How to politely stop being friends with someone

Do you feel the need to just end a friendship? Sometimes certain friendships can be extremely toxic to your life.

They end up bringing the worst out of you, or worse, they just add to your problems. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been friends with someone – if they aren’t good for you, there comes a time they should leave your life. This is when you understand that you need to end a friendship for your own good.

Below are signs that you might need to end a friendship:

1. They Keep Repeating Mistakes

People make mistakes, its human nature. No matter who the person is, your feelings will get hurt. And when a friend does hurt you, the best thing to do is explain your feelings to them (once you’ve calmed down and your anger is subdued).

However, if they keep repeating their mistakes, without having any disregard to your feelings, this person is either not sensitive towards your feelings or doesn’t really care how their actions cause other people to react. If the cycle keeps repeating, especially when you have been hanging out with them on a regular basis, then there is a huge problem.

2. Their Unhealthy Lifestyle Affects You

Sometimes certain friendships are built on foundations that are the basis of hobbies, interests, and entertainment. And with time, some of these interests fade out – which isn’t a big problem. However, if the basis of your friendship is partying and dangerous behavior, then that is a big problem.

If you two can commit to achieving a better and healthier lifestyle, then great. But if you are and they are not, it can hold you back on so many levels.

3. They Don’t Care About Your Feelings

Sometimes our close friends know a thing or two about us that no one else does. So there are certain topics that they know and they also know what may prompt us to revisit something very painful. No, it doesn’t mean that your friends should constantly walk on eggshells around you. Still, their sensitivity or lack of it can be deemed as thoughtless.

So, if there is a pattern of the insensitivity of thoughtless jokes, talking incessantly about something that is hurtful – they need to stop.

4. When They Are In a Relationship, They Don’t Spend Time with You

We all understand that when a friend has gone from single to in a relationship, they won’t have that much time to spend with you anymore. And you may feel it even more when you’re single. However, if they just contact you when they are single and don’t know what to do with their weekend nights, it seems a little selfish.

Everyone needs to be able to balance their life and the relationships out maturely. If they are not able to do so, it could be that they don’t take your friendship with them that seriously.

5. They Have No Respect for Your Beliefs

We all have different beliefs, be it political or religious ones. It is something natural that people don’t agree with one another all the time. It’s perfectly fine to have a debatable healthy discussion about our point of views. However, if your friend has no regard for your views and dismisses them as stupid or idiotic, that is being disrespectful and that is not acceptable.

No one has the right to disrespect you nor your intellect just because they don’t see eye-to-eye with you.

6. They Make You Self-Doubt Yourself

When a friend loves you, especially a true one, their love for you is completely unconditional. As life progresses, we all have a habit of making different choices in our life that make us take a different path. This means that our priorities also change.

It is absolutely terrible when a friend makes snide and hurtful remarks about your or someone else’s lifestyle that could be similar to yours. It could an implication that they are judging you. Something like this should be up for discussion, if it continues – then you know what to do.

7. Finally, It’s Time to End a Friendship If You No Longer Create Happy Memories Whenever You Spend Time Together

Sometimes we have some wonderful memories we make with people. Memories filled with happiness, inside jokes, experiences that you may have bonded over and helped you grow as a person. It sometimes gets hard to end a friendship since you put in a great deal of emotional investment over the years.

However, if you are more attached to the memories than the person, maybe it’s time you let go. It will be hurtful to end a friendship initially, and you may even be tempted to let reverse things.

Hopefully, when you look back, you’ll be thankful for the friendship you had with them and thank them for the memories.

This article was co-authored by Katie Styzek. Katie Styzek is a Professional School Counselor for Chicago Public Schools. Katie earned a BS in Elementary Education with a Concentration in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She served as a middle school mathematics, science, and social studies teacher for three years prior to becoming a counselor. She holds a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling from DePaul University and an MA in Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University. Katie holds an Illinois School Counselor Endorsement License (Type 73 Service Personnel), an Illinois Principal License (formerly Type 75), and an Illinois Elementary Education Teaching License (Type 03, K – 9). She is also Nationally Board Certified in School Counseling from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Friends are essential to our lives as social beings—we confide in them, look to them for support when we’re feeling down, and celebrate with them when we experience success. As we grow and evolve over time, our friendships will change, too, but sometimes not in a good way. You may feel your friendship has run its course—maybe you no longer have anything in common, or maybe your friendship has become toxic—and decide it’s time to end the friendship. But how do you do it without drama? This article will help you determine if it’s truly necessary to end the friendship and, if so, how to do it as gently as possible.

