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Fire Your Friends: Drop The Negative People In Your Life

Over the last year and a half, I have felt consistently happy.  This is the longest stretch of happiness I have encountered since I was a child.

Over the same amount of time, I have cut a multitude of people out of my life that dragged me down in one way or another: energy-zappers, promoters of bad habits, judgmental janes, etc.

Coincidence?  Nope.  The first step is directly linked to the second.

Sometimes you just need to walk away.

Since I’ve cut or limited my time with negative people in my life, I have found:

  • more freedom and confidence in myself
  • the bonds with my truly supportive friends grew stronger because I put more effort into those relationships
  • I now attract more like-minded positive people into my life- the others get cut fast

 

Sometimes, the best thing for you to do for yourself and your bliss is to sever a friendship that brings you down.

I know this sounds harsh, but it is one of the key steps I’ve encountered on my way to finding happiness.

There are benefits and drawbacks to firing your friends- I’ve found that I’ve felt more free after cutting the ties to some people, but I’ve felt regret and wished I could take it back in other cases.

The bottom line: You are who you hang around with.

You choose to put yourself in that situation, and you will feed off whatever energy the relationship and other person provides.  Knowing when a friendship is bad for you and doing something about it can save you from years of misspent energy.

Be honest, take action, and feel the freedom.

When To Fire A Friend

Don't let the good memories overshadow negativity now

Sometimes friendships form from negative roots.

I have had friendships develop because I was lonely and just wanted someone to hang out with.

I’ve had friendships that I kept because I only wanted to see the good times, and was in denial that we didn’t have anything in common anymore.

I’ve maintained friendships that sucked the life out of me, but because this person had stuck with me through my hard times, I felt like I owed it to her to listen to her negativity and complaining… every day.

Being honest with yourself means looking at the friendship and asking, “Why am I still friends with this person?”

If the answer is something other than they give you support, love, motivation, inspiration, encouragement, laughter, or any other positive emotions or outcomes, ask yourself this:  ”How do I feel after I hang out with this person?”

Do you feel drained, bad about yourself, doubtful, depressed, frustrated, scared, angry, or in any other way negative after most of your meetings?  Do you dread seeing this person?  When this person calls, do you avoid it?  If you’ve answered yes, it’s time to reassess the reason that you’re keeping this friendship alive.

Know that friends will come and go, and that is natural.  Severing the ties with someone makes room for more positive people to come into your life, and allows you more time to nurture the true friendships you have.

Be brave.  Be honest.  Save yourself from wasting any more time.

The Best Way To Call It Quits

Drop him like a bad habit.

When you’ve had enough with the way you’re being treated or the lack of positivity you’re getting from a friend, it’s time to be honest with both yourself and the person in question. This is where I’ve gone wrong in the past.

The way I dealt with cutting ties to people is through simply not talking to them anymore.  It’s disrespectful, juvenile and mean.  I wish I had just been honest with these people instead of refused to take their phone calls.

If I were on the other side of the equation, I would have been devastated.  I would be wondering what I did wrong.  Where did this come from?

If I could take it back and do it again in the way I am going to suggest to you, I would.

How I recommend you handle the situation is having the balls to voice your feelings to the friend you’re having trouble with.  Who knows?  They could be completely unaware of the way they’re behaving or that it affects you negatively.  By taking this approach, both of you are able to look at the friendship and see if it’s worth trying to save.

This will take a load off your conscience, and may perhaps mend the relationship by bringing your concerns to light.  If things don’t improve from your talk, then you’ve at least addressed it and given it a second chance.  This way, it’s not coming out of thin air for your friend, and it helps you ease into the transition as well.

If You Can’t Fire Someone…

…Limit the time you spend with them.  This tends to be the case when a member of your family is particularly draining or negative.  Family is forever, but that doesn’t mean you need to let them hold you back from enjoying life!

When this person calls to complain about their day, be clear at the start that you can only talk for 10 minutes, then you have to run.

When you go to work and see the girl that pressures you into happy hours, tell her you have other engagements and that you’re really cutting back on your alcohol consumption for health reasons.  She can’t argue with you on that one!  You’ll still see her at work, but now you won’t have to play the game outside of 9-5.

If they give you a hard time, stand your ground.  Remember, this is for your sanity and happiness.

This is YOUR life.  Choose who you want to spend it with.

There’s No Going Back

Once the damage is done, repairing it may be impossible.

I am really good at cutting off friends.  So good, in fact, that I sometimes jump to this step prematurely and break a relationship that has a chance to improve, because I don’t want to have the talk.

I hate confrontation.  I’ve gone out of my way to avoid it to the point that I’d just take it if someone was treating me disrespectfully or wasn’t taking me into account.  I see this as a flaw that keeps me in situations I don’t need to be in, and I owe much of my happiness this past year to the fact that I have gotten better at dealing with confrontation and communication.

When you cut a friendship, there’s no going back.  I know because I’ve tried.

A few years ago, I called up my ex-best-friend that I had stopped talking to a couple years prior, and apologized for abruptly ending the relationship without explanation.  She accepted the apology and told me how much it had hurt her, and that she didn’t think our friendship could ever be the same.  I agreed, and I have come to terms with the fact that my screw-up wasted a solid relationship because I ended it for the wrong reasons.

Make sure that the reasons you’re cutting ties are the right ones, and that it’s not a way to further isolate yourself or prove to yourself that you don’t deserve goodness in your life.

Avoid the coulda-woulda-shouldas- always talk to the other person before cutting her off completely.

THIS WEEK, I’M NOT CHALLENGING YOU TO FIRE YOUR FRIENDS.  I’M CHALLENGING YOU TO BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF AND TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT WHAT’S KEEPING YOU FROM BEING HAPPY NOW.

The only thing holding you back from your ideal life is not taking action.  So do it.  You’re strong enough.

-Amy

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photo 1 by Lance Shields, photo 2 by Pink Sherbet Photography, photo 3 by durera_toujours, photo 4 by madmolecule

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209 Responses to “Fire Your Friends: Drop The Negative People In Your Life”

  1. It’s amazing how many people will keep friends in their life just because they have been around for a long time. It’s hard to take a step back a really look a whether or not these “friends” are enhancing or hurting your life. But i have found once those deep cuts are made, life instantly starts to refresh itself.

    • Rj Ryen says:

      Found this posting & today I went to an event where one person had invited me, & two of her friends were their that have never been decnet to me ever. The person who invited me was disingenuous & rude to me the entire time. I blocked her on my facebook. We are not close friends, but I took care of her grandma for years. I was very close friends with her grandma. I believe I won’t regret blocking her on facebook, & I just won’t be interacting with her anymore. I am also friends with her mom. I don’t want to drive her mom crazy between us, so while I love this friend, I don’t want to cause trouble between she & her daughter. While I don’t want to leave this friend, I almost believe it will be better for her in a way. Good sound advice here. Thank you. I guess I will talk with her mom, & let her know my dilemma, & let her decide what is best for her.

      • Amy says:

        Hey RJ! It sounds like you’re going about it in a calm, thoughtful manner, which is really important when considering moves that are quite emotional in nature. Though I don’t know the whole story behind this decision, you must do what you think is right. It sounds like this person may be projecting the loss of her grandmother onto you (I’m just guessing that’s what happened). It sounds like you don’t necessarily need to hang out with both her mother and her at the same time, so maybe just distance yourself from the daughter?

        Thanks for sharing your story here, RJ. I hope you find peace in this situation!

    • Diana says:

      So true yes — I have been in this situation with a childhood friend – more than 30+ years since we were kids, but every single memory and interaction are from her saying negative statements whether it is a recipe I give her to my car to anything at all. Very sad. I just told her I am moving out of state (true) – her response was – “Well we only see each other a few times a year, your moving will not have any effect on me.” WOW- OUCH.

