HealthKnowing When to Let Go: When to End a Friendship

Knowing When to Let Go: When to End a Friendship

How to Know When it’s Time to End a Friendship

4 min read

After his father died, Paul Marlow, a 36-year-old mental health advocate in Surrey, British Columbia, was at a turning point. “I saw I needed a change,” Marlow says. He wanted to let go of unhealthy habits and start fresh.

“I found myself yearning to move away from the old me, the depressed and anxiety-filled me,” he says. But as he tried to move forward, his friends held him back. While Marlow was adopting a healthier lifestyle, his friends prioritized drinking and partying.

As Marlow struggled emotionally, his friends reached out less and less, and he realized that it was time to move on.

“There can be many reasons that a friendship becomes unhealthy. But any friendship that consistently contributes to our feeling disregarded, devalued, or disrespected should be re-evaluated,” says Gina Handley Schmitt, LMHC, a psychotherapist in the Seattle area and author of Friending: Creating Meaningful, Lasting Adult Friendships.

As you change and grow, you may find that old friendships no longer fit. You may drift apart naturally or realize suddenly that you’re in an unhealthy relationship.

Here are some signs that it may be time to move on:

You’re not a priority: If you rarely feel like a priority or if you sense that your friend doesn’t think you’re worth their time, it’s best to move on.

You don’t connect at the same level: Friendships work best when both people want the same type of connection. If you want a deep personal connection but your friend can’t or doesn’t want the same thing, the friendship may become stagnant and unsatisfying, Schmitt says.

You give more than you take: If you’re always there for them but they don’t do the same for you, it may be a sign to move on.

Your friend is disrespectful or mean: Feeling anxious or negative in your friendship is a sign that it may be best to end it.

Your friend is dishonest or holds back information: If you can’t rely on your friend to be open or tell the truth, your relationship won’t thrive and may become a source of frustration.

You downplay your accomplishments: Some friendships are competitive. But if you hold back from sharing good news to avoid hurting your friend’s feelings,

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