This article was co-authored by Katie Styzek. Katie Styzek is a Professional School Counselor for Chicago Public Schools. Katie earned a BS in Elementary Education with a Concentration in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She served as a middle school mathematics, science, and social studies teacher for three years prior to becoming a counselor. She holds a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Counseling from DePaul University and an MA in Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University. Katie holds an Illinois School Counselor Endorsement License (Type 73 Service Personnel), an Illinois Principal License (formerly Type 75), and an Illinois Elementary Education Teaching License (Type 03, K – 9). She is also Nationally Board Certified in School Counseling from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status.

This article has been viewed 155,480 times.

Is there someone you don’t want to be friends with anymore, but you aren’t sure how to do it? When ending a friendship, there’s almost always going to be hurt feelings. However, there’s a nice way to stop being someone’s friend.

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How to politely stop being friends with someone

The development and maintenance of a strong friendship relies on the efforts of both parties. Both members of a friendship share the responsibility of ensuring that the relationship is healthy and happy. To develop a strong, true friendship, you should treat your friends as you expect them to treat you and focus on what they need out of the relationship. Your friend is also responsible for extending the same level of care towards you.

Support

How to politely stop being friends with someone

In a friendship, it is important to be supportive during difficult times and to encourage the pursuit of goals. You should also help your friends with problem-solving and respect their decisions, even if you disagree with them. Good friends are not judgmental and attempt to offer good advice when needed on issues and complicated life events. The presence of these factors in a friendship also helps create an environment where both parties feel comfortable, cared for and appreciated.

Honesty and Trust

The development of honesty and trust in a friendship helps those involved feel comfortable confiding in and communicating with each other. According to Director of Research and Education at the Glendon Association, author and clinical psychologist Dr. Lisa Firestone, mutual honesty between friends helps build a solid relationship and encourages integrity and directness in general life in and outside the friendship. Honesty also leads to trust, which is another important quality. You should be able to trust your friend and expect the same in return.

Listen

How to politely stop being friends with someone

Though it may seem like a simple task, listening is very important in a friendship. Making an effort to listen when your friend is discussing or explaining a topic of interest is a form of respect. It also helps show that you actually want to learn about things that are important to your friend. To show you are listening, you can ask questions, maintain eye contact and provide feedback on the subject during and after a conversation.

Having Fun and Benefits

You should make your friend feel accepted by including him or her in activities that you both enjoy. This is true of friendships at every age; from childhood to late adulthood. Having fun and feeling comfortable are important characteristics of friendships. There are many other benefits that can result from a strong friendship. For example, the MayoClinic notes that friendships boost happiness, reduce stress, improve self worth and encourage healthy habits.

How to politely stop being friends with someone

Your co-worker continually uses the incorrect statistic in a team meeting. The new guy keeps mispronouncing your name. Your supervisor doesn’t have the right understanding of how a certain process should work.

Yep, somebody is misinformed and blanketing the world in inaccurate information. You feel it’s your duty to set things right. But, at the same time, you don’t want to come off as arrogant and condescending.

So, what do you do? Well, good news, my friends. It’s possible for you to correct someone without sounding like a domineering know-it-all. Here’s how!

1. Start With Something Positive

Hey, we all have feelings, and it’s never easy to be told we’re wrong. Plus, you definitely don’t want to be that person who made your co-worker cry in the conference room because you were too blunt with your approach.

So, before jumping right in with something like, “Hey, this is really wrong!” it’s important to cushion the blow a little bit.

Try this: “Hey, Scott! It’s evident that you put a ton of time and effort into this project, and it looks great!”

2. Avoid Sounding Authoritative

Sure, you’re probably great at your job. But, does that mean that you’re the all-knowing deity whose knowledge reigns superior over everyone else’s in the office? No, even you’ve made mistakes.

Being overly authoritative, confrontational, and closed-minded when making a correction will only serve to make you look pretentious and condescending. Instead, point out where you take issue, and then open it up for discussion.

Try this: “I’m looking at page 10 of this document, and something’s not quite matching up for me. Can we take a quick look at this part together?”

3. Utilize Questions When Appropriate

Notice how that above example utilized a question? It helped to take the correction down a couple of notches, from seemingly bossy to friendly and helpful, didn’t it?

That’s just one example of why incorporating questions when correcting someone is so beneficial. Phrasing things as inquiries, rather than statements, makes it obvious that your intention is to facilitate a conversation that ultimately improves the end result—not just dole out strict demands.

Try this: “I see here that you’re planning on involving Team A right from the start. But, do you think bringing them in a little later could help to streamline the process?”