      • Amy says:

        Wow. Ouch indeed. Sounds like you’re moving on to bigger and better things. :) You’re worth more than that kind of treatment. I wish you much luck in your future of supportive and encouraging friendships! :)

        • Diana says:

          Thanks Amy – I appreciate it. I really did not want her to gush and cry and go crazy about my move, but there were so many other ways she could have phrased it — the only reason we have seen each other minimally is because I got tired of always being the one to initiate the plans. She is a homemaker, but I work 7 days a week and am a single mom – my time is pretty scarce – the few times I would call her to take her to dinner (my treat), she would just email me the next day and say the food was bland or something else. Thanks again for your kind post, and I hope you are surrounded by positivity too!! :)

  2. Jóna says:

    You just went strait out and said it! I applaud you till my palms bleed!! I’m forwarding this post to some of my dump-hesitant friends ASAP

    I dont think its a matter of being cold-hearted. Its in everybody’s best interest to clean out your friend closet every once in a while. The happier you are, the more happiness you bring to others. It’s happiness capitalism! For us smart people that are to be trusted with the concept, it is the greatest thing ever.

    Your blog has been on my read list for a while now but I just started reading. So far I like your style, philosophy and the flower in your hair :)

    • Amy says:

      Hey Jòna! Glad you came by! Don’t clap too hard- I’d like you to be able to keep the feeling in your hands! ;)

      Thank you for the support!

      We as human beings are very scared of anything ending, but we have to realize that in order to begin, change, and grow, things must come to an end. I think you have the right idea: some friends just serve to drag you down and keep you from the happiness you deserve. In that case, neither of you will benefit from keeping the friendship, so it’s better to simply end it. Getting the courage to tell someone you’ve been close with that you aren’t feeling it anymore is the hardest part.

      Hope to see you here again soon!

  3. ellen says:

    I really appreciate this a lot. Dealing with this with a dear and longtime friend. It is just not going to work after what she just emailed me. I am letting it go with love and prayers…will always talk to her, but it is not going to be the same again.

    • Amy says:

      Hi Ellen! Welcome to the site!

      The same thing happened to me just over a year ago. I’m sorry that you received that email and whatever it contained within it. Sometimes things like that happen just to show us that we are worth more than getting treated poorly.

      It seems that you’re at peace with it, which you should be. Not everyone is meant to be friends with everyone!

      I hope Strong Inside Out and I can help you in other ways as well!

  4. Caitlyn says:

    Thank you so much for this. I needed to read this. And I’m glad I did.

    • Amy says:

      I’m so happy that it helped you. It makes my day to read comments like these. Thank you, Caitlyn, and I hope to see you around Strong Inside Out more soon!

  5. Lynette says:

    This is definitely one of my favourite articles here! Really rings true, as I’m someone who’s really hesitant to end relationships, and in my entire life I’ve only actively ended one friendship that was sucking the life out of me. You’re right about friendships that form from negative roots being unsustainable. I’ve persisted with the most incompatible, exhausting, dysfunctional friendships for all the reasons that you’ve described and it’s really nice to be in a place where it’s acceptable to make a change :)

    • Amy says:

      Hey Lynette!

      Thank you for the kind words! I was very hesitant to end friendships in the past as well, but you have to stay true to yourself and knowing your worth. It’s so important to make your happiness a priority, and if another person is getting in the way of that, they’re no friend at all!

      Thanks for chiming in, Lynette! I hope you’ll find the Strong Inside Out community to be a supportive, motivating source as you make positive changes in your life!

  6. [...] If it’s a person, ask yourself what you can do to limit your time with him/her or even cut them out of your life completely. [...]

  7. Keith says:

    Hi Amy,

    This post is so true. And I agree absolutely that just cutting without explanation is the worst thing to do. As you said, how would we feel if we are on the other end. And yes, sometimes the honesty is enough to save the friendship

    I think what makes it hard is that we wonder what the person will say about us. Maybe they will say some things we don’t want to hear. Or maybe we are worried what they will say about us to other people. What it boils down to is how do we feel about ourselves. Can we live with it? Have we really thought it through and is it right for us? If the answer is yes, then we should have the courage to be honest with the person, because one, it is the right thing to do, and two, because we owe ourselves the closure. We need to respect ourselves enough to say what is on our minds and trust ourselves.

    It sounds like you have found that courage so good for you.

    I enjoyed the post Amy and you have me thinking.

    Keith

    • Amy says:

      Hi Keith!

      Welcome to the site!

      You bring up some really good points: Can we live with it? This can be taken in two ways, though. Can we live with keeping this person in our lives? I don’t think anyone should just settle for “living with it,” so if that’s the question that keeps coming up, there’s something more to look at there. If the question pertains more to living with ourselves after the cut, however, it all comes down to knowing that the decision was the right thing to do. You have to look at all the reasons it WAS a good decision and refuse to dwell on the negative what-ifs.

      Thank you, Keith. I know you’ll find that courage, too! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!

      • Keith says:

        Hi Amy,

        Thanks for your kind words.

        Just to clarify, it was the second of the two options :) And yes, we need to focus on the reasons it was the right thing to do.

        Thanks

    • mojo says:

      But this is the thing I don’t get – cutting someone off is pretty direct and it’s honest. People get the message without having to be “dumped” which is hardly a better option. The “talk” can just be unnecessarily awkward. I guess if I felt close enough to someone to tell them why I don’t want to be their friend, I think I would probably consider this person a good enough friend, or someone close enough to me, to keep in my life. In those cases, it’s a matter of giving the relationship a lot slack and just let that distance take it’s course. No need to be unduly dramatic. Everyone picks up on the non-verbal cues. Sometimes you slowly back away, and sometimes you just cut your losses and move on. If you’re ever questioned directly however, this definitely calls for a more direct level of communication. This process is just how people get to know each other and find people they feel authentically connected to (or with). The rest doesn’t really matter that much, when you look back on it.

      • Amy says:

        Hey Mojo!

        I see where you’re coming from, and I’ve definitely cut people out without a word before, too. If for nothing else, I like to treat people how I would like to be treated. I would hate it if a good friend left me because I was being negative, but didn’t warn me. I’d have no idea what I had done! Also, this case is one that is easy to change.

        When it comes to more severe friendships such as downright mean behavior, sure, firing w/o notice seems much more reasonable.

        I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt. :)

  8. [...] If it’s a person, ask yourself what you can do to limit your time with him/her or even cut them out of your life completely. [...]

  9. Neha says:

    this is such a great article! recently only one of my friend really killed me by complaining and criticizing and draining my energy just bcoz I don’t have much time for him bcoz of my studies.he doesn’t understood and blamed me only.
    its better to keep people who love u, accept u the way u are..u don’t need to explain them and keep only positive people. It is worth jeopardizing relations with negative people because they don’t deserve it.
    :) thanks a lot for this article!

    • Amy says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Neha! That’s a tricky situation: I hope he understands that you take your studies seriously. I hope he supports your ambitions rather than simply blaming you for not thinking of him. Have you talked to him openly and honestly about it?

  10. Anne says:

    This was really interesting and so much of what you say makes sense. I have some problem “friends” – one always makes me feel upset and frustrated by her toxic comments and very rigid views on life. Another is very impatient and intolerant of anyone who “lets illness hold them back” in her view. I have CFS and it can limit my energy and free time badly at times. Have tried to explain this to her but she gets bored. Prone to making awful comments like “I’m not the sort of person who would get that . . . ” ! But – these 2 friends I have had for a long time. 1st for over 30 yrs, 2nd for over 20 yrs. Also – they account for 2 out of my 3 main friends ! Because of having CFS for over 20 yrs – my social life has shrunk a huge amount. I guess I’m scared to cut them out incase I end up very lonely more lonely ?). But they don’t seem to do me much good when I do see them. But they do (or did)have good points too. All the problems & frustrations I experience with them is because of my CFS (and their attitude to it).
    Help – you comments/thoughts would be very welcome Amy.

    • Amy says:

      Hey Anne!

      Thanks so much for writing to me here. I hope I can help!

      It’s really scary when you’re looking at decades of friendship and realize that those friends don’t offer what they used to. It’s difficult to face, but it sounds like you’re quite aware of it already. Have you ever been completely honest with them, letting them know how their words hurt you? I would try that first, before taking any major cutting-out actions.

