Friendship and relationships are essential for your emotional well-being. Some relationships, on the other hand, become so draining that you feel the need to disengage. There are numerous methods for terminating contact with someone who is not worth your time. You can either gradually reduce contact or be open about the fact that the relationship must end. You should also be aware of how to recognise toxic relationships, as many people are prone to forming negative relationships on a regular basis. Make an effort to move on after ending a bad relationship. Mourn the end of a relationship while attempting to surround yourself with positive, happy people.
Part 1: Breaking Up With Someone
1. Contact should be reduced gradually. The simplest way to end a friendship is to do so indirectly. You may feel guilty for not being completely honest with someone. A confrontation, on the other hand, can be more trouble than it’s worth if the person is extremely difficult to deal with. If you are afraid that someone will become aggressive or angry as a result of your openness about ending the relationship, try to gradually see less of this person.
You can reduce the amount of confidential information you share with someone. Do not discuss personal details or share deep emotions with this person. Return texts and phone calls with caution. Stop inviting this person to every social gathering you go to. With luck, this person will eventually realise you aren’t interested in continuing the relationship.
Be vague when this person asks where you’ve been. Say something like, “I’ve just been very busy” or “Work has been extremely stressful.” While you may dislike the idea of being dishonest, not everyone deserves to be confronted in public. You owe nothing to this person if you truly believe he or she is a loser who is draining your time and energy.
Most of the time, the person in question will eventually get the hint. However, some people become aware that they are being cold-shouldered. The individual may question why you are ignoring him or her. In this case, think about being open about why you’re terminating this particular relationship.
2. Plan ahead of time. If you must have an official confrontation with someone, you should plan ahead of time. Decide what you want to get out of the conversation and what you expect from the relationship in the future.
Consider why you’re ending this relationship in particular. When you’re angry, you might say hurtful things like, “I don’t want to be your friend because you’re a loser/a drain/a narcissist.” However, this is unlikely to be fruitful. You want to get out of this relationship as soon as possible, and saying things that will elicit an angry response from the other person will only serve to aggravate the situation.
Try to explain in detail why this relationship isn’t working for you. Does it appear to be too one-sided? Do you feel like you’re constantly being snubbed or exploited? You don’t have to go over every single complaint you have with the person in question. In fact, someone you consider to be a “loser” is unlikely to take criticism well. After you’ve written out your concerns, try to condense what you’re saying into a short, vague sentiment. “I just don’t feel like I’m benefiting from this friendship anymore, and I think it’s better if we both move on,” for example.
You should also think about what you want in the future. You might want this person out of your life entirely, and if that’s a possibility, be open about it. However, if completely excluding a person would make things difficult in family or social situations, consider other options. For example, you might not be able to hang out with this person one-on-one any longer, but you can still be friendly at larger gatherings. You could say something along the lines of, “When it’s just the two of us, I don’t always feel like we’re on the same page. I believe we’d get along better as more casual acquaintances.”
3. If at all possible, speak to each other face to face. If you’re going to end a relationship officially, a face-to-face confrontation is the best way to do it. In writing, meaning can become muddled. A real-life conversation allows a person to find true closure. Try to speak with the person in person if at all possible.
Send a text or e-mail requesting a meeting. Make it clear that you want to talk about something. Send a text message saying, “Can we talk later this week? When are you going to be available?”
Choose a time and location that works for both of you. You want to avoid external time constraints if the conversation goes on for a long time. Choose a night when you’re both available and a location where you can really talk. A crowded, noisy bar makes it difficult to have a conversation. A quiet coffee shop, large enough for the two of you to have some privacy, would be preferable.
4. Consider writing a letter or sending an e-mail. It is not always possible to converse face to face. If you are concerned that the person in question will become loud or aggressive, avoid the in-person discussion. You want to avoid unnecessary drama and make a clean break. If you are concerned that meeting someone in person will cause you additional stress, write a letter or e-mail expressing your concerns.
Take some time to write down your thoughts. Make a few draughts of a letter or e-mail before sending it if necessary. You want to make everything as clear as possible.
