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9 Signs That It’s Time to End a Friendship

8. They only show up when they need you, not vice versa.

Key points

  • A friendship with a lot of ups and downs can negatively impact your stress level and health.
  • Signs that a friendship should end include no longer having much in common or feeling drained by seeing them.
  • Other signs may include competitiveness, harsh judgment, and a lack of respect for boundaries.

It’s no secret that the quality of your friendships has an impact on your well-being. Research has shown that the quality of your friendships can influence your level of stress, physical health, and the way in which you cope. A good friendship can have positive effects on your well-being and your health, whereas a friendship with a lot of ups and downs can negatively impact your stress level and health.

If you have been friends with someone for a long time, you may feel obligated to continue to maintain the friendship despite a growing discomfort or knowledge that you no longer feel aligned with this friend. What can make ending a friendship even more complicated is that there is no protocol for ending a friendship. Unlike a romantic relationship, a friendship breakup is something you never think will happen to you until it does. If you’re uncertain about ending a friendship, consider whether you have noticed any of these signs:

1. Your core values differ and it’s noticeable enough that you have grown apart and don’t feel that you have much in common anymore. It’s natural that over time your life may move in a different direction than your friend’s life. Some friendships survive these changes and others end up growing apart. If you begin to notice that your core values differ and you don’t have anything in common with your friend anymore, it may be time to reflect on the role this friendship has in your life.

2. You are the only one making an effort to maintain the friendship. It takes two people to maintain a friendship. There needs to be reciprocation in order for a friendship to survive. Otherwise, the friendship starts to feel imbalanced and the person putting in energy and effort to maintain the friendship can start to feel resentful over time.

3. You typically feel drained after spending time with them. If you notice that you frequently feel drained after spending time with your friend, this a sign to take some time to reflect on what specifically is causing you to feel drained when you’re around them.

4. When you ask yourself why you’re maintaining this friendship, you can’t come up with a reason why. If you’re reflecting on the role a friendship has in your life and you’re having difficulty coming up with a reason why you’re maintaining it, this is usually a sign that you’re feeling disconnected from this friend or obligated to spend time with them.

5. They don’t respect your boundaries. Pay attention to what happens when you express a boundary or preference with a friend. Do they try to convince you otherwise or disregard your boundary? Some examples of boundary-pushing that can occur in friendships are: your friend expecting to be invited everywhere you go, your friend becoming jealous of you spending time with other friends, or your friend trying to convince you to drink or stay out later when you already expressed that you don’t want to.

6. You have started hiding things from them due to fear of judgment. When you start hiding things from your friend due to fear that they will judge you harshly, this is often a sign that the dynamic in your friendship has shifted and you no longer feel emotionally safe.

Friends that care for you may give you tough love and express concern about some of the decisions you make, but there is a difference between expressing concern and being judgmental or shaming towards someone. If you’re frequently feeling judged by your friend and nothing has changed despite expressing how you feel, it may be time to consider whether this friendship is sustainable.

7. You don’t feel good about yourself in their presence. In a healthy friendship, you should be able to be your authentic self. If you don’t feel like your friend accepts you and you can’t be yourself around them or if you continuously walk away from your interactions feeling poorly about yourself, it’s time to consider what is happening in the friendship dynamic that is having such an impact on how you feel about yourself.

8. They’re a fair-weather friend. Is your friend only available when they need you? It’s easy to be a good friend when things are great, but you often realize who your true friends are when things go wrong. Consider whether your friend checks in with you and provides support when they know you’re going through a tough time or if they only call you when they are struggling and need something from you.

9. You often feel that the friendship is competitive. If you feel that your friend is often trying to one-up you, gives you backhanded compliments, or has difficulty celebrating your success, your guard will likely be up and as a result, it will be difficult to trust them, which can cause a strain in the relationship over time.

Disagreements occur in a healthy friendship; however, in an unhealthy friendship, the disagreements may feel volatile, which can have a significant impact on your stress level and ability to trust the other person. The important part to pay attention to is whether disagreements are handled with honest and respectful communication.

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. This post is not intended to be a substitute for professional or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition or well-being.

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