      If they don’t respond well to your honesty, maybe start with cutting down on the time you’re spending with them. Can you try to spend more time with the people who offer you the support and love you need? Also, are there any CFS groups close to you that would allow you to meet more people who understand what you’re going through? That might be a good way to open up your social network a bit.

      Again, I hope this helps! Let me know how it goes!

      • Anne Dean says:

        Hi Amy.
        Thanks for your reply and advice back on 19 July – and I’m sorry I didn’t acknowledge it before now ! I wasn’t ignoring it or disregarding it – I’m just kindof drowning under a sea of work. What you said I think I agree with – as I don’t want to do anything too abrupt or hasty after knowing them such a long time. Its not really in my nature. But I will have to learn to be more upfront I think when things upset me. Because I haven’t been clear with them – I guess I hate confrontation. And worry about what the response may be. But even if I get a bad response – it will prob be better than dwelling on stuff and building up resentment over things.
        Of course I do realise that I am probably not the perfect friend either . . . ! And I must look at myself too – as years of CFS can make me perhaps a bit over-sensitive sometimes (not all of the time though) .
        But thank you again Amy – this was appreciated.
        Anne

        • Amy says:

          Always happy to help however I can, Anne. :)

          I loathe confrontation, too, and that’s why I’ve cut people off without a word before. When I’ve done that though, I regret it afterwards. It’s not fair to them and it gives them no chance to try to change.

          I think the key thing for you is allowing yourself to speak up if someone’s hurting you. Don’t be afraid to stand your ground!

          Let me know if you have any other questions I can help with!

  11. Harold says:

    This is insightful. I’ve been on the receiving end quite often, and I can say from those experiences that when friendships “end” without so much as a word, not only am I always wondering where I went wrong, I also have less of a reason to socialize with people – without any civil communication, I can’t tell whether someone truly needs my help with something or if there’s something I’m doing which may be annoying too many people. It’s already gotten to the point where I only interact with people when I have to, just to be on the safe side.

    Ironically, I ended up burning a bridge with an acquaintance many years ago, and for the past several months felt the need to fix this because it’s the right thing to do. While I can’t explain the particulars of my situation here, I would like to sincerely apologize to this person without making matters worse, and would like a suggestion on the best way to go about it. Thanks.

    • Amy says:

      Hey Harold!

      I know it must be painful to be cut off without a word of why. I’m sorry you went through that.

      As far as contacting your old acquaintance, I would first ask why you feel the need to contact him/her now. Is there something that recently came up that you want to talk to him/her about, or is it more of a need to explain yourself? I’m sorry I can’t give very specific advice with the general nature of the explanation, but I think being honest is usually the way to go. Tell him/her what you were feeling and if you feel like you were wrong.

      Also, think twice before approaching this person. Is it necessary, or is it going to open up an old can of worms that should just stay closed?

      Hope this helps!

  12. Sylvia says:

    Hello! This article is amazing and has really helped me think about a friendship with a toxic friend I’m currently having trouble letting go of. She wasn’t toxic to start with but started changing and saying things like “I don’t think many people would find you beautiful” I know that with that comment I should have let go of her the second she said it but as I’ve said, she wasn’t always like this and at one point I considered her someone I could trust with ALL of my heart and soul. Because our past elicits such strong feelings for me, I can’t let go but know I should..I guess you could say I’m sort of on the fence here? I have limited my time with her but always feel bad about doing so…how do I deal with that feeling of feeling completely terrible about not spending as much time with her?

    • Amy says:

      Hi Sylvia!

      I’m glad you found the article helpful to you.

      I have some news: it’s going to feel terrible. In the long run, however, you’ll feel better.

      What do you get out of this relationship? Are you giving way more than you’re taking? All relationships have to have a balance of give and take. Maybe try talking to her as well??

      If you haven’t yet, check out my aftermath post, After Firing Friends: Dealing with Regret. It details how I dealt with the hard parts of the separation, and why I wouldn’t go back to how it was.

      • Dave says:

        I totally agree with this. Recently I’ve been cutting a lot of negative people out of my life. Most of them I’ve been honest and upfront. I had an ex which I loved for a long time. She had her personal issues *Eating disorder* which she refused to work on. I tried disappearing for a while and coming back but nothing seemed to work. Had a talk she finds me annoying, and doesn’t want to talk to me, to the point where I couldn’t even ask her how she’s been without those comments. I found her to have a negative attitude towards me, so I told her that I’ve spent enough energy trying to help her, and I’m happy because it’s certified me to myself as a good caring person for trying to help. Then left saying that I need to focus on my life. My energy needs to be focused on me. Despite my efforts it really isn’t’ going anywhere. After 2 days I just blocked her, felt enough has been done. I feel fresh.

        • Amy says:

          Hi Dave! Thanks for the comment!

          Eating disorders are rough. There are a lot of issues that go into them that we can’t understand from the outside. I think the most important thing to understand is that her actions are not personal attacks. She is probably hurting a great deal and isn’t sure how to cope with that pain.

          I’m happy to hear that you tried to help. Did you ever ask her what she wanted/needed from you? Sometimes, this will clear things up a bit rather than getting caught up in trying to FIND the solution. Sometimes people with EDs just need someone to listen, or encouragement.

          If you loved her and really tried to help, but kept getting negative reactions in return, then yes, stepping away from the situation may have been the right thing to do. Unfortunately, you can’t “fix” her, or anyone else for that matter. Change comes from within.

          I hope you’re doing ok!

  13. [...] realize this is a controversial topic (it’s the #1 most popular post on my site), but it’s important to face the reality of your [...]

  14. [...] realize this is a controversial topic (it’s the #1 most popular post on my site), but it’s important to face the reality of your [...]

  15. mojo says:

    I have absolutely NO problem giving anyone the axe and I do not understand why anyone else would. It’s your life, you get to decide whose in it, period. Work things out with your family, or at work – but friends? Friends are optional – they are the people you get to choose. So I am baffled as to why anyone would feel obliged to waste their time.

    • Amy says:

      Hi Mojo!

      Just replied to your comment above (re: Keith’s), but wanted to get back to this one, too. It sounds like you know and believe what a lot of people struggle with: that you are worth more than what a negative friendship gives you. I’m with you on that. It took me a while to understand and believe that I deserve positive, supportive, loving friendships and relationships in my life. A lot of people are still on their way, so this post is more to help them along.

      I like what you say about family and work, too. Work them out as best you can. Save those- a lot of family won’t realize that they’re being hurtful. Co-workers you only have to see, well, at work.

      Stay strong, and keep inspiring others to be strong, too! :)

  16. Gaël says:

    This is definitely a blog post to which I can relate all too well to.

    I’ve had someone whom I thought was a good friend cut all ties with me without explanation when I did nothing to deserve it as far as I know. But I’m guilty of having done the same to someone else in recent times. In my defense though, that person’s attitude sickened me at one point.

    I got over being “dumped” quite easily but I found that being the “dumper” kinda sucks. Though I have zero interest in seeing that person again, I can’t say I’m proud of having ended things that way. The only interaction I could see myself having with that person is me telling them the reasons for my action. No apologies.

    But even more recently, I have tried to just limit my contact with the remaining negative nancies in my life instead of just ceasing to talk to them and I couldn’t be happier. Not only do I have a better outlook of life and have great things happen to me (yes they are correlated!), but the guilt of cutting ties with them is practically non-existent.

    • Amy says:

      I love this comment, Gaël. Thank you for sharing your wise insight.

      Yes, I do believe that your better outlook on life and the fact that great things are coming to you are indeed correlated with surrounding yourself with positive people instead of negative. The same thing happened to me!

      It sounds like you have exactly the right attitude about your actions. You can’t look back. It won’t do you any good. All you can do is use the way you feel to make informed decisions the next time around.

      Thank you again for this, Gaël!

  17. Alana says:

    I am one of those toxic friends, I know I am, I’m always down and negative. I try so hard not to be but I can’t help it, I have severe clinical depression, it’s the illness not me. I’m confident my “best friend” has been trying to distance herself from me and my negativity, we hardly see each other anymore, where once we were practically joined at the hip. There are still good sides to our friendship, but nowadays things are hard. She’s very well meaning but doesn’t understand what I’m going though and frequently makes me feel stupid/lazy/pathetic/hopeless, but I can’t lose her, she is all I have.

