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The Art of De-Friending…In REAL Life

The New York Times recently published an article that discusses breaking up with friends (It’s Not Me, It’s You). More than likely, at some point in life you will have a person or two in your circle who you’ve outgrown or simply can’t stand…and you’re going to want to be rid of them.  With the popularity of social media, letting go of friends (online, anyway) is as easy as pressing the delete button. More often than not, there is little fanfare or discussion, so the awkwardness can easily be avoided. But not all friendships can be terminated so nonchalantly.

Friendships end for a multitude of reasons. Maybe you became friends because you both hated your jobs and formed a camaraderie around that, but eventually you started a new gig and could no longer relate to the rants about your ex-boss being an insensitive asshole. Perhaps your thing used to be partying all night until the break of dawn, but now you have a family to concern yourself with and can’t be bothered with yet ANOTHER whining round of “Why don’t we hang out anymore like the old days?” Whatever the case, the question remains: how the hell do I dismiss this person from my life?

I’ve gotten rid of friends, and had friends get rid of me. More often than not, there was no discussion. We simply talked less and less until the communication simply ceased. There was one particular instance where I told off a friend, via text, that I had HAD it with her shenanigans. I didn’t hear from her again until years later when she sent me a friend request on Facebook. By then I had gotten over it and accepted her friend request, but we’ve more or less remained awkward acquaintances from then on.

So is there a civil way (if you care to be civil, that is) to put an end to a friendship? The article gave examples of people taking the passive approach (being less open in conversation, speaking vaguely about plans) which can be viewed as a kinder way of winding down the relationship, because for the most part, people will get the hint. But, sometimes they don’t (still calling/texting, sending wedding invitations) and you have to get blatant with it. “Uh, dude? It’s been real, but uh…this friendship is over. Have a nice life!” (Or something like that.)

What it really boils down to, it’s the end of a relationship that at one point in time was valuable to you.  Keep that in mind in determining the best way to call it quits.

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