• Handling Breakups

Getting someone to accept the friendship is over

Published: September 1, 2016 | By | 5 Replies Continue Reading
How do you get a friend to accept that the friendship is over?

QUESTION

Hi Dr. Irene,

I am a college student who has been friends with a girl since mid-high school. We were inseparable in our last year of high school but our relationship hit a rocky patch during college.

We tried repeatedly to deal with communication issues and mismatched ideas of what our friendship should be like. We recently had an argument that hit deeper and hurt more.

I have always been content in more of a supporting role, with my friend often taking the lead in group settings and conversations. I didn’t mind and wouldn’t mention the over-embellishments of her stories. However, she recently claimed to have taken a trip to a far-flung place. Her story changes daily about what she did, how long she was there, etc., and there are numerous inconsistencies and impossibilities that I simply can’t overlook.

I have given her multiple chances to come clean but she ignores them or replies with hurtful jabs. I feel like she is treating me like an idiot because I have turned a blind eye to this behavior before. I don’t trust her anymore, and I don’t think our friendship can come back from this. I have made those feeling very clear to her, but she refuses to let go. I don’t think she is willing to accept that I do not want to pursue a close friendship any longer. How can we both move forward and free ourselves from this mess of a relationship?

Thank you.

Signed, Meredith

ANSWER

Hi Meredith,

It sounds like this friendship has run its course. Sadly, this often occurs as young people mature during the transition from high school to college and move in different directions, both literally and figuratively.

In addition, it sounds like you no longer trust this friend, which is a real deal-breaker. Perhaps, when you were less self-confident, you weren’t aware of this problem or weren’t able to address it.

Friendships are voluntary relationships between two people. Your friend can only refuse to accept your decision that the friendship is over if you continue to remain involved with her.

If you haven’t done so already, tell your friend unequivocally that you want to back off from the friendship. Don’t ask her to “come clean” again or leave any room for further discussion. Simply let her know you wish her no ill will but don’t want to speak in person or communicate on social media because it doesn’t feel healthy for you. If you see her socially because you have friends in common, act cordially and never badmouth her to others.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Category: How to break up

Comments (5)

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  1. Lori says:

    Treat her the same way you would want to be treated be kind and think of her feelings also. Blocking g her or not returning calls or texts is cold. If you told her and she didn’t accept tell her in another way or try something different. She was a friend before and she deserves that.

  2. Valerie says:

    Hi I was just posting about dysfunctional friendships. Sometimes they really have run their course. You have outgrown the dysfunction even if she has not. There is no point in holding yourself back from growing as a person who is ready for healthier friendships. Stop responding to her completely. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but if you have made your intentions clear and she is not listening that is not your responsibility. She needs to grow up and you can’t do that for her. Good luck with your future, Valerie

  3. Amy F says:

    Your friend may be suffering from some mental health issues, but that doesn’t mean you need to keep being her friend. In fact, because she’s disregarded the boundaries you’ve set, that’s an indication to me it’s time to move on. Since you say you be made your feelings clear, tell her one more time that you are going to block her on social media and if she tries to call, text or email, you’ll get a new phone number and email address. This may sound harsh, but if you’ve been as clear as you say you have, then you have to block her access. In a way, you’re doing her a favor by preventing her access to you, so she will have to move on.
    Try not to view her in terms of black and white, all bad, because you had many years of good friendship. She’s someone with whom you no longer fit. It takes two people to make a friendship work and yours no longer does. It’s not all her fault, nor yours. If you can think of her as a friend who has problems that interfered with your ability to remain friends, then you won’t see her as a bad person who sees you as an idiot.

  4. Terry says:

    Since you’re in college, you are a busy person with a lot of exciting work and decisions ahead of you. What you don’t need right now (or any time) is dealing with a friend you don’t trust and don’t enjoy spending time with. I agree with all the other advice here. You need to back off or drift away, without drama, and focus on your own life. Spend time building constructive relationships, and let go of anything that leaves you feeling that something is wrong.

    I also agree that it’s best not to over-explain things to this friend. The fact that she “embellishes” or makes up stories makes it sound as though she’s got some deeper issues, and is insecure. It sounds like you’ve made it as clear as possible that you aren’t interested in continuing this friendship — so I would continue to steer clear of her. Avoid drama and confrontation at all costs. If she continue to stalk you, simply repeat that you don’t have time for her friendship now and leave it at that. Don’t answer her calls or texts. If you live on campus in a dorm, talk to your Resident Assistant or a counselor if you feel things are really getting out of hand.

    Focus on your own future and build healthy friendships. Good luck to you!

  5. Lisa says:

    Hi Meredith, This sounds like the friendship has run its course. I would tell your friend the truth and tell her that you need time and if this friendship can be repaired you can try again at a later time. Do not feel you have to answer her repeated attempts to sway you from your decision. Secondly, ask yourself why is she trying so desperately to hold on to this friendship if she is treating you unkindly like she is. You do not owe her anything and you have given her your reasons for wanting to take a break from the friendship. That is all you ned to do. Do not answer her texts, calls, emails, etc. This only drains your energy and staying positive is important. Best of luck to you.

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