    • Amy says:

      Alana, thank you so much for sharing your story here. I know that’s not easy.

      I was the same way. If you’ve read my story, you know that you and me are very much alike. I was toxic and lashed out at everyone and anyone who tried to help.

      I think small actions could be a good place to start for you. Do you let your friend know that her support means a lot to you? Do you give her compliments and encouragement where she needs it? Friendship is a give and take. Give to her the love you feel for her, and she’ll feel more apt to stay around I think.

      Also, it’s hard for friends who don’t suffer from depression to fully sympathize. It’s not their fault. Do you have a therapist or someone who can relate to talk to? That way, you can save more of those conversations for people who can help you more, and talk with her more about things that you can mutually relate to.

      Just some thoughts. And please remember: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

      You’ll pull out of this. Just stick in there and keep up your self work. :)

      • Sally says:

        Alana!

        I have been through Depression as well and I can certainly empathize with your situation.

        What really made me a bit said was the part where you say “She’s all I have” Alana she doesn’t have to be all you have and that’s unfair not only on you but on her as well, perhaps it might be a good idea to look at attending a support group for Clinical Depression in your area as well as finding other social outlets that are safe for you.

        I agree with everything Amy has said too..

        Sally x

  18. [...] Fire Your Friends: Drop the Negative People in Your Life is my #1 most popular post on this site. It gets a pretty good amount of traffic every day from people searching for: [...]

  19. Alycia says:

    I read this article and it seems similar to how I feel at this exact moment. I hope to get a response because the fear of not knowing what to do is a bit scary to me. Anyway, I’m twenty years old. I’ve always been “perfect.” Well, yesterday, I made my first mistake. I used my mother’s second car without permission and drove to see an old friend. This friend convinced me to do this. I would have never taken the car without her pleas. I should have taken control, right there. Then, she seemingly is bad luck when she is around. Nothing ever runs smooth, so the car started stalling once she got inside. It was fine before that. We ended up doing nothing but driving around, as she texted and complained about her boyfriend. We only walked into one store before the car problems started to give me paranoia. I knew the responsible thing to do would have been taken the car home. So, I tried explaining this to her and she only plagued me all day about “being a worrywart” and “freaking out.” Now, it is a day later, and I feel extremely distraught over the situation. Not to mention, it was an embarrassing experience to have the car repeatedly stall. What should I do?

    • Amy says:

      Hi Alycia. Thanks for leaving a comment here.

      Ok, so I’m going to throw some truth at you, even though it may not be what you want to hear.

      You chose to take the car, no matter what your if your friend nagged you or if she’s bad luck. In the end, it was still your choice.

      I think it’s more that you are scared of facing the ramifications of your actions alone. I don’t blame you!

      We all make mistakes. When I was 16, I totaled my car at a bridge toll station with 3 friends inside…. I wasn’t supposed to be driving friends. I tried to blame it on the weather and other distractions, but in the end, it was my actions that led me to that result.

      I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking, but I don’t have the full scope of the situation, so I’m not sure I can tell you what to do. If you don’t feel like this person is a good friend to have around you anymore (which is what I think you’re asking about), have you tried talking to her about it yet? Honestly, openly and ideally not in a car? ;)

      When it comes down to it, you are the only person that can and should make that decision. Go by how you feel and what you know to be true. And Alycia, you don’t have to be perfect all the time! It’ll wear you out, girl! Allow yourself to let your hair down sometimes. We can only control so much that goes on around us. Don’t let those instances in which you don’t have control overwhelm you.

      Hope this helps!

  20. Natan.S says:

    what do you think of my friendship module ?( ps:yes men have the same problem )

    The rule is that someone can be considerd a friend if he/she is on a min level 4 on all the 6 questions ( A-F ) ,here are the questions( keep in mind that they are subjective and that there is no absolute value )

    A: Things in common
    B: Gives me NOT a negative feeling ( -+- =+ )
    C: Able to talk to him/her
    D: Respects me
    E: Can trust him/her
    F: Can rely on him/her

    HERE ARE THE 1-6 VALUES

    6: Always ( 5 out of 10 (±) )
    5: Alot ( 4 out of 10 (±) )
    4: Decent ( 3 out of 10 (±) )
    3: Sometimes ( 2 out of 10 (±) )
    2: Rare ( 1 out of 10 (±) )
    1: NOT/NO ( 0 out of 10 )

    6{ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++
    5{ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++ ++
    4{ + + + + + +
    3{
    2{
    1{
    ————————
    A B C D E F

    • Amy says:

      I love that you’ve drafted that up! That’s a great guideline to follow! I would definitely agree with you that it’s subjective and there will always be exceptions to the rules, but it gives you a great roundabout idea of whether this friend is questionable or not.

      Thanks for sharing that with us! :)

  21. April says:

    Great thoughts on friendship. Question – What if realize (after it seems too late) that you are the negative Nellie? Okay, I am talking about myself here… I feel as if I have been the negative one so mnay times and often when I see it and start to turn it around … it seems noone is there. Also- along the same lines of friendship/negativity… What is the best way to avoid gossip? I have noticed I’ve been too passive to speak up or walk away, but hated listening to gossip and also ended up getting caught up in it… becoming a gossiper. yuck!

    Any thoughts? Thanks!

  22. mel says:

    I cut a guy out of my life by deleting him from fb. He already lived very far from me anyway. I deleted him because I was really interested in this person and obsessing over him. But he had so many negative traits, talked to me disrespectfully and I had lost respect for him also, yet I thought about him all the time, checked out his profile ten times a day and just couldn’t move on. Deleting him was the only way to move on. I sent a message explaining the truth “that I was thinking about him too much’ after I deleted him. It probably sounded like I was in love! I never got a reply and only silence so I don’t know if he was completely indifferent or pissed off. Guess I’ll never know now.

    • Amy says:

      Hey Mel!

      You did what you had to do, and you were nice enough to offer him explanation just in case he wanted to know. I don’t think you owe him anything else. Now, I believe you’ll be able to truly move on. :)

  23. Alisha says:

    Love this article. I think this is excellent advice no matter if you are a master socializer. This is an issue that I have always hesitated. I don’t know if it’s the fear of hurting the other persons feelings or what.

    I have tried to limit my contact with a lady that is very negative and emotionally draining. We have sons that are about the same age and it makes me happy to see them play together, but at the same time I am miserable because this lady complains about everything. At first I thought,”Oh maybe I could cheer her up.” WRONG, she needs therapy and the more I hang out with her I feel like I should charge her an hourly rate.

    The problem I feel about being honest with her and saying we can only discuss your problems for 10 minutes then lets talk about our sons or something else. But I feel she would take it the wrong way and it would send her over the deep end. Plus I am pregnant with twins and I truly dread when I get a text from her or she wants to get together.

    I am very happy that I had an opportunity with this relationship, it gave me guidelines that I will use in my future friendships and I am very clear on the qualities in a friend that I want now.

    • Amy says:

      Hey Alisha! Really glad you liked the article. I’m also happy to hear that you are grateful for what you learned from this difficult relationship. If we stand back and look at the parts of our lives that are or were trying, and ask ourselves what we learned from them, it’s much easier to see that everything truly does lead you to become stronger. :)

      As far as being honest with her, I totally get it. Saying to her that you only have 10 mins to talk might make it weird between the both of you and spending time with her might not be something you can get around if your kids are good friends. One thing I’ve tried in the past is limiting my reactions to the person who is spouting negativity.

      For example, I have a few trainer friends that are super-awesome people, but they tend to get complainy every now and again. When they do, I try to listen and offer advice where they ask for it, but beyond that, I keep my mouth shut. When they realize that they’re not getting what they want from you, they may learn that you’re not the person to talk to about it.

