When is it time to break up with a friend?

As Neil Sedaka once sang, 'Breaking up is hard to do'.

Friendships are one of the most beautiful and enriching parts of life. But what happens when it becomes strained or unhealthy? Whether there’s differing personalities or you’ve had a falling out, a friendship breakup can sometimes be even harder than a romantic breakup, particularly if you’ve been pals for years.

When it comes to deciding to end a friendship, there are red flags to look out for. Here’s some tell-tale signs that it might be time to say goodbye to a friendship. 

They have betrayed you

No friendship is unscathed by the occasional misstep or rift. In fact, adversities like this can be important to friendships to set boundaries and strengthen your bond. However, if your friend has seriously betrayed you in an unforgivable way – then it’s time to cut ties.

They make you uncomfortable

Another sign that a friendship might need reassessing is if they make you uncomfortable. Whether they’re judging you, belittling you or disrespecting your boundaries, if your friend’s behaviour consistently distresses you, then it’s important to trust your gut.

If you find yourself being the one to put in most of the effort, it might be time for a friendship breakup.

Your friendship is one-sided

Do you feel like you’re the only one doing the heavy lifting in a friendship? Healthy friendships should have a healthy give and take balance. If you find yourself constantly being the one to make plans or initiate the conversations without the same level of effort being returned, it’s not only exhausting, but it’s also a hurtful sign that your friend doesn’t value the friendship.

You feel drained when spending time with them

Another tell-tale sign that a friendship has reached its limit is when you feel drained after you spend time with them. Whether it’s due to negative energy, one-sided conversations or constant tension, feeling exhausted after seeing a friend could be a sign that the friendship dynamic is unbalanced.

They’re possessive over you

Boundaries are important in friendships, as is having autonomy. If a friend is overly possessive and controlling with you, then that is a major red flag. This may come across as emotional manipulation, controlling your decisions and even being jealous of your other friends and relationships.

Toxic friendships can weigh heavily on our mental wellbeing.

You don’t feel good about yourself around them

This goes without saying but friends should uplift you and support you to achieve your best, not make you feel inadequate. If being around a friend makes you feel anxious, insecure or unhappy with yourself, then that friendship may not be positively contributing to your overall well being.

They’re not there for you in your hour of need

One of the most meaningful parts of friendship is being there for each other during the challenges life throws at us. Sometimes, it’s not always possible to be there for our friends and it’s important to have leniency for the things going on in their own lives too. However, if your friend is nowhere to be found during your hour of need and consistently fails to show up for you, that can be a painful realisation that your friendship may need re-evaluation.

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