How do you know when your friendship is over?
If you’ve come to this article, chances are something feels off with an amiga in your life. So I’d like to start by saying don’t disregard your gut feelings… there’s a reason why you feel the way you do. Let’s explore those feelings!
Breakups are hard, especially with a friend, because there is so much grey area. Nevertheless, there are some telltale and some not-so-obvious signs that your friendship has run its course.
This doesn’t have to end badly, but we know that sometimes life doesn’t work that way. What I can tell you is that it will be uncomfortable, but I find that a self-aware person usually knows when things are no longer the same. The acknowledgment of the realness of the situation makes it harder to digest.
Before I get into the signs, I think you should always wish that person well. You couldn’t have imagined not having that person as your ride or die at some point in your relationship. I want you to know that to truly move on and make peace with the situation, forgiveness is the first step to healing and moving on.
As you grow older and evolve, it’s only natural that all of the relationships in your life will see some change. Even in the healthiest relationships, the frequency of communication could and will change, likely due to time vested, intrapersonal dynamics, and level of trust developed throughout the years. However, some core values act as an invisible string between your relationship that keeps your friendship together, despite location, time zone, life changes, and even fluctuation in your communication.
On the other hand, you can also say adios in the most compassionate and mature way possible when the invisible strings are no longer holding your friendship together.
So, how do you know when to move that person to the “someone I used to know” box? Sounds harsh right? That’s because it is, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Here are ten signs that your friendship is over.
Here are 10 signs that your friendship is over.
1. You only communicate out of obligation or because you feel bad.
I had a friend that I would literally text right after going number 2. Yep, you are reading right, my friends. We were that close. Since our teenage years, we would speak about the things that felt taboo to talk about out loud. Not with this friend. At the peak of our friendship, she was the first person I would go to for anything. Now, she doesn’t even have my new cell number. It was a gradual decline, one that I witnessed when I started prioritizing my needs because I became tired and resentful of always helping her clean up her mess. She also met new friends, and I noticed how differently she acted around them. There were many factors in between that were enough for me to say, I’m done with this, but the #1 sign for me was that I cared less and less about texting or calling her.
2. You share something worthy of a response but don’t get one.
A friend responds whether you’ll like the answer or not. If they don’t, that person is simply not prioritizing you to take the time to respond. Listen, not everyone has stellar communication skills. However, proper and consistent communication is the glue with any type of relationship. If you seek your friend for advice or share life-shattering news and get short-worded responses or barely any reply, that is a sign your friendship may be over.
I do want to caveat this by saying that sometimes people deal by closing themselves off when they go through things. We don’t know what is going on in someone else’s mind, so before you take your friend off your holiday greeting card list, check-in to ensure they are ok. I am a fan of direct communication. “Hey, you ok? I noticed we were not speaking as often as we normally do, and I don’t want to assume it’s because of me or us, but if it is, let me know. I’d love to talk about it.” I have tried this exact text twice. With one friend, she responded two days later, saying she was just busy with work, her usual short response and nothing more. Never addressed her lack of responsiveness other than “been busy with work.” Another friend let me know that she was dealing with stuff and wanted alone time but assured me that it had nothing to do with me/us. So you see, when you care about someone and if they mean something to you, you can be honest and tell them that you just need time alone.
3. You find yourself gossiping about your friend (or the other way around)
If things were cool as they should be, why wouldn’t you be speaking to your friend directly instead of about them?
You want people who speak highly of you, advocate on your behalf, and most importantly, don’t talk sh*t about you – especially when you aren’t there to advocate for yourself. If you get the sense that someone is doing a lot of talking behind your back, address it. Don’t base it on assumptions; get yourself closure and go straight to the source.
My friendships are built on trust and on the fact that my friends today would speak so damn highly of me that people would want to chill with me before even meeting me! I do that in return for my friends because we realize that to build good and long-lasting mature friendships, lies, gossip, and jealousy can’t exist in healthy relationships. Trust and respect are values that must be mutually upheld.