      If they don’t get the hint from the last step, you could try another thing I’ve tried in the past: I ask the person very bluntly, “What can I do to help you feel better about this situation?” or “What is it exactly that you hope talking to me about this will help you with? Do you just want me to listen, or are you hoping for me to help solve this problem for you?”

      Another option: “You talk about this quite a bit and if you don’t mind my prying, are you taking any steps to make this situation better?”

      All ideas, and obviously I don’t know your exact situation and I am not a mental health professional, so always take my ideas with a grain of salt. ;) I hope it helps!

  24. Hazel says:

    Hi Amy,
    I have had this one friend for 5 years, since I was 8 years old, I’m 13 now. Well, lets call her Jen, Jen and I have always relied on each other. I love her to death, but when we got into middle school, she went from sweet, smart and funny, to rude, dim and cruel. We both turned scene around 10 and we enjoy the same celebrities, music and fashion. We have some good memorise, but she brings me a lot of grief and self-doubt. She is concided beyond belief!
    Once, in 7th grade(last year), I had a condition where I couldn’t go out in the sun for too long (not a vampire XD). And I had to go up to my English teacher’s room while my gym class went outside. But this one day, it turned out that we were staying inside for gym. So my gym teacher sent Jen up to get me. As we were talking down the hall, having a normal conversation, she grabs me and pulls me into the bathroom with her. I was not amused and said, “We should be getting back to gym class.” She just stood there, fixing her hair, completely ignoring what I said and she said, “Damn! I look good!” I wanted to hit her so bad! I said, “It’s not good to be concided, you know. Just have a healthy respect for yorself!” She scolfed and said, “I love myself, I know I’m concided, deal with it.”
    She always gets her way with me. I think it’s because we used to have a friend that made me cry literally everyday and our friend would call me an “emo freak”, but we were only 8!
    Anyway, she always, always gets her way, basically with everyone. She has done the stupidest things, and whenever I ask why, she says, “Because YOLO!” She has recently become obsessed with yolo and it annoys me, I’ve told her it does. And she constintly acts ghetto! She also took to DIY piercing and she always gets infected! I told her, “I love you, don’t hurt yourself!” She got mad at me because she wanted me to give her boyfriend the “If you break her heart” speech and I knew he is a good guy so I told him up-front what she wanted me to do. And now, she uses it agaisnt me whenever she does something wrong. I try standing up to her, but I fear she is my only friend left, even though I know it’s not true.
    You have no idea how many times I have almost cut her off. My sister told me I should, so I can grow as a person, and leave my past where it belongs, in the past.
    Any advice?

    • Amy says:

      Hey Hazel!

      It’s tricky at your age: everyone is trying to find out who they are and sometimes they’ll act out. Though it will seem like they’re attacking you, their actions are actually coming from a lack of confidence and fear.

      I actually think that her love for herself isn’t that bad (I say what she did in the mirror to myself sometimes…jk ;)), it’s the way she treats you that worries me a bit. If it really makes you uncomfortable, or she treats you as if you’re less than anyone else (including herself), then you may need to say something to her. Thing is: it sounds like this girl wouldn’t take that talk in stride; she may freak out a bit.

      Is it possible to trial spending less time with her to see how you feel?

      Also, ask yourself what you’re getting from the friendship. Do you have other friends that you feel better hanging out with?

      Hope this helps, and don’t worry; I was the “emo freak,” too. Still am. ;)

      • Hazel says:

        Thanks Amy, I confronted her about the ghetto talk and she just says she uses it mockingly. She wrote me a letter and it kinda got me, she said, “Thank you for listening. No one else gives a fuck.” after a long letter about all her feelings. The other day on the bus, I was telling her about my dunce of a boyfriend and she just grabbed her cell phone and pulled up his number. She sent him a long text message (against my will) about wanting him to treat me with respect. Because the other day, he had a lazy day, so I thought it would be nice to talk to him for a while, I called him 3 times and he picked up the last time, AND TOLD ME HE WAS SITTING BY HIS PHONE, LETTING ME GO TO VOICEMAIL! So anyway, she sent him a four page text about it and told him to leave me alone, she said, “she took you back 4 times and you still treat her like shit!” She also told him , “No one messes with my Hazel!” Then I put my arm around her and she layed her head on my shoulder and I petted her hair and she said, “I haven’t been petted in so long, hehe.” And she came to me about boyfriend advice later, sadly, I’m closer with her boyfriend than she is. But all is well with us. My ex is gone, I don’t even know why I liked him, he wasn’t my type.
        And btw, two of the “preps” and I had to work on a proect together and I thought we’d bicker a lot, but after we were finished, they wanted to learn about emo and goth and such, it was a nice change from stuck-up people. :D

  25. Chris says:

    Ok. So seriously. You are unbelievably gifted at expressing yourself and somehow capturing the exact emotions I am going through to the T! I’m so thankful for finding this post because it’s like you went into my brain and heart and BAM just wrote a blog! So honestly, thank you. Ending a friendship is so hurtful and difficult. The thing is you know it’s too dysfunctional to keep alive, yet your heart still wishes it could have worked somehow. My main issue is that I am VERY strong-willed and I’ll drop someone if I see they are not a good friend. Some people think I’m harsh but I have the same philosophy as you, make more room for positive people. I know my worth. However, within my heart I do feel that sadness and wonder how others maintain friendships for years and most of the time, I attract people who aren’t loyal at all. I’ve almost given up on letting ppl in. I wonder if I dont screen people properly or if I’m too good of a friend and I shouldn’t even bother. LOL! Anyway, thank you for taking the time to write this awesome post and continue with the great work!!

    • Amy says:

      Hey Chris!

      Thank you so much for the kind words.

      Maybe your faulty friendships are coming out of the wrong places. Start considering how you are meeting these friends. Do you have similar interests? Do you just know the same people? How can you start making friends that are meaningful? Where would you find them? What would you do?

      Mapping all this info out for yourself could assist the creation of new, meaningful friendships. Hope it helps!

  26. Sayan says:

    Hey Amy,

    This is a great post…and so relevant at this point in my life.

    I’ve been realizing all too clearly these past few weeks, that most of my close friends and I just aren’t a great fit anymore. It’s very painful b/c these are people I’ve known for 10+ years. But what it comes down to is, I’m working on making positive moves in my life — staying healthy, working hard, building a business, etc. And they’re kind of just doing the same old thing, and each time I go out with them, I just feel completely the day after.

    And to add to that, I asked for a tiny bit of (moral) support for a goal I’m doing on stickk.com…and I got 2 responses out of 12 of my ‘close friends’. This is a major goal to hold myself to writing blog content…and I feel like no one has my back on it. I don’t know if they’re being negative, just don’t care much, or are actually really busy. But regardless it sucks.

    It’s nice to see other people have gone through similar things. Appreciate the work/writing that you put up here!

    • Amy says:

      Hey Sayan!

      I’m sorry you’re going through that right now. I know it’s tough to realize that your friends aren’t supportive like you deserve.

      As far as the support you’re receiving from the blog, I’ve found that many people don’t fully understand the blogging world, or don’t take it seriously. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, or a lack of support on their part. You may not have to cut them out. Just find that support from friends that DO understand… or make some here online! :)

      Happy to have you here as part of this community, Sayan. Keep going toward that goal! I know you can do it!

      • Sayan says:

        Hi Amy,

        Thanks for the feedback. I actually ended up speaking to a friend (not part of the group mentioned), and he said something similar to you — these friends may not understand my business goals that much so they aren’t being as helpful, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be there when I have serious personal or emotional issues to deal with. So maybe I am jumping the gun a bit with cutting them out so quickly:)

        With that being said, I hear you on the need to make friends with people who are aligned with my interests and goals. So I will definitely be working on that and the blog writing!

        (note: the last sentence of the 2nd para. was supposed to say “I just feel completely drained the day after”)

  27. Louis says:

    I can totally relate to all of this and I thank the author of the post for describing what has been part of my life:the runaway defense mechanism. I’m a person that tends to avoid conflict but at the same time if I had an argument with a so-called friend and they didn’t seem to take our friendship seriously enough to adress it I just erase them completely from my life. I’m talking here about friends you meet online on forums and that kind of stuff and you also have them on MSN and/or Facebook, etc. I would just have this liberty and the feeling of getting rid of people, that according to my standards, didn’t give me the kind of friendship or appreciation I was looking for. Then after a while I would start having feelings of guilt and regret and wanted to go back to talking to this people because I thought I did wrong on dissapearing from their lives without an explanation. Recent events in my life compelled me to write a reply on this post because now I’m facing this yet again.

