Poll: Have You Ever Broken Up With a Friend?

Today over coffee (because, where else?), a friend of mine mentioned that in recent years, she had become more aware of girlfriends with whom she had one-way relationships — she gave a lot of herself, and got next to nothing in return. As she realized it, she said, she cut some of these “friends” out of her life.

I’ll admit — this is something to which I’ve given a lot of thought. Because I (and, I’m sure, we all) have friends who are more trouble than they’re worth. Maybe they only talk about themselves, maybe they have no compassion, maybe they’re that one girl that likes to slip in backhanded undercutting digs so you don’t even realize you’ve been insulted until you wake up the next morning.

So yes, I can think of a few people off the bat (you…um, likely don’t know who you are) who, if I had the cajones, I’d break up with. So why haven’t I ever done it? Is it just spinelessness? Is it fear of their reaction? Of the fact that once I start realizing my friends’ faults, I might never stop? I mean, sure — I’ve certainly avoided people to the point that it amounted to a break-up, usually after first moving to a different city (I believe they call that “confronting the problem head-on”). But I’ve never clearly and outright told someone that as a friendship, this just wasn’t working out.

What about you?

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    • Rose

      I met a girl at freshman orientation who ended up having an identical class schedule our first semester. We spent way too much time together, and she was my closest friend for over a year. Then she got “born again”, and started sending really over-the-top evangelical emails to me trying to save me from my bisexuality. The last straw came when she sent me an especially critical and judgemental one expressing her concern that I was on the “path to destruction” because I stopped going to church after I was raped. I never communicated with her again, and have absolutely no regrets.

    • Melissa

      Wow I actually just “broke up” with a long-time friend today. It was the first time I’ve ever done something like this. I got sick of giving her my all, only to have her suck the time and energy out of me with her self-centeredness. I thought she’d get the hint when I stopped returning most of her phone calls and being rather distant and evasive. But she kept on calling me! So today I met her at a coffee shop and told her that I didn’t want to be her friend anymore. She started yelling and stormed out. Yuck. I know I hurt her feelings, but I feel like I did the right thing by being honest and direct with her.

    • jen

      i’m all for “breaking up” with friends, especially if they are exhibiting destructive behavior, or are so self-centered they never ask questions about me. my girlfriend, however, does this to an extreme–she will write people off if they’re constantly late, or forget their wallet (once!) when we go out to lunch. there are definitely some things that are manageable, and if you can work it out with your friend through direct and open conversation, i say that’s the way to go. if that friend doesn’t respond, or continues whatever behavior you dislike, that might be when you need to take a step back.

      it hurts sometimes, especially when you think of the good times you had together, but like any romantic relationship, sometimes friendships just don’t work out.

    • Miss Devylish

      I’ve done some spring cleaning in my friendships and have also been on the receiving end of someone else’s as well. At least 2 of those friends were difficult people in my life but had redeeming qualities I enjoyed about them. Plus I worked really hard at those friendships in particular so I was surprised when they both emailed break ups a year apart. I was even in the wedding of one. But that one was a borderline bully at times and surprisingly, she’s the only one I miss once in a while because when she was sweet and kind she was amazing. I’m relieved they did me a favor though because it made room for much more genuine and good friends in my life – and I didn’t realize it til they were gone. Ultimately, they couldn’t accept me for who I was when I’d bent over backwards to try to understand them. I have no regrets. My friends love me for who I am now.. it’s a much better feeling.