The awkwardness out of breaking up with a friend

I don’t know about you, but I take my friendships extremely seriously. In order to even be considered as a friend, I must trust that person unconditionally. Trust takes a long time to cultivate, and in my case, a very long time.  I have been burned before. I think we all have, right? That’s how we learn to define trust and create boundaries around it. So being burned can actually be beneficial.


 We formulate our relationships around how we define trust. The simple definition found on is: reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, or surety of a person or thing; having confidence.  This simple definition isn’t really simple at all. When we break it down, trust indicates a reliance on another person or object. It’s no wonder things get complicated.


 Let’s take the word integrity. My definition of integrity vs. your definition of integrity can look very different. Since integrity is based upon moral principles, there is a lot of grey area in its respective definition. Each of us were raised under different circumstances, filled with many relationships. These relationships created models in which we individually formulated our perceptions around right from wrong, good from bad. We later brought these interpretations into our future relationships based on our perceptions. As a result, we often times misjudge people and situations, yet we are not aware of it. We believe that we are “right” and the other person is “wrong”. The grey area is where we should keep our focus. We need to get curious about this grey area. This is where our differences lie and more importantly where connection can be cultivated.


Here are some questions to ask yourself about the Grey Area

1.      How true are my assumptions and what judgements am I making?

2.      What makes me “believe” ____________to be true?

3.      Where in my past do I recognize similar behavior or situations? Have I been surprised in the past? If so when. Why?

4.      Have I taken into consideration the other person’s viewpoint? What past relationships are they basing their definitions on?

5.      Am I listening and remaining open to other possibilities?


Once you begin to explore a relationship or situation from this vantage point, you can then decide whether or not to put your energy into nurturing it, or not. You have the choice to either accept the friendship and continue to work on finding “common ground” or break up and go your separate ways. This latter is where things get awkward.


You know it’s time to break up with your friend when….


You’ve had it! You have given the relationship your all, and tried to understand the behavior of the other person, but it’s not working. Here are some things you may have noticed.

1.     They are self-interested and egotistical…and never show concern for you or your interests.

2.     You feel that you are always the one making the effort. No matter how many times you let them know that they are not putting the same energy into the relationship as you are.  They just don’t seem to get it and their behavior doesn’t change!

3.     They have broken your confidence and/or betrayed your trust

4.     They don’t have your best interest at heart and haven’t gone to bat for you

5.     You stop calling them and they don’t seem to notice, they are inattentive.


 Here’s some tips on how to Break up with your friend

1.      Ease into the break up, give them some chances to show you how much they care and when they do not respond, there is no need for you to respond, let it go stay away from arguments and confrontations!

2.      Create conversation about your concerns with the friendship, such as, “I really would appreciate it if …….” Or “I like it when we used to……”  but be open to listen to their response, don’t jump to judgement. It could be a simple case of awareness. If they get stuck in defense mode…move on.

3.      Never bad mouth your friend, they came into your life for a reason and they had a purpose, and most likely they provided you with a lesson you needed to learn

4.      Support one another in your future friendship choices, don’t get jealous

5.      Let time lapse, time heals all wounds


One of the hardest things to do in life is walking away from someone, until you realize...

no matter how slow you walk, they will never come running after you


You don’t want to run after someone who has walked away from you.


Megan Murphy, CPC, ELI-MP