    I had an argument with this girl. She’s the kind of person that would get mad at you and exhibit a passive agressive behavior and when confronted she would just deny it. One day I got fed up of this attitude because I said to myself:”You’re her friend and if she can’t be honest with you and tell you what is wrong it’s not worth it anymore”. I totally disappeared from her life. Blocked her on Facebook and MSN. I recognize I did all of this out of anger and frustration that somebody I considered a friend would act so childish as to act like I did something wrong yet she couldn’t tell me what it was and just kept denying it.

    Months passed and everything was going well. Recently I started having this feelings of guilt again. I couldn’t stop thinking that I did something wrong when I left and from so much pressure I decided to contact her. I logged on Facebook and searched for her name to write her a message. Basically I wrote an apology for leaving like that. I didn’t say the exact reasons of leaving, though. I also said I wished, even though I know is unlikely, to keep in touch with her at least on FB. It’s been almost two days and no reply from her. Deep down I knew this scenario could play out but I’m a little stubborn and I wasn’t going to feel well until I told her “Im sorry” I’m still wondering if I did the right thing. I mean, I miss her. I wouldn’t be talking to her if I didn’t. Sometimes I feel like no matter what I say things won’t chaange but at the same time I feel relieved that I tried. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Sorry for the long reply. LOL

    Thanks for this wonderful post!

    • Amy says:

      My pleasure, Louis. I’m really glad it gave you some comfort to read.

      With your situation, the important things are that you A) apologized, and B) are now aware of that pattern so you can stop it in the future. You can’t change what has happened, but you can avoid this sense of guilt in the future.

      Best of luck!

  28. Louis says:

    Thanks for the reply, Amy!

    Yeah, I can say I’ve learned and I’m still learning. After all, life’s full of situations that sometimes we can control but sometimes we just can’t. The best thing we can do is learn from everything the lesson it has to offer and to never make the same mistake twice. That’s the purpose of it all. I enjoy your blog very much and I thank you again for helping others with your good advice.

    • BB says:

      Louis,
      I think you made the right choice in ending the friendship. I too had a passive-aggressive friend, and her digs kept getting more personal, attacking the things I loved the most, which caused me a lot of hurt and depression. As we had competitive businesses, I think the root of her malice was jealousy. Though we’d been friends for 8 years, I finally ended the relationship the same way you did. I think it’s futile to confront a passive aggressive as they’ll merely deny any fault. Like you, I sometimes miss the positive aspects of the friendship, but, overall, I’m happier without her in my life. Life is hard enough. Who needs a frenemy constantly dishing out hurtful criticism?

  29. Susan says:

    I very much enjoyed your article and all of the comments. I am in a “friendship” that is extremely negative and have wanted to break away for a couple of years now. What’s holding me, so to speak, is that this “friend” is a single mom (our children are close in age) and I feel bad for her at times. But it has become a burden on my mind and I am tired of being dragged down into her negativity. My son (who is 7)has even begun to express his dislike of her daughter. She is extremely confrontational and I have seen her be hostile when she feels that she is being wronged. I am at a loss as to how to end things.

    • Amy says:

      Hey Susan!

      This is a tricky situation because your son is involved as well. Since I don’t have children myself, all I can do is offer you advice that isn’t sure to work, but I can try. :)

      Can you slowly start limiting your time with her? Maybe make commitments somewhere else?

      Or you can be straight with her: tell her in the most un-confrontational manner you can muster that her hostility is rubbing you the wrong way.

      Be careful with hostile people, though. Act from that place of love and kindness, though, and it will be hard for her to find fault in your concerns. :)

  30. BB says:

    A wonderful article. You’ve given me a lot to think about. I have several writer friends whom I’ve known for more than ten years. After the publication of my novel in May, I received no support or feedback from these friends–not even a congratulations. One of them started ignoring me on FB. Another removed me as a friend. Their silence has been more painful than any criticism could be. I’ve been unable to edit the second book in the series out of fear that something is wrong with the first book. I woke up this morning, wondering if I should end these friendships and remove these people from my FB page.

    • Amy says:

      Hi BB!

      Thanks for sharing your story with us. I know that couldn’t have been easy. :)

      It sounds like the pain you have is making your lack of confidence in your own writing that much more prominent. Is there any way you can reach out to an editor, a teacher or professor you trust, or even someone who is simply well-schooled in literature to ask them to give it a quick read? Getting an outside opinion from someone else can put your fears to rest and help steer you in the direction of clearer writing if that’s the case.

      As far as your friends go, have you asked them about the defriending business? If they are truly friends, that’s one instance where I (personally) would send them a message or give them a call to see if I had offended them in any way, or if something was going on at home that I didn’t know about. I know it’s a very scary thing and it would almost be “easier” to just not ask so you never know, but I’m sure that would be a worse fate than the quick rip of the bandaid. Know what I mean?

  31. Sophie says:

    I found out my ‘best friend’ always complained about me to my bf and told him I slept with loads of people. Which isnt even true. And just saying things to effect our relationship. I lost it and cut her out but she keeps tryin to act all sweet and get back in contact. Im trying to.stick to my guns.because there’s many times she’s really annoyed me during our friendship. But we were close. I dont know what to do. There are so many mutual friends and many who dont understand. hiIt’s nice to read some thing on the subject that is written by some one more understanding. It is a hard think to do but it’s not always the wrong thing to do. There’s someone I’d been friends with for years. And we were so close and she’s bubbly and fun. But has always been very demanding. I was expected to drop every thing to help.her do some thing she should have been abke to.do herself. And the favour was never returned. I was expected to pay for every thing without a ‘thank you’. She’d put me down infront of other people. I think
    she thrives on making people feel awkward and uncomfortable. She showed little respect for my belongings or privacy. Invited herself to every thing and was always very intusive.

  32. Sophie says:

    I wrote the previous comment on my phone and it kept messing up. I’m talking about the same person throughout and my question is…how do you continue to cut some one out (when you’ve thought it through and told them why) who KEEPS trying to be all sweet and contact you all the time and you live in a small town so you keep bumping into each other. And so many mutual friends who expect you to talk to her. Urgh! Even the thought of her makes me feel so angry and sick but whenever i hear from her it reminds me of her and makes me miss her but also still feel SO angry and urgh. Do I just continue to ignore. I already exploded and told her i want nothing more to do with her because of all the things shes done. But she knows if she keeps saying she missis me and acting sweet that our mutual friends will think she’s some innocent victim. And im not one to run around sayin bad things about her. Im 22 i want to start to grow and evolve without her. But this is just….urgh. Thank you x

    • Amy says:

      Hi Sophie!

      Damn you, autocorrect! ;) I know how that is, don’t worry. :)

      It sounds like cutting this girl out of your life is something you’ve wanted to do for quite a while now. It makes it really tough when you live in a small town and you keep bumping into her I’m sure.

      I liken this situation to getting healthy in an unsupportive environment. Say everyone around you is still eating crap, not exercising, and being happy in their declining health. If you really want to be healthy, you will find a way. You have to have the courage to (kindly) tell the people around you who are trying to sway you otherwise that this is truly the best move for you. Ensure them that you have given this much thought, and you would really appreciate their support for your decision. It doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with them.

      Similarly, think of your ex-friend as “soda.” Soda is bad for you. Period. But a lot of us love the taste of it while we have it, knowing that it’s devastating to our health all the while. If you think she’s a poisonous friend, one of the best ways you can get her out of your life is to tell her very calmly and from a place of love that you don’t know if you can forgive her for what she did, but you need the time to consider it without her constant attempts at persuading you to take her back. This will also allow you more time to think about whether or not you CAN forgive her after all.