4. Provide Evidence

Alright, so you don’t need to provide detailed documentation to correct someone on the pronunciation of your name, or to stop him from burning down the break room with his incorrect use of the coffeemaker.

But, in most other cases, evidence is helpful for demonstrating that you have logical reasoning behind your correction—and that you’re not just shouting out these remarks to make your co-worker look incompetent.

Try this: “You know, I actually dealt with a situation really similar to this one just a couple of months back. I’d be happy to show you how we were able to work that out.”

5. Offer Help

Listen, this person didn’t intentionally goof this up. And, he or she certainly didn’t set out to make your job harder. Chances are, it was an honest oversight, and he or she’s left feeling embarrassed and a little overwhelmed by what needs to be done in order to remedy things.

So, be that kind and supportive co-worker who offers a helping hand in a time of crisis. It’s your chance to demonstrate that you weren’t trying to be insulting. Plus, you’ll be able to ensure that everything is correct the second time around!

Try this: “Thanks so much for being so open to my feedback. Feel free to let me know if I can help you out at all with these revisions. I’m happy to assist!”

6. Use a Gentle, Helpful Tone

This should go without saying, but your tone and overall presentation can really make or break the difference between constructive and condescending.

Obviously, you don’t want to yell or scream. But, you should also make an effort to stay away from short and snappy sentences, and avoid using defensive body langauge (like crossing your arms). Do you very best to maintain an overall upbeat demeanor. After all, these physical cues can often say a lot more than your actual words.

There’s no doubt that you walk a fine line between productive and patronizing, and that striking that balance in order to effectively correct someone isn’t always so easy. Put these strategies into play, and you’re sure to get your point across in a way that’s helpful and friendly—without needing to worry about a crying co-worker in the conference room.

. and why they ask in the first place.

How to politely stop being friends with someone

Nosy questions. We all face them for different reasons. Perhaps while making small talk with an acquaintance you inadvertently confront a topic you’d rather not discuss. It could be a question as simple as the reason your name doesn’t match that of your partner, children, or parents: “Were you married before?” “What was your family’s name before your father changed it?” Or, the question could pertain to some fact about yourself that you’d prefer to keep to yourself: “Why aren’t you drinking tonight?” You feel it’s no one else’s business.

The questions we consider too personal may not come from strangers. Sometimes friends or coworkers discover something about you they didn’t know before, such as how you took five years to complete high school. The reason might have been something very personal, that you rather no one know. You feel obligated to explain, however, because the questioner seems genuinely interested.

In these situations, people commonly fabricate something that’s not quite true that may satisfy and the conversation continues. This strategy may haunt you later, however, if the facts surface. If your partner remembers it, you’ll have to continue the pretense from then on out.

Or, you may be talking with a person performing a service for you, such as getting your hair styled or going to the dentist. Your service provider may venture into territory that feels overly personal. You’re unable to move away and faced with an onslaught of probing questions, all you can do is squirm or feign sleep.

Generally, psychologists do not study the problem of nosiness. A concept called “nepotistic nosiness,” however, was the topic of a 2007 article published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior by University of British Columbia psychologists Jason Faulkner and Mark Schaller. They addressed how knowing about those we mate with would benefit the species.

Faulkner and Schaller point out that “it is no surprise… that when matters of sex intersect with matters of kinship, people care a lot” (p. 430). According to the principle of “inclusive fitness,” we care (and should care) the most about the people genetically closest to us. It would be appropriate, by this way of thinking, to be nosy about the sex lives of our first-degree kin, because what benefits them benefits us.

Before you regard this as a license to interrogate your siblings, parents, or children about the details of their sex lives, remember that this approach to understanding nosiness is somewhat narrow. You may have an evolutionary right to gain inside information about your relatives, but your nosy questions may not be appreciated. Similarly, these people may have the right to query you, but you may not feel like providing answers.

While there are no empirically-tested prescriptions for how to understand and deal with nosiness, the psychology of communication can help.

Here are 9 ways to handle the unpleasant questions that invade your boundaries:

1. Notice the cues that signal oncoming nosiness.

If you fear the person next to you in a bus, airplane, or waiting room will pry, arrange the situation so that you don’t have to go deeper into conversation. Consider getting something to read or fiddle with your phone. If that fails, politely answer a few questions and shift your attention elsewhere.

2. Tell the truth.

As stated earlier, once you start to lie, you may find yourself inextricably bound to facts that later conversations can’t support. You don’t have to give all the facts, but be honest about what (if anything) you decide to share.

