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How do you end a friendship with someone you have been friends with for years?


How do you end a friendship with someone you have been friends with for years?—Rebecca

Tiffany Answers:

Rebecca, some people think that romantic relationships are the Rolls-Royces in the relationship category—that they provide the most fulfillment and satisfaction, and that without them your life has a void. However, some of the best friendships are those taken-for-granted gems that really help keep us grounded and keep us smiling. Because of this, “breaking up” with a good friend can often be more traumatic than breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Not to second-guess your decision, but I do strongly advise you to take some time to evaluate why you want this friendship to end. Good friendships are not easy to come by, and if you truly have a good friendship, then it may be worth salvaging. All relationships can be gauged by a few factors. Does you friendship produce good fruits in you? Does it help you to draw closer to Jesus Christ? Is your friend a trusted adviser, someone you can rely on? Do you feel safe confiding in this person?

Think carefully: Are you making this decision while you’re angry, but will quite likely regret it later?  Prayerfully consider how you could restore your friendship if it is broken.

On the other hand, if your friend is a bad influence, pressuring you into things that you know you shouldn’t do or exposing you to things that you are trying to stay away from, then that’s another matter.  Is this person a negative voice in your life, someone you cannot trust and who is not allowing you to grow into a better person? If so, then it may be time to call it quits.

If you decide to end your friendship, do it respectfully and kindly. Arrange to meet with them to break the news. Nothing is harder for a person to hear from someone else than that you are no longer his/her friend. Speaking directly—not texting or tweeting directly—allows you both to have closure.

If you find it hard to end the relationship alone, have a trusted adult or friend whom you both respect sit down with you. Tell the person that, while you wish the best for them, you think it’s better to part ways. If you are comfortable about sharing your reasons, tell them why. The person may argue, get defensive, or call you names, but stay calm. If you’ve come to the conclusion that this is the best decision, then no need to allow someone to shake you from your resolve. You can continue to pray for that person (you can even tell them that, if you want), but stick to your guns. If you had the conversation one on one, then make sure to have another person be your emotional backup later. Have other support systems: parents, siblings, cousins, friends, pastor, teacher . . . you get the point.

The best advice I can give in closing is also the most important of all: Place your situation before God in prayer and ask Him for direction. We often neglect it, but God is the best friend we could ever have, and He yearns to help us.

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