      Questions to ask yourself before you cut her out for good:
      - Do you think she’d do this to you again?
      - Can you trust her?
      - What do you gain from this friendship that you would lose if you do cut her out completely?
      - What do you stand to gain if you DO cut her out completely?
      - Could it have been your boyfriend telling the lies, and not her?

      Now, don’t worry about writing the answers here. These are personal questions to consider for you and you alone.

      I hope all that helps. Wishing you the best through this difficult time, Sophie!

      Stay strong,

      Amy

  33. Jean says:

    It was extremely gratifying to see this article. I recently cut off ties with a friend who drained my energy and happiness. She always made small cutting remarks to the point where even my husband noticed it. I refused to talk to her anymore and I cannot believe how content I feel. Thank you for sharing this knowledge with others.

  34. Sadie says:

    My problem isn’t a friend, it’s more like my mom. She is so negative about everything. I live in a completely different state than her and whenever I want to talk to her it will take weeks to get ahold of her. Finally, after weeks of blowing her phone up she will answer then proceed to talk for hours about her and what she’s going thru. I never can get a word in about me and my life. It’s like she doesn’t want to hear about me or even care about me at all. I wish I could have a good relationship with my mom, but at this point I’m not sure if I even want her around. I know this is a website about cutting negative people out ,but I am not sure what to even do about this situation. Should I do to her what she does to me, or just forget about a relationship with her at all. I don’t know anymore.

    • Amy says:

      Hi Sadie!

      Since this is your mom we’re talking about, I wouldn’t recommend you simply cut her out.

      Have you voiced your concerns to her? Maybe she’s just so excited to talk to you that she wants to make sure she’s let you know everything. She probably doesn’t even know she’s doing it.

      Also, it sounds like you may have to just try interjecting your status updates into the conversation to be heard. It might feel unnatural, but I bet it will work. I’ve had to do that on more than one account with my own Mom. :)

      I hope this is a case of misunderstanding as I perceive it to be. Try being open and loud! :)

  35. Melissa says:

    I’ve been reading into guilty feelings lately about cutting a friendship off with no explaination. I have read this blog and I will take this information with me from now on. I have cut a friend off for bringing me into her depression and lost many of my best friends because of this one friend and i slowly stopped hanging out as much and once she realized things where not the same I had to tell her that things aren’t fixable for us and that if she cant care for others like i cared for her then it won’t ever work.
    We no longer speak and my best friends let me back into their lives with open arms. But its been 8 months and im still feeling like i should have done more to explain myself because she is dragging another person who she replaced me with down with her like she did me. I’ve moved on and im much happier. I just feel bad because i invested alot of time into our friendship at one point in time.
    ANYWAY thank you for posting this it was very helpful!
    -Melissa

    • Amy says:

      Melissa, I’m glad that you’re making that space for happiness in your life. Depression is really tricky; she may not have known how she was affecting you, so I’m glad you got to talk it out with her. I’m sure it wasn’t a personal choice not to care.

      It is so important to stand up for your own well-being. Guilt will come because of the history you have with her, but you have to remind yourself of the “why.” I’m so glad to hear that you’ve moved on and are happier now. :)

    • Billy says:

      Hi, I think you did a very good thing for you. I had to cut someone out of my life as well, a terrible liar. After years of being her friend, I realised that everything she comes in contact with goes sour. I still hang around with mutual friends. Do not worry about that other person, I do not worry about my mutual friends any more. Certainly now that I know they even knew before I did. They know what happend and chose to still be around this person. I had to learn to let go.
      That person you want to save has to find his/her way, you cannot save them. I will not bad mouth her, neither should you. But, I did warn a person who is very important to me and who did not know. I also told this person that I will not ever mention her again and that it is up to her what she does with this information.

      You totally remind me of me, you are most likely an empath. That is exactly the reason why she was in your life. But do forgive.. evrytime you feel anger, forgive. It is for and about you.

  36. [...] of my first steps in recovery was deciding to cut the people out of my life who didn’t add to my happiness or left me feeling [...]

  37. [...] of my first steps in recovery was deciding to cut the people out of my life who didn’t add to my happiness or left me feeling [...]

  38. Darren says:

    I have been struggling to break off a friendship and have read your post before. I attempted to talk it out with a friend and they still haven’t really changed. It turns into a sob story about how everyone is awful to her. I feel it is a control mechanism to make me feel pity for her and like it’s my responsibility to be nice since no one else will. Thing is, I don’t have to see her at all and she has cut me out before to return when she felt like it. It’s not fair to me and I have said that. She is still annoying me with her negativity, judgmental ways and I ended up cutting her off last month. She now texts me and pulls the I don’t know what I did and I’m sorry story. I have told her before why and she just doesn’t see that she is repeating the pattern. Is this where I just ignore her because I’m over going around in circles when it’s clear she won’t change?

    • Amy says:

      This is where you decide if you want that person in your life or not. It sounds like you’ve clearly stated to her that you’re not interested in that kind of behavior. Perhaps it’s time to try distancing yourself. I have an inkling that that’s what you want to do…

  39. This is so true. I had to do this about 3 years ago with a small group of “friends” that were not good for me or my goals. Let me tell you, the change on my life was immediate. It was hard, but some times it’s the only way.

    • Amy says:

      Glad you did, Roberto. I bet your life is better for it. :)

      • Roberto says:

        It is! And just as a quick update… one of those friends I had to let go, looked me up after all this time. She told that about a year after I separated my self from that group, she did the same thing. Her life changed for the better, and we are know great friends again. That goes to show that not everyone is a bad apple.

  40. Zabra says:

    Amy, thank you for a very insightful article. The points you make are spot on, I kept imagining my friend, I will refer to her as M, as I read your post.

    I met M two years ago at the restaurant where we work, we became friends almost immediately after I started working there. Rarely would a day go by that I wouldn’t see her outside of work. I was drawn to her charm, intelligence, and sweetness. At the beginning, she was very supportive of my endeavors and made me feel great about myself. After about a year of seeing her, she told me that she is an alcoholic. This never once deterred me from wanting to be her friend, but after she admitted that she was an alcoholic, she became more comfortable with getting drunk around me when I would visit her home. The cat was out of the bag, so to speak. She would call and text me nightly asking me to come to her house, and I would go every time. I didn’t really understand severity of the impact she was having on my mental health. I felt obligated as her friend to be with her when she was intoxicated. I was partly worried that something awful would happen to her, and part of me was also very lonely, and I needed to have someone to care for.

    Late last year the cold, hard truth struck me. I was an enabler. By being there for her when she was drunk and helping her use the bathroom, or walk up the stairs to her apartment, I was letting her know that I was OK with her alcoholism. I never said anything about it, I didn’t have the guts to. I would listen to her problems and respond with constructive advice. The proverbial last straw on the camel’s back was one night when my dad was in the ER because of heart problems, I reached out to M. I was sad, anxious, and incapacitated by concern for my dad’s health. I called M, and she was extremely intoxicated, so much that she couldn’t even understand what I was saying. That night I learned that this relationship was completely one-sided. I could comfort her, but I couldn’t expect to be comforted in return.

    Sorry for the long post, Amy. But this brings me to my plea for help from you: I NEED this friendship to end. She has chosen not to seek help for her alcoholism. Therefore, I need to end my relationship with her. It is hindering me from living a positive life. How can I tell her this? I feel so guilty, because I understand that alcoholism is a serious disease. But I can’t do this anymore.

    • Amy says:

      Oh, Zabra. I’m so sorry to hear about your Father’s heart problems and this tough situation that you’re in right now. My heart goes out to you.

      You sound like a very kind-hearted person. Is there a way to start enabling her to find help? What I mean by that, is having a sit-down talk with her in which you let YOUR cat out of the bag. Tell her you’re worried about her, and that you are having a hard time handling it all on your own. Be sure to come from a place of love for her as you speak, and hopefully she’ll understand that you are looking out for her health; not attacking her.

      If you want to help her, look up AA meetings that are close by, do a little research into overcoming addiction, and find some names of people who are trained in helping people with alcoholism to have at the ready when you talk. This may just be the wakeup call that she needs, but you must be careful in how you go about it.

