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How to Gracefully Get Out of a Bad Friendship

by Karen Kleinschmidt

Ending a friendship isn't something most people have on their bucket lists, but in some cases it can't be avoided. In his book, "Necessary Endings," Henry Cloud, Ph.D., leadership coach and clinical psychologist, states that when a relationship needs to end and steps are taken to end it positively, people learn from it and succeed. Ending a friendship that may have become toxic to you or is possibly holding you back in other ways is a part of life and may be necessary to get to the next phase in your life.

Talk to your friend before ending your friendship. Your friend may surprise you and respond positively to your feedback. Discuss your issues within the friendship and give her a chance to respond to you. If she complains non-stop, let her know. Tell her if you feel consistently feel pushed away or neglected.

Give yourself time to make the final decision as to whether you still desire to end the relationship. After careful consideration and giving your friend enough time to make a change, if that's what you agreed to, you may find you still want closure.

Embrace your decision to end the friendship in a positive manner. If you feel guilty, remind yourself you are not a bad person for taking care of yourself. A friendship should enhance your life. When friendships don't, you leave yourself open to becoming unhappy and toxic yourself.

Continue to imagine yourself interacting with your friend in the future. Allow yourself to feel the drain and the toxicity if you were to remain friends.

Before you make your final decision, you might want to actually increase your interactions with your friend. This prohibits you from running from the problem and may offer strong and unmistakeable verification that ending the friendship is the best course.

Choose a time to sit down with your friend and let her know what you've decided. If she expresses sadness, regret or anger, empathize with her but remain firm with your decision.

Take care of yourself by engaging in productive activities and reaching out to positive people currently in your life. Be open to meeting new people and getting to know them. Allow yourself to feel the feelings associated with ending the friendship. It may be sadness, anger or guilt. Sit with your feelings for a bit then allow yourself to move forward. This will take time but will enhance your life.

About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

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