3. Decide what makes the question “nosy.”

The questioner may have no ill will in mind, but is just asking an ordinary question. It may just feel nosy because it relates to something in your life about which you’re sensitive. If so, feeling invaded may help you to understand some of your own personal insecurities and concerns.

4. Keep the notion of “inclusive fitness” in mind.

If the survival of our families is our priority, relatives may ask you questions, not because they care about you, but because they care about themselves. The search for information, perhaps on your ability to have children, may fit into this evolutionary framework and not reflect any of your own shortcomings.

5. Practice a socially acceptable way to respond to common questions.

If you repeatedly get the same question, create an answer to use that helps you avoid anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.

6. Use deflection.

Rather than deception, change the subject. The questioner may not be happy, but if you feel that things are getting too personal, shift the focus. If you’re at a social gathering, find a way to move on to someone else (“I need to refill my plate”) or engage someone nearby in conversation and then discretely move on.

7. State your discomfort.

It may not seem socially acceptable to let someone know you feel invaded but, by making your desires known, you do both of you a favor. Because people may not realize that an “innocent” question is too personal, most will respect your desire for distance and appreciate your honesty in communicating this.

8. Realize that some people are “compulsive communicators.”

Some individuals can’t stop talking. A 2015 paper by Oakland University’s Robert Sidelinger and Angelo State’s Derek Bolen described how some students can’t stop talking in class, and some instructors don’t know when to give those students a chance to participate. Some hairstylists and dental assistants repeatedly question their clients or patients because they don’t know another way to interact. You need not be forced to listen to their chatter if it becomes burdensome. Through nonverbal cues, let them know you prefer a little peace and quiet.

9. Don’t be too nosy yourself.

We more often recognize other’s failings than our own similar ones. Perhaps your conversation partner is reciprocating the cues you provide through your own questions. Stop and consider whether you inquired a bit too much in the past. If so, reduce it on your end to help maintain conversational boundaries.

Faulkner, J., & Schaller, M. (2007). Nepotistic nosiness: Inclusive fitness and vigilance of kin members’ romantic relationships. Evolution and Human Behavior, 28(6), 430-438. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2007.06.001

Sidelinger, R. J., & Bolen, D. M. (2015). Compulsive communication in the classroom: Is the talkaholic teacher a misbehaving instructor?. Western Journal of Communication, 79(2), 174-196. doi:10.1080/10570314.2014.943416

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How to politely stop being friends with someone

A nagging spouse, family member or friend can be profoundly annoying. As your patience wears thin, what could have been a minor discussion can become a huge fight due to your frustration with being nagged. In addition, as you probably know, the more someone nags you to do something, the less motivated you are to do it. If you’d like to stop the nagging and develop more effective ways to communicate, a calm, honest discussion can often solve the problem.

Change your perspective. Consider why the other person is nagging. While nagging is profoundly annoying, the nagger may be motivated by how much she cares for you, as in the case of a mother who anxiously reminds her college-age child to call her every night. Examine your own actions — when your spouse is talking to you, do you have a tendency to keep your eyes rooted on the TV while he’s speaking? He may be nagging because he thinks you aren’t paying attention.

Initiate a conversation at a time when the nagging is not taking place. If your partner is nagging you to take out the trash, telling her at the moment to stop nagging will likely make her defensive and less likely to listen. Instead, wait for a time when she’s relaxed and in a neutral mood.

Focus on positive actions. Emphasize to the nagger that you appreciate his concern for you, and that if he would like you to do something, you would like him to tell you twice at most. Telling the other person that you appreciate him will help keep him from getting defensive, and focusing on what to do in the future will let you avoid recriminations over past arguments. In return, promise that you will truly listen and follow through when your spouse, friend or parent asks you to do something.

If the nagging is about something less concrete, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, tell the nagger that you are aware of the problem, and inform him of two concrete steps you are taking to address the problem (such going to the gym three times a week and avoiding sodas). Explain that you are doing the best you can, and while you appreciate the concern and support, you would prefer to be reminded less frequently of the change the nagger would like you to make.

How to politely stop being friends with someone

“I’ve been giving it some thought,” I said in a team meeting at one of my previous full-time jobs, “And I really think the partner listings on our website would function better if we…”

“Let me jump in,” interjected one of my co-workers, before I was even able to finish my thought and put my idea out on the table. She proceeded to charge forward with her suggestion, as I sat stunned and slack-jawed at the other end of the conference room table.

Sound familiar to you? We’ve all dealt with those people who continuously chime in with their two cents, with very little (ahem, zero) regard for the fact that you were literally just in the middle of a sentence. It’s rude, frustrating, and ultimately pretty counterproductive.

