5 signs it’s time to break up with your friend & 3 reasons it’s okay to do it

Growing up, it isn’t unusual for two friends to naturally and mutually drift apart. It also isn’t unusual for one side to start pulling away and the other to accept this and let go. However, what may seem less usual is actively breaking up with a friend. Sure, people break up with romantic partners all the time, but to break up with your friend? You message the friend and say, “We need to talk,” or send a long letter explaining why you no longer want to see them? What?

As unusual as this may indeed seem, it does happen–and it’s becoming more and more acknowledged as an acceptable and common thing today. I myself have drifted apart from friends and even “broken up” with them when I decided enough was enough. I know friends who have done this with other friends, as well.

Just like breaking up with a significant other, breaking up with a platonic friend can be tricky. When do you know to pull the plug? Since it seems to be such a drastic move, when does it become necessary? I will talk both about the signs as well as the reasons it is okay to do this, no matter how dramatic you may find the move.

You find yourself drained after spending time with your friend

When you go out for a girls’ night, you go out to relieve stress and to have fun–so at the end of it, sure you may be physically exhausted, but you should be emotionally rejuvenated! Even when you go out for a one-on-one with a friend, you are excited to talk with that person. You should go back home afterwards feeling satisfied. If this is not the case, and you realize that you return home feeling more emotionally drained than recharged every single time you go out with that one friend, then it’s time to reevaluate this relationship.

You find yourself feeling majorly stressed after every single interaction

In the same grain, if you come back feeling not only drained but actually stressed out from this time together, then it is time to end things. This friend could be the nicest, sweetest person you know, but if you two do not jive in the same sense and you are unable to understand their actions or sentiments to the point you actually feel stressed from the interaction, it is time to bid adieu. I once had to “break up” with a friend whom I thought was genuinely a kind person but whose priorities were so different from mine, I would get stressed from hearing her go on and on about topics I really did not care about or find important.

You dread meeting up or even talking

Continuing on, if you literally start feeling miserable and immense dread at the prospect of meeting up with this friend, obviously things are not meant to continue. You should always be excited to see a friend, not think of the meet-up as something you have to “endure.” If you find yourself trudging toward the hangout sesh, making up excuses to cancel, or avoiding making plans with them for as long as possible, just end it. You can try to fall off the map, but if that doesn’t work, breaking up is the right thing to do for both parties.

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You feel a hit in self-esteem

If this friend doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, this is another sign you should break up with them. Whether this friend has an amazing life that is always being shoved into your face or is actively putting you down every single time, this blow after blow in your self-esteem is not good for you. The latter example could be downright abusive. Why stay in any hurtful relationship if you can end it?

You get a sense it’s one-sided

If that friend is all about themselves, this is not even a relationship to begin with. If that person always wants to hear themselves talk, always wants you to just listen to rants or agree with what they are saying, always wants you to help or support them while offering none of that in return, it is time to get off this one-way street. You are being used, my friend!

It is not always personal

As mentioned above, this might not mean you do not like the friend as a person–rather you two are not compatible enough as friends. Yes, even friendships require compatibility and chemistry to a degree! If you two are not on the same page, have different priorities, are at very different places in your life, or more, you should not worry about affronting the friend. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out or is meant to be.

It is better for both parties

A friendship, like all relationships, involve two parties. If one party, like yourself, does not feel like things are working out, it is best not only for that party but also for the second one to end things. The other friend involved also deserves a relationship in which both sides are invested. Two people have to be on the same page–not all the time of course but in the most important ways–in order for there to be a friendship that works.

You come first

This is the most important point. In the end, as hard as it is, you should not feel responsible for other people’s feelings. Yours has to come first. If you are literally drained, stressed, and miserable from this friendship, you should not care as much about hurting someone else’s feelings but about taking care of yourself. Your well-being always comes first. You have to look out for yourself. Never feel guilty about this (totally easier said than done, though, I know). Remember to practice self-love.


Breaking up with a friend is definitely a tricky, complicated procedure. There are many different ways to this. You could try to talk it out, you could write a letter, you could cut off all ties cold turkey, but in the end, if you feel like there are enough signs and you believe it’s the right thing to do, go for it.

