10 Signs It's Time To Break Up With A Friend

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I’ve had a lot of friends in my life. Some friendships were for a season, some have lasted for decades. I don’t know the precise recipe for creating a lifelong friendship, but I know it’s important to figure out when the dynamic is DOA. If you hang on to a friendship for too long you can experience a bitter break-up, not unlike a romantic love gone wrongHere are some ways I can tell it’s time to call it quits with a platonic friend.

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1.  Hanging out with them makes you anxious

Spending time with your friend should fill you with good feelings, not dread. Any time I have to talk myself into hanging out with someone, I know it’s time to interrogate myself on why I’m still holding on. Likewise, if I’m dodging their calls, my gut is telling me something.

2. There's only room for one of you in this friendship

I once had a long-distance friend who spent 90% of our phone conversations going on and on about her romantic flavor of the month. I was having a bit of a hard time after moving out of state and she couldn’t have cared less. I don’t need everything to be about me, but there has to be some room for me in the friendship. If you express the need to take back some of the friendship real estate and they don’t get it, the friendship might be doomed. 

3. You don't have anything nice to say about your friend

In college, I was pondering cutting a friend lose, and a mutual friend said: “Well, you haven’t had anything nice to say about her in like a year.” It was a tough pill to swallow at the time, but she was right. I wasn’t doing either of us any favors to keep up the charade of friendship when the truth is, I just didn’t like this person anymore.

4. You don't like who you are around them

I had a roommate who was a self-proclaimed jerk. In retrospect, her proclamation that “When I think about it, all the people who really ‘get me’ are a**holes” should have been a giant red flag. I didn’t like who I was around her. If you’re picking up bad habits, maybe it’s time to slowly back away and take some time to re-evaluate your friendship.

5. They constantly pick fights over nothing

I used to be a part of a book club, the leader of which was prone to kicking people out over seemingly minor grievances. She also laid into her best friend who happened to be opening a restaurant in Los Angeles because the friend wasn’t paying her enough attention. I’m pretty sure opening a business takes up about 110% of your time, yet this woman couldn’t cut her friend any slack. I left this friendship before I was the target of her ire over a petty infraction because it was inevitable.

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6. They’re an energy vampire

Do you need to take a nap after your coffee date? I’ve been there. Some people are emotional vampires, sucking your empathy and energy dry until you are blurry eyed and exhausted. It’s probably not worth it.

7. You became friends too fast

Sometimes we just rush into friendships and then realize the person isn’t who we thought they were. I’ve ghosted people who dropped a bomb, like giving a thumbs up to racist Facebook posts, a few months in. No, thank you.

8. Hanging out with them feels like standing in quicksand

Sometimes we just get sick of getting sucked into someone’s endless problems. I want to be there for my friends in their times of trial. You want to be there for your friends in their times of trial. But when they’re going on year three of fighting with their ex and sucking you into the drama, it’s at least time to go on a Rachel and Ross style break.

9. They’re possessive or jealous of you

Oh, what’s that? You’re in trouble because you went to a movie with someone and they didn’t get an invite? You’re not in junior high. I don’t tolerate someone being the arbiter of my social calendar, and you shouldn’t either. It’s not a healthy dynamic.

10. You wouldn't do it all over again if you could

Most of all, I ask myself if I would choose the friendship again. The bottom line is that having history isn’t enough to sustain a friendship moving forward. If you can’t imagine running into the person at a party and thinking “S/he’s incredible, I want to hang out with them again,” what are you doing? Sometimes we have to take inventory of your current relationships and decide if they still serve us.

Friendships aren’t always smooth sailing. Every sign of rapids doesn’t mean the friendship needs to end; plenty of rocking boats can be righted again. But we have to make sure we get out before we go overboard.

Written by: Lara Vukelich

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