How to Cut Manipulative Friends out of Your Life

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Manipulative friends are toxic to your health and well-being. For some time now, you've tried to see the positive traits in your manipulative friend and to communicate the issues you are experiencing regarding her manipulation. Because nothing has changed, you feel depleted, drained and fed up. After careful consideration, you have decided to cut your manipulative friend out of your life. The question you are losing sleep over is how are you going to do that?

Step 1

Create distance between you and your friend. Wait a few days or a week before you return his phone calls, answer texts in an impersonal way and ignore his emails. Get involved in activities where you are less likely to run into him. Avoid personal invitations from him. If mutual friends mention that he was asking about your whereabouts or change in behavior, just tell them you have been very busy.

Step 2

Say hello and make small talk if you run into her at a social function. Many people are part of a larger social circle and fear they may unravel the circle by eliminating a friend from their life, says Susan Shapiro Barash, author of "Toxic Friends." Keeping up social appearances cuts down on unnecessary drama that may be associated with terminating the relationship.

Step 3

End the relationship directly. A manipulative friend is used to manipulating the situation and getting his way. In a no-nonsense, straightforward way, tell your friend you no longer wish to continue the friendship. Ask him not to call, email or text you from this point forward. If you think you can do this without feeling guilty or bullied by your friend, talk to him face to face. If not, the phone may be a better option for you. Avoid email or texting, because written words can be misconstrued or used against you.

Step 4

Avoid the guilt trap. A manipulative friendship won't change unless both people change. If she doesn't do her part to become less manipulative, follow your gut, leave her behind and move forward with your life. Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., author of "The Friendship Fix'" and a professor of psychology, acknowledges the uplifting freedom that can result from the release of guilt, stress and being taken for granted when you let go of a toxic friendship.

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