So, you find yourself left with a bit of a quandary—what’s the best way to react when you’re suddenly interrupted? You can’t just jump right back in and cut off that person, or you’d find yourself in this vicious circle of constant conversational disruptions. But, at the same time, you don’t want to let this person continue to get away with steamrolling you.

Effectively dealing when someone keeps interrupting you can be a bit of a slippery slope. And, as with most things, the best way to handle it can vary based on the individual situation. But, these five tips should at least help you cope with that chronic interrupter. And, no, they don’t involve screaming in frustration—although, that’s a surefire way to get someone to stop talking.

1. Let it Go

Sometimes, the best thing you can do when faced with an interruption is nothing at all. As crazy (and infuriating) as it sounds, your best course of action might be to just take a deep breath and let it go—particularly if it happens just once or very infrequently.

We all communicate differently. And, there are those people out there who jump in simply because they’re incredibly engaged in and excited about what you’re saying and want to show that they’re actively involved in the conversation. Or, perhaps their interruption is something that actually should come up right then and there—such as a correction to a fact you keep stating or an idea that’s really solid and beneficial.

Yes, interruptions can be frustrating. But, the point here is that not all of them are worthy of addressing (or worse, you flying off the handle).

2. Set Expectations Immediately

Whether you’re speaking up in a team meeting or you’re conducting a presentation, it’s important to you that you’re able to get all of your thoughts and ideas out there before opening the floor to questions and contributions. Nobody can blame you there! However, it’s up to you to make this clear to everybody—particularly if that co-worker who’s famous for constantly interjecting is sitting in.

How can you start things off on the right foot? Kick off your spiel with something simple and straightforward like, “Some of these ideas are a little half-baked, and I’m definitely looking forward to your thoughts on these! But, I think our discussion will be much more productive if I can get my thoughts out there first, and then we can open things up for questions and suggestions.”

This sets the tone right from the get-go that you’re aiming to share your ideas free of interruptions. It’s not that you’re closed off to any improvements—you just want to make sure you’re able to speak your mind without constantly being derailed.

This also makes it easy to halt an interrupter in his tracks. When he starts to speak up with his unwelcomed disruptions, you can simply remind him of the request you made in the beginning.

3. Just Keep Going

Unfortunately, there are those people out there who will completely disregard your wishes and continue to chime in and cut you off. You could blow a foghorn every single time they opted to interrupt you and it wouldn’t make a difference—they’d just keep going on and on.

So, why not use that same tactic? Refuse to pause for interruptions, and instead continue moving forward with your intended spiel. If needed, you can even pause for a second to address the interrupter and say, “one moment,” and then finish off your thought.

Yes, it might seem a tad bit juvenile—and likely a little more forceful than you’d naturally like to be. But, sometimes you can only fight fire with fire. And, at least you’re guaranteed to get your whole idea out there without constant interference.

4. Ask Questions

As I mentioned previously, interruptions aren’t all bad. In fact, some of them can actually be pretty valuable contributions to the conversation.

So, when one of your co-workers jumps in with her two cents, asking probing questions can be a great way to address the issue without direct confrontation or aggression—and even allow you to get some beneficial ideas and added value out of the exchange.

Ask her to expand on her ideas or explain why she disagrees with a certain point you’re making. You’ll get to broaden your viewpoint—and, who knows, you might pick up on something worthwhile. But, the best part? Humoring that notorious interrupter—even for just a moment—will likely quiet her down for the time-being so that you can continue on with the rest of your proposal. You can hope, at least.

5. Address it Head-on

There are those points when you realize that no amount of strategy or clever communication tactics are going to shut this person up. Instead, you just need to grab the bull by the horns and let him know he needs to wait his turn.

Unfortunately, this isn’t something you can sugarcoat. You’ll need to be firm and direct to get your point across. But, just because you need to be blunt doesn’t mean you can’t be polite.

So, the next time that pesky interrupter jumps right in when you’re in the middle of the sentence, try retorting with, “John, I value your suggestions. But, could you let me finish my thoughts and then we’ll have an open conversation about them? Thank you.”

It’s straightforward—but a little less straightforward than something like, “John, shut up and let me talk!”

Dealing with someone who keeps cutting you off mid-sentence is never easy. But, you deserve the opportunity to get your thoughts and ideas out there without constantly being disrupted and derailed. Use these five tips the next time someone jumps in at an inopportune time, and you’re sure to make it through your entire spiel—without sounding like a broken record.