How to Tell When It is Time to End a Friendship

sad women with thumbs down

People are like elevators.  Some lift you up. Some take you down.  And, some keep you trapped in a little box, unable to move at all.

When you consider that the people you surround yourself with influence how you feel and live your life, there are times when it makes sense to hit the emergency button and get off the elevator.  This doesn’t mean that you become reactive and ruthlessly start cutting people out of your life.  We all have ups and downs and no one is perfect

So, how do you know when it’s really time to let someone go?  Start by asking yourself these questions: 

  • Is there a long term pattern of negative behavior or worldview, or is this person going through a challenging time that is temporary?
  • Is your perception of this person or their behavior even true or could it be seen differently?
  • Are you contributing to the situation by jumping in to the negativity with them?  If so, what might happen if you shifted your behavior?
  • Are they a part of a group or family that you value and want to stay connected to?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how much is their negativity impacting you?

Once you have a deeper understanding of the situation, listen within.  What is your heart telling you?   The answers will be there.

And then, your choices become more clear:

  • Keep things as they are
  • Limit your exposure to their energy
  • Have a powerful conversation asking for change
  • Shift your behavior to see what happens
  • Visualize being protected by a white light when you are around them
  • Bless them and move on

Only you can decide whether to stay on their elevator or get off.  Whatever you choose, I encourage you to let your actions and communication be guided by compassion and love for all concerned (including yourself).   This will provide the best possible foundation for an outcome that serves everyone in the long run.

14 thoughts on “How to Tell When It is Time to End a Friendship

  1. Rambo Ruiz says:

    Great tips Linda. If I may add. Ask yourself: Do I enjoy being with this person? Make sure to be honest with yourself. Do you truthfully enjoy spending time with this person? If you don’t, that’s a sign that the friendship might not be great.

    • Linda Luke says:

      Congratulations on following your intuition about people and relationships. I seem to do well at that now, but kept some not so good people around in my past for way too long.

  2. Chelsea says:

    Hi Linda-
    First of all, thanks so much for your thoughtful comment on my post about living a fulfilling life. I do feel that we are very alike and blog about similar topics. This particular post of yours really struck a chord with me. I have a friend that I am always feeling “on and off” about. I know she is not the best choice for a friend, but I’ve been friends with her for nearly 15 years so it’s hard to “cut” the friendship. I do care about her but she is a pretty selfish and “fake” person. I actually went separate ways from her 6 months ago and reconciled things this past weekend because I couldn’t stand the awkward tension. I just can’t stand conflict. I could relate to your point about the negativity..there was definitely a lot of that going on.
    Great post.. Sharing.

    • Linda Luke says:

      It is possible to choose to keep her in your life and protect yourself from her energy. One of my clients imagines a protective bubble around her and then brushes off or washes off the energy when she leaves. The tricky part is to be able to just be with them without resisting or polarizing against them. What we focus on grows and resistance is a form of focus. I wish you the best in navigating this relationship with your friend in a healthy way.

  3. Bethany says:

    Beautifully written and a great message. Sometimes it’s really hard to know when and how to cut people out or distance yourself from them. Thanks for posting!

  4. Nadya says:

    What a lovely way to look at this issue, Linda. I really the options you suggest for navigating these waters. Like Linda, I have a friend of about 15 years whom I sometimes enjoy, and at others don’t! Limiting contact and reinforcing my boundary bubble appeal most. I tend not to use clear white light, as it can keep things static, … lavender and iridescent white or a shimmer of gold are my go to.
    Thank you

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