Have you ever broken up with a friend before?

Gallantly,

gallantly gal

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11 Comments

  1. eunitato

    April 2, 2018 at 11:20 am

    PREACH! Love everything in this post so much, I was nodding like a bobble head at work lol.

    1. gallantly gal

      April 2, 2018 at 12:15 pm

      Awww haha I can imagine it! Thanks, glad you liked 😀

  2. Roacilynn

    April 2, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    This is why I have like almost no friends anymore 😂

    1. gallantly gal

      April 2, 2018 at 11:28 pm

      OMG Noooo hahaha xD well add me to your friend list ;D

      1. Roacilynn

        April 3, 2018 at 11:40 am

        😆 haha ok!

  3. Nat

    April 3, 2018 at 12:21 am

    I sorta discussed breaking up with a friend with you recently on one of my posts, but I waa really brief about it. I guess I can get into more depth here. To be bluntly honest, yeah, I ghosted a friend back in December because I seriously felt like it was a combination of I didn’t feel he and I were compatible anymore and everytime he asked me to hang out, I would dread seeing him or make up excuses for why I was busy. And not to seem insensitive but he had his own personal issues too. Like one time he shared how he talked about me to his therapist and spoke of how he felt I was avoiding him. I honesty wished he hadn’t even told me that. Sure, share away with your therapist but don’t involve me in it. I started to feel like I was carrying some of his baggage and insecurities. I realize now that it’s possible how much maintenance I prefer to have from a friendship was different from his. Such as, I’m fine with going weeks without talking or messaging a friend. Maybe it was my fault for changing my tune by texting him less frequently and he saw the change as “something is going on with her” when I could have just told him, “hey, I need space and just because I’m not talking to you daily doesn’t mean I don’t still consider you a friend.” But I guess that’s not an option anymore since I ghosted him lol. And by ghost, I seriously mean I literally dropped myself out of his life. I went through all our Facebook interactions and deleted the comments I posted on his posts and vice versa for his posts on mine. I blocked him on FB and on my phone. I didn’t say anything to him and actually did not even open the last message he sent me before I blocked him. He did manage to leave me a voice message but I eventually just deleted it. By the end of it, I did feel bad because this is a person I’ve been friends with for 2 years and I let that friendship go down the drain. At the same time it’s like, well, life goes on.

    Then there is this other girl I got close to because we attended the same meetup hangouts. Her energy exhausted me. She came to NYC with only her husband and she often told me she was desperate for company. But I could also see she wanted to hang out with me all the time perhaps to be close with me. For a while I felt flattered by her attention and maybe even a little selfish about it because I started to depend on her too much to be at the same meetups as me so I wouldn’t be as nervous going in alone. But then it got to the point I thought I wasn’t progressing by trying to meet new people and kept staying with her. We had a falling out that was unrelated to this and the short story is the friendship never fully recovered after that. I spent the summer exchanging pleasantries with her but I often got the sense we talked and then the conversation would tamper off and I wouldn’t know how to restart it. We had similar interests but totally different personalities. I still have her as a friend on FB but I am tempted to just delete her, even though there’s a chance I’ll see her at a future meetup, because we don’t talk anymore.

    Yeah… Long lasting “forever” friendships are hard to keep.

    1. gallantly gal

      April 3, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      Whoa, yeah. Breakups are weirdly messy and awkward for everyone, even when it’s just between friends. The guilt is definitely natural, but I do think this is necessary sometimes. A friendship should make you feel better rather than worse. Even now I still feel guilty about my own breakups, but I don’t regret them, either. There are so much toxicity and burden we can’t control in our lives, so the ones we can, we should try our best to do something about.

  4. Chris

    April 3, 2018 at 10:40 am

    This was pretty accurate, nice write up!

    1. gallantly gal

      April 3, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      Thanks!! 🙂

  5. Claudia

    April 3, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    I totally relate. I do one sided friendship break ups sometimes if it feels toxic and we aren’t very close to begin with.

    1. gallantly gal

      April 3, 2018 at 3:14 pm

      Good for you! Keep cleansing yourself of toxicity where you can 🙂

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