Try to resist the urge to pen a venomous or spiteful farewell. Remember, you’re trying to get rid of losers in your life so you can move on to a better future. You don’t want to end a relationship with unnecessary squabbles. Explain why your relationship must end as respectfully as possible.
5. Keep it as simple as possible. If you feel comfortable being direct, go ahead and do so. To avoid a blow-up, it may be best to keep information vague or even obscure your reasons in some situations, such as if someone is prone to emotional outbursts. For example, “I just don’t feel like I have time to maintain this relationship right now” may be preferable to “I don’t think you’re a nice person.” However, if you believe you can be honest without jeopardising your safety, go ahead and do so. Strive to express your feelings as openly as possible for your own personal closure.
Explain why you’re calling it quits on the relationship. If the person has harmed you in any way, tell them exactly how. You are not required to provide a laundry list of every complaint, but you should provide some general reasons. For instance, say something like, “I have the impression that you are unconcerned about my needs. I have the impression that you are always talking about yourself and never ask about me.”
Establish firm boundaries. You don’t want to keep allowing someone to hurt you. Make it clear what you expect in the future. “I want us to be civil when we’re around mutual friends, but our one-on-one relationship is over,” you can say.
Try to maintain a civil demeanour. Just because you’re removing someone from your life doesn’t mean you have to harbour resentment. In fact, resenting someone or wishing them harm can cause you undue stress. As an example, say, “I hope you’re content with your life, and I only wish you the best. I just don’t think I can keep this friendship going.”
6. Make use of “I” statements. “I”-statements are statements that emphasise personal emotion over objective fact. When having a difficult conversation, using “I”-statements can be beneficial because you are not imposing external blame on the situation. You’re simply stating how and why another person’s actions make you feel.
An “I”-statement is made up of three parts. You begin with “I feel…” and immediately express your emotion. Then you explain what actions resulted in that emotion. Finally, you explain why you are feeling the way you do.
Confronting someone without a “I”-statement can result in unwarranted hostility. For instance, you could say something like, “We can’t be friends because you’re a burden to me. You complain about your own problems, but you never ask how I’m doing, despite the fact that you know I’ve been through a lot recently.”
Rephrasing the preceding sentiment with a “I”-statement can help highlight your own feelings. This can make it appear less objective and more like a personal declaration. For example, you could say, “I feel drained when you complain about your own problems without asking how I’m doing because it gives me the impression that our relationship is one-sided.”
7. Maintain your composure. If you decide to remove someone from your life, that person may object. He or she may ask for a second chance, promising to change. If you’ve decided to end this relationship, be firm about it. Continue to say something like, “I’m sorry you’re upset, but I’ve made my decision.” If the person continues to contact you after you’ve informed them that the relationship is over, it’s time to start ignoring texts and phone calls.
Consider blocking a person’s phone number if they are persistent in contacting you. You should also block them on social media.
Part 2: Recognizing Toxic Relationships
1. Be open and honest about your feelings about a relationship. Many people have a proclivity to repeatedly enter into unhealthy relationships. If you’re concerned about losers in your life, try to take some time to evaluate relationships honestly. It can be difficult to accept when certain relationships become toxic to the point of no longer being viable.
Do you feel drained when you’re in the presence of another person? Do you genuinely want to spend time with certain people, or do you feel obligated to do so? Do you expect respect that you have never received? Are you regularly let down by someone’s attitude, behaviour, or treatment of you?
Answer these questions truthfully. Avoid making excuses, such as, “Well, I do feel tired when I’m around Marguerite, but she’s been through a lot lately.” If you have a general negative attitude toward someone, it is a sign that you are not in a healthy relationship. Everyone experiences adversity. Even in their worst moments, most people will be able to care for the needs of others. If someone is consistently draining to be around, and this has been going on for a long time, it may be time to end the relationship.
2. Evaluate how you are made to feel by someone. You should feel good about yourself when you’re in a relationship. You may become frustrated with another person on occasion, and everyone inadvertently hurts someone else’s feelings on occasion. If, on the other hand, someone constantly makes you feel bad about yourself, this could be a toxic relationship.