If you need a few more reasons before making up your mind, here are some other signs that can tell you if your friendship is over:
4. You only catch up on social media.
Like it or not, friends talk to one another, whether it’s a silly text exchange, a voice note, a tag on social media, or even a meaningful DM. Only seeing them in a virtual world and not engaging outside of that no longer qualifies that person as your BFF.
5. They are too busy to hang with you but are constantly out and about with everyone else.
6. They aren’t present during critical moments in your life.
Take a moment to think, when you were going through something, and wanted some comfort from a friend, did that person even cross your mind?
7. Conversations are awkward, and you put off speaking to them.
8. You’re 100% ok with the fact that you no longer speak.
9. It’s become a one-way relationship.
You’re the one texting, calling, remembering birthdays, and checking in with no or little response. (BTW, liking your text without an actual response to your message is wack.)
10. They broke cardinal rules.
Such as: sleeping with your significant other, sabotaging an important moment in your life, putting hands on you (I don’t care how many Housewives episodes you’ve seen, putting your hands on someone is never ok), and/or creates constant distress and fights within your relationship. On top of that, they lie to you and never show up when promised.
If you’ve made up your mind and have plenty of evidence that your friendship is over and want to end your friendship gracefully, here are a few things you can do:
- Give yourself time to grieve.
- Don’t end your friendship in the heat of the moment.
- If you just finished having a disagreement, saying things like “I’m done with this,” “I’m done with you,” “never contact me again,” “we’re not friends anymore,” “I’m going to block you,” does not support you in letting go of your friendship gracefully. Instead, give yourself a moment to calm down, breathe, and thoughtfully craft what you want to say.
There is no right way to end a friendship; unless you wish to remain friends or patch things up, a text message should do.
Most importantly, stick to the facts. It takes a tremendous amount of self-awareness not to personalize things. Sticking to the key points as to when/how your relationship broke down makes it easier to digest. While it may feel good at the moment to want to hurt the person who hurt you, you are better than that. Don’t allow your ego to drive your decisions.
If you feel compelled to, and based on what has transpired that led to your friendship ending, you can also thank them for their friendship and wish them well.
By moving on, you are saving yourself from having forced or awkward interactions and spending time with them whilst they bring zero value to your life.
Do you see what I mean by “a gray area?” Friendships are diverse, and sometimes, there is no right way. You just have to handle it in a manner that feels good to you. You won’t always get closure, and sometimes you just get ghosted, so you have to give yourself closure.
What If You Want To Rekindle?
Honest and direct confrontation is important. You can’t have a friendship with someone you must chase down and who can’t tell you what’s wrong. Ask for a moment of their time and put it on the table. Something like, “I know things haven’t been the same, but I’d like to be friends still. How do you feel?”. If you sense hesitation and feel you aren’t receiving a genuine response, take that as a sign. Not everyone is strong enough to walk away from something or someone that is no longer serving them. Also, not everyone is good at expressing themselves, so it leaves you to make the hard call. So do it for both of you.
If you don’t wish to continue the friendship, be honest. You can say something like, “While we had some great times and I appreciated your friendship, I just don’t think we are there anymore. I will always wish you well“. Period.
Friendships are complex, and so are you.
Don’t feel like you have to apologize when you’ve outgrown a friendship. There are billions of people in this world and there is truly someone for everyone.
I hope this article helped you get clarity and hopefully closure. Do you have a friendship breakup story? Join our online community AMIGAS or DM us on Instagram!
About the Author
Vanessa Santos is a product, branding, and strategy executive who has delivered award-winning digital solutions to startup and Fortune 500 companies. As the Co-CEO & Partner of #WeAllGrow Latina, she is passionate about speaking on gender equality and guiding women to build socio and economic power. Connect with Vanessa on Instagram @vanessasantosfein.