Losing a friend is never easy. You two may have been the best of pals that once did everything together. From late night phone calls, regular dinner plans once a week, to afternoons filled with ice cream at the beach, those memories will last you a lifetime. It can be hard to want to let friendships that use to be amazing go. For most, it can feel like breaking up with a significant other.

There are many reasons why you may want to dump a friend. Maybe they have begun to tear you down and hurt your feelings, turning it into a toxic relationship. Being at different stages in your lives, moving to new places, or simply growing apart are all reasons why you might need it to end. But it’s easier said than done. Letting go of anyone you care about is hard, and may take some trial and error.

You can break up with your friend in a mature and respectable way, without leaving yourself feeling guilty. You deserve to surround yourself with people that appreciate you and build you up. It’s okay to kick the friends that don’t out. Here are some tips to help.

Convince Yourself it’s For the Best

You might be struggling to convince yourself 100 percent that you are making the right choice. If you have a feeling that your pal no longer has a use in your life, ask yourself these questions: “Can I trust them? Are they committed to our friendship? Do they care and respect me? Do we bring out the best in each other? Am I able to give the time that is necessary to keep the friendship going?” Realizing that you answer “no” to any of these questions will help you feel more secure in your decision to let them go. You do not need to keep someone around just because they have been in your life for a long time, especially if the person doesn’t contribute to your life other than negativity. Not all friendships are supposed to last forever.

Have “The Talk”

Having a one-on-one conversation with your friend is a mature and grownup move. It’s necessary if you want to close the final chapter on your friendship, weather good or bad it will give you both a sense of closure. It’s mature to let them know that you do not want to be their friend any longer, rather than hide and dodge anytime they call you.

Be open about how you feel, and address the good and bad about the friendship. If they were someone who was toxic, you are in your right to tell them why they hurt you and why the things they did were wrong. If it is someone you simply have grown apart from, let them know that they were a good friend but times have just changed. If you choose, give specific reasons and insights into how you are feeling. Honestly is always the best policy here, and do not feel the need to say things just to make them feel better. Know that they may react negatively, but it’s important to understand the shock they may feel in the situation.

Don’t Be Argumentative

When you decide to have a direct conversation with your friend about how you feel, note that this is not an open-forum for communication. Instead, this should be you telling your friend the situation and then leaving. Make a promise to yourself that you will avoid arguments and pleads to “fix” things. Stay firm in your choice and state your boundaries. No matter what, it’s important to be kind in the situation. Be the bigger person, so that you feel good about yourself when you leave the conversation.

Create Boundaries

It’s important that boundaries are created after you breakup with a friend, and if necessary leading up to the end. After you have spoken to them about ending the friendship, they need to respect your decision by letting you be. Put on the table exactly what you expect from them moving forward. If you want to have zero contact with them, then make sure to be specific and direct about it. So if they begin to contact you via phone, social media, or the like, you can block and remove them without feeling stressed. They need to understand that their behavior is not acceptable and will only make things difficult.

In addition, there might be tension if you both have the same friend group. Keeping the larger group in the loop, without bashing on the other person, will help to minimize the awkwardness. Try to lesson potential fallout by discussing with the friend group that you do not expect them to have to choose sides, but ask them to respect your choice to not be around the person any longer.

Friendship breakups are just as painful as romantic ones, so be gentle towards yourself afterwards. While it might be hard for you to do, breaking up with a friend who isn’t lifting you up in life is going to be for the best. Do what is right for you and your future by cutting them out. Using these tips, you will be able to do so in a respectful and mature manor that will leave you feeling free of guilt and ready to move forward.

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