• Handling Breakups

Reader Wisdom: The best way to end a friendship

Published: May 10, 2015 | Last Updated: May 10, 2015 By | 4 Replies Continue Reading

Readers weigh in on the best way to end a friendship: The Slow Fade or The Talk

You have already decided that you want to end a friendship but you’re worried that the person you’re breaking up may become volatile or seek retribution.

You’re concerned that she may “act out” aggressively or damage your reputation with mutual friends or co-workers.

Should you slowly fade away, seeing the person less and less, or speak with her directly telling her why you’re ending the friendship?

Readers shared their own experiences and advice in response to a poster. You can join in or follow the lively discussion here: How can I break up with a disturbed friend?

What are the factors you would consider in choosing one approach or another?

Previously on The Friendship Blog:

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Comments (4)

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  1. Melissa says:

    I enjoy reading these posts and have benefitted from hearing the experiences of others.
    I too have phased out friends and recently a former long time friend tried to do this with me. I say “tried” because I felt her pulling away and I decided to find out her side of the story. I will allow myself to be vulnerable.
    It was very painful to hear what she had to say. She was my piano teacher for 12 years and we had been through a lot of good times together, but there wasn’t a mutuality or reciprocity in the friendship. This started to show more and I grew increasingly frustrated and wondered if I did something wrong. In my case, I needed to know how she felt so that I could find out in therapy what caused the breakup and what I could do going forward.
    Having gone through the phasing out process has helped me to see there is pain involved in this too. There are instances where it is necessary, but it is a case by case basis.

  2. Lauren says:

    I agree with Taja and Lottie on doing the “phase out” method. It is really by far the best practical way. I have been phased out and I have phased out, and no great harm done. If and when I see them again at a social function or at the mall etc., we can still say Hi , how are you?..chit chat and then move on gracefully.

    I once had “the talk” with a troublesome (very troublesome) friend, met her as arranged in a cafe and gently told her that I was getting out of the friendship. I had previously read a magazine article by an “expert” who said the talk was the ONLY fair way to end a friendship…thus giving the other one “closure. Well, my talk went over like a lead balloon. She became quite scary, shouting and yelling at me etc. I took off, and decided NEVER to use that method again.

    The phase out is really the best way for both parties. It is much more civilized and much less embarrassing. As Tanja and Lottie also mentioned, it leaves the door open for the future, and it makes it so much better when we bump into each other at the mall, on the street, at functions, etc. Best way, by far.

  3. lottie says:

    Tanja I agree with you. Arguments for me leave a nasty taste and never really go away. When I was a child fallouts with friends happened and that was it until we made up. Now older, I don’t need the stress or upset of the discussion of you said I said. I can’t be bothered.So I just back off. I think it is always good to leave the door unlocked so that an old friend can always make up. If you have a stonking great row,it so much harder to get back together. Someone did a silent fallout with me 18 months ,which did upset me. Only today she waved at me smiling as I was driving home. I learnt yesterday that she has to have an operation and I know now that I will offer her help. Had we had a serious verbal then no I don’t think I would call on her. Lottie

  4. tanja says:

    Phase out method. Think back to that episode of “friends” and how they tried to phase out a friend. I always think that is the best way. I have had friends phase me out and I have phased them out and no harm done or lost. But, if you end it by talking then you could end up with hurt feelings and a lot of confusion between both parties and there will be no chance for reconciliation later on. Feelings are already out there. But, if you just “get busy” then at least if you meet on the street or so, you can say he and catch up and make the regular excuses that life got busy but how the hell are you. But, if it is in your face break up, then you just created yourself an enemy and you will just become someone that you used to know and you will forever be that stranger/enemy that you walk by on the street. It is uncomfortable.

    So, there you go, just get “busy” then see what the future holds and it may not be “the end”.

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