfortable. I’m just saying that she may view you as the bad friend. It sounds a lot like your rubbing your success in her face, without any sensitivity to how she feels.
    Also judging someone by their employment and especially by their relationship status is abhorrent, mean, petty, and despicable. Take it from someone who struggled a lot in the years between college and grad school. You are adding to her shame. Before you abandon her, I suggest you think long and hard about what kind of friend you have been and make the appropriate apologies before you go your separate ways. At least then you can drift apart in peace

  5. Amy F says:

    I agree with Irene about not actively ending the friendship and letting it fade. The two of you grew in different directions, but you share a history and at some point, you may reconnect in the future, so burning bridges isn’t wise, especially if you have mutual friends.
    If she contacts you or if you see her, be cordial, but distant. If you send holiday cards, include her. When you think of her, do so in the context of your entire relationship, not just how she is behaving right now. Often times people who become narcissistic, self centered or unpleasant do so because their lives aren’t going well or they’re depressed. This is NOT an excuse for bad behavior, but a reason to remember not to discount the entire body of the relationship, if only from a distance.

  6. Ben says:

    The best thing in life as we age is being comfortable in your own skin and simply living your own life accepting people as they are not as I wish they would be. Congrats on your new career and relationship! Mazletov!!!!

  7. Georgia says:

    Jennie, I agree with Irene. It sounds like this friendship will “fade” on its own, since the two of you are moving in different directions. It’s wonderful that you earned your college degree and are building a career, and it’s natural that you would want to hang out with friends who are on the same path — or at least appreciate your success.

    Here’s some perspective from someone who’s in her 60s. I occasionally get together with a couple of friends I made in high school. They didn’t go on to college (I did) and their lifestyles are different from mine. In some ways, they sound a bit like the friend you mentioned, but I still care about them and like to get together once in a while. The key words here are “once in a while.” For the most part, I spend my time with other friends whose goals, dreams, and lifestyles are more like mine.

    But I am grateful for what I call my “legacy friends.” I wouldn’t hurt them, and I like feeling connected to my past when I am with them. So, if I were you, I would keep moving forward and hanging out with friends who live their lives to fullest and who support you while you do the same. Accept the fact that you and your “legacy friend” are drifting apart, and let it go. Later, you might want to reconnect, for old times’ sake — so I wouldn’t formally end the friendship. Let it fade.

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