How to end a friendship in a healthy way

24 October, 2023 / words by Cloe Vaz-Wiggins

Recognising that some relationships in your life are not an addition, has to be one of the most emotionally interesting and challenging things we go through as human beings that relate and form bonds with one another. Whether you’re someone that actively pays attention and cares about the quality of your relationships, or someone that tries to ignore signs or feelings that indicate that something is not right, reaching that conclusion and admitting that some people you once considered friends are actually not, can be painful.

Realising that those relationships will have to end for your own wellbeing can be sad, confusing, frustrating and so many other feelings and emotions that leave us wondering and questioning many things. Maybe we blame ourselves or we blame the other person, in either scenario, it never feels good, no matter what our coping mechanisms try to tell us.


Before you take any steps towards ending a friendship, it’s crucial to engage in self-reflection. Ask yourself why you want to end the friendship. Are there unresolved conflicts, values misalignments, or changing life circumstances that make the relationship unsustainable? Understanding your motivations will help you approach the situation with empathy and self-awareness.

Communicate Openly

Effective communication is key in any relationship, including when it comes to ending a friendship. It’s essential to communicate openly and honestly with your friend. Find a time and place where you can have a private and respectful conversation. Use “I” statements to express your feelings and reasons for wanting to end the friendship. Avoid blaming or attacking your friend, as this will only make the situation more painful for both of you.

Active Listening

While it’s essential to express your feelings, it’s equally important to be an active listener. Give your friend the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings as well. They may have insights or concerns that you hadn’t considered. Listening actively demonstrates your respect for the relationship you once had.

Set Boundaries

If the friendship is ending due to toxic or unhealthy behaviour, it’s crucial to set clear boundaries. Let your friend know what behaviours or actions were problematic and express your need for healthier boundaries. In some cases, this may even lead to the possibility of a future reconciliation if both parties are willing to work on personal growth and change.

Seek Closure

Ending a friendship doesn’t have to mean burning bridges. Seek closure by acknowledging the positive aspects of the relationship and the good times you shared. This can help both you and your friend find a sense of resolution and acceptance.


Ending a friendship can be emotionally draining. Focus on self-care during this period. Surround yourself with other supportive friends and engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Self-care is essential for your emotional well-being and self-development.

Reflect on Lessons Learned

Every experience, including the end of a friendship, can be a valuable lesson in your personal growth journey. Take time to reflect on what you’ve learned from the relationship and the ending of it. This self-reflection can help you grow and make better choices in future friendships.

Embrace Change

Change is an inevitable part of life. While ending a friendship can be difficult, it’s also an opportunity for personal growth and self-development. Embrace the changes that come with it and use the experience to build resilience and adaptability.

If you need it, Seek Professional Help

In some cases, ending a friendship can be emotionally traumatic, especially if the relationship was particularly close or if it involved complex issues. If you find it challenging to cope, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counsellor. They can provide guidance and support as you navigate the emotional aftermath.

Remember that ending a friendship is not a failure but a necessary step toward personal well-being and growth, ending what doesn’t add to your life or lift you higher, it’s you choosing yourself. It’s you saying, I deserve more.


Cloe Vaz-Wiggins


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