Try keeping a journal of your emotions after spending time with someone. Using the previous example, write down how you feel after having coffee with Marguerite. Do you feel exhausted, tired, or frustrated? Are you going over the things she said that irritated you? If this occurs on a regular basis, the relationship is most likely doomed. This is someone you should probably get rid of in your life.
You may discover that another person’s drama has a significant impact on you. If your friend Marguerite is upset about her boyfriend, she may refuse to talk about anything else when you two are together. It may come to the point where you dread being around her when she’s upset because you know it’ll lead to endless and pointless complaining.
3. Consider whether or not the relationship feels equal. A relationship should be fairly balanced. You should each support the emotional needs of the other. One person in a toxic relationship may always believe that his or her needs are the most important.
Again, try to be honest with yourself and refrain from making excuses for the other person. Consider the last time you were in need. Did this person contact you? Did he or she inquire about your well-being? Or did this person simply avoid you until your neediness was no longer an issue?
One person in a toxic relationship may be competitive about his or her needs. Using Marguerite as an example, you might bring up a stressful issue with your significant other. Marguerite could respond with something like, “At the very least, you have someone. I’ve been unattached for almost a year.” She may then launch into a rant about her own problems, prompting you to console her. This is an unbalanced situation. This person prioritises her own emotional needs over yours, and she is using your problems to insert her own.
4. Keep an eye out for signs of emotional manipulation. Emotional manipulation, which can take many forms in toxic relationships, is common. To identify toxic relationships, look for signs of emotional manipulation.
You may be afraid to express your feelings to a friend, romantic partner, or family member if you are being emotionally manipulated. This person may try to dismiss your feelings by accusing you of being overly sensitive.
You may also discover that an emotionally manipulative person will not accept “No” for an answer. A manipulative person may ask several follow-up questions if you say you can’t attend an event because of work, for example, pushing you to skip work unnecessarily.
This person may also make you feel controlled. You feel as if you have to walk on eggshells around this person in order to avoid an outburst, to the point where you are emotionally checked out. You may simply go along with situations to avoid the fallout, ignoring your own needs in order to meet the needs of the other person.
5. Check to see if there are any remaining positives in the relationship. It may sound strange, but recognising the benefits of toxic relationships can be beneficial to you. People are often drawn to the wrong people for a variety of reasons. Figure out what you get out of the relationship. You may have deeper issues that need to be addressed in order to break the cycle of toxic relationships.
Because of previous bad relationships, you may be drawn to a certain personality type. Assume your mother was cold and emotionally distant. You may unconsciously seek out people who are similar to your mother in order to gain approval that you never received.
You may also have low self-esteem, which attracts you to toxic relationships. For example, if you are concerned about your own life, you may unconsciously be drawn to people who have problems that you perceive to be worse than your own. Emotionally unhealthy people may make you feel as if you’re caring for someone else, making you feel needed even if you’re unsure of your own abilities.
Part 3: Next Steps
1. Allow yourself time to grieve. You’ll need time to mourn the loss of someone you’ve removed from your life. Even if a relationship was negative, the end of it can cause a sense of loss. Allow yourself some time to process your emotions and come to terms with the loss.
Writing a goodbye letter can be beneficial. Although this letter will not be read or sent, writing it can be therapeutic. Pretend you’re writing to the person in question, and express yourself completely. This is a great way to express everything you felt you couldn’t say when the relationship ended.
2. Create a ritual. Ritual is important for commemorating significant events or changes. It’s heartbreaking when a relationship ends. You can create a ritual to symbolically mark the end of a friendship or other relationship. For example, you can get rid of items that remind you of someone, such as old photos or keepsakes. While it may appear silly, many people find ritual to be helpful in bringing them closure.
3. Surround yourself with people who are upbeat. After you’ve removed the losers from your life, you should make an effort to surround yourself with positive people. Find friends who will make you feel good about yourself. Choose people who make you feel energised and happy after you spend time with them.
4. Stay away from feelings of guilt or shame. You might feel bad about ending a relationship. However, try to suppress any feelings of guilt you may have after ending a relationship. You have earned the right to be respected and to have your needs met. Everyone ends relationships at some point in their lives. You don’t have to feel bad about breaking up with someone, especially if their presence caused you undue stress.
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