      You have the choice to try to help her, or to simply leave, and that’s up to you. It sounds to me like you want to see her get better. You may be the only one in her life that could help her realize this.

      Tell her you’re worried. Tell her you love her. Tell her you want her to live her life without relying on alcohol to cloud it. Tell her there is hope. There is. She can do this, and you can help her through it if you choose to.

      I hope that helps, and I wish you much luck and peace as you step into this next chapter of your relationship.

  41. norma says:

    Hello So here I am trying to find a way to completely cut of a “friend” who I tryed cutting her off by not answering her and her sisters calls and text , I had been noticing and being told by mutual friends how stupid I was to let this best friend of mine keep using me by borrowing my clothes and never returning them borrowing my new heels and the 1s she would return were scraped and the rest she “lost” also my expensive lipsticks that after 3, 4, and 5 it adds up … she let her little girl brake my sons DS! And seemed to not care she had me babysit her 2 baby girls and while she would ask the men she went out with for money for babysitter she woukd never pay me, i am a freelance makeup artist so she would take advantage knowing how close we were to ask me to do her makeup every day she wanted to party and never offered to pay me I also made her a baby shower when she was pregnant with her little girl and let her live at my place for a whole month without asking her for a penny even when I babysat for her almost everyday for her to go out with different guys and when I did tell her sisters in a conversation that they brought up about her being irresponsible I said yes she needs to stop going out as much and be more responsible with her job!! That somehow got to her and she wrote to me on fb saying if that’s how I thought about her then we should stop talking but that made me mad to c how she wouldn’t see everything I did for her!! But even after that being cleared out I kept being there for her taking her food days she felt sick letting her borrow money for gas in wich she never payed me back and last time we hung out on jan/18/13 it was for her birthday I was undecided if to go or not because I knw how she don’t work for about 3 months already and she was going to expect for my hubby to pay for hers and all of her friends drinks and entrance to the club and she did do just as i thought she said please have him pay ill pay him back when my guy friend gets here well we spend a few bills that night and even after the club they got “hungry” that was the last straw and what made me realize how this person is only my friend to use me but when shes done a favor in the past like giving me a ride to a place where she had to go too i payed her gas money and still was throwing it in my face over fb … this what i said is not everything i have done alot more like bying her and her 2 babygirls xmas pressents bday partys and pressents and never got 1 in return… and well like i said since i cut her off i deactivated my fb and I start getting phone calls from my cousins that have her asking me if I and my so called “bestie” were mad i said no we havnt talked but were not mad why? And so they read to me all the BS status she had been updating saying how fake friends envied her and how she lended a hend and this fake friend took advantage of it saying how this fake friend was unhappy with her life and envied her happyness etc etc and so on… I mean I stopped talking to her for 1 week &1/2 and she starts saying all this just because I don’t want to answer her calls? Omg she has truly never lended me a hand never I was always there for her and somehow she don’t see that! I have 3 kids I’m a stay at home mom to a hard working man that gives me everything (not to mention my recent breast augmentation ) :-) I am very happy and I don’t need or desire to have her life partying every single night with different men and having a different guy pay her bills all the time .. I honestly don’t need that because I have 1 guy that does that for me and he is mine only:-)… we talked 2 nights ago she asked my babysitter to have me call her and so when I did call her she acted like she hadn’t said anything on her fb she was just a bit confused and so I explained to her a needed a brake and I actually felt very very relived with my brake off friends and fb she asked if she can come visit I said I was going to be very busy and so I said I’ll call u 2marrow from my hubby cell cuz mine isn’t” working”n I haven’t returned her call.. what should I do when we finally talk I feel like I can’t tell her anything because she believes everything she does is correct and she is so close minded she wont listen to me if I tell her she is doing wrong.. please any advise??

    • Amy says:

      Hi Norma!

      Wow. That’s a LOT of drama. It sounds like you know exactly what you need to do, it just might be scary to think about actually doing it.

      You have to keep in mind why you don’t want to be friends with her. What’s worse? Staying friends and letting her walk all over you, or not talking and seeing her sad cries for attention on Facebook? Maybe de-friend her there as well.

      It doesn’t matter what she says, does or thinks if you choose not to let it matter to you. None of what’s happening is fair to you. So put an end to it.

      There’s a point when enough is enough… and it seems like you’re way past it. Let this go. I can tell you don’t want it and it’s dragging you down. Rip the bandaid off already.

      • norma says:

        Thank you so much I really appreciate it :) sorry I got carried away when talking about it I guess I hadn’t had the time to really get in to talking about it to anyone.. I did call her last night just explained to her I want time to get myself emotionally stable for things that are happening in my life and I hope she understood and so now I feel like I can breath and very relived thanks again :)

        • Amy says:

          No worries! Don’t be sorry for getting it out. It sounds like you needed to :)

          Glad you’re getting your space now. Happy Breathing!

  42. Dotcom says:

    I agree with cutting ties with draining, negative, and/or crazy people. I don’t agree telling them why is always the right thing. If they have destructive personalities, they can simply amplify things and make life even more hellish. This doesn’t mean you can’t be assertive and make it clear the friendship is over. There are lots of ways to do that, though without feeling entitled to explaining yourself to others. Not all people deserve one. It is all a case-by-case situation.

    • Amy says:

      You have a good point there. I didn’t think about it that way, but you’re right. In certain cases, it’s probably best if you just avoid the drama. Thank you for that! :)

  43. Raymond says:

    Hi. I stumbled across your post by typing in how to let go of a so called friend that constantly uses you out of your life, and I’ve found some interesting comments and advise here. I guess, let me start by explaining the situation so as to give you a better overstanding of what I’m dealing with. This young lady that I once considered a friend of sorts for 6 yrs started showing interest in me beyond the friend zone and constantly made comments of this because I was involved in relationship at the time that she felt wasn’t healthly for me. Her honest confession was that she really wasn’t planning on getting involved with me on an intimate level, but rather felt the need to “distract” me from this other woman and we became more than just friends for a few months now. I guess the messed up thing is that she had an on again/off again man that was away on business when we began to see each other intimately and I was going through a terrible break up and we became close sexually. Once I totally removed my ex from my thoughts and my life I put that energy towards my friend that would constantly remind me that “she has a bf that she loves” and that we were nothing more than just friends, but she would invite me spend the night with her or even weekends at her home and we did everything together like an actual couple. But then I began to notice that I was actually putting more energy into our relationship as far as catering to her needs, wants, and demands while when I would ask for the same in return I would only get excuses as to why she couldn’t do those things for me in return and the fact that she still quote/unquote had “a man” and that she did not want to jeopardize her relationship with him because she truly loved him and she only saw me as a friend, but enjoyed the attention and pampering that I gave her on a daily basis. So I continued to do these things because by now I had fallen in love with her (which I also expressed) and she continued to let me spoil her even though she claimed that our friendship means more to her than our intimacy and that she could separate the two and step back in “friend mode” when necessary and I, on the other hand, could not. I’ve felt early on in our relationship, and still do til this day that she used the fact that I had fallen in love with her to fill the void of what her bf could or would not and she never truly had any feelings for me beyond being friends, but the attention she was receiving was hard to let go of. Now she’s acting very distant and we don’t talk unless she needs something and where we used to text back and forth, now she responds to my texts hours after the fact or not at all. And then we she does text me it’s short acronyms instead of words. The sad thing is that we’ve gone back and forth about this and how it makes me feel and she constantly apologizes, invite me over for dinner and sex, then the next couple of days she’s back to doing the same thing, but uses the excuse that “she has a lot going on” as the cause of her behavior. I’m truly tired, hurt, and I feel really used and I want to cut ties with her all together because honestly, she’s slowly distancing herself from me by calling me less and sending strange texts out of the blue just to say that she did reach out to me….so what do I do at this point?

    • Amy says:

      Hi Raymond. I’m going to give you the truth here, even if it’s not what you want to hear: it seems like she’s pushing you away because the relationship is getting to intimate for her. She’s warned you that she’s in love with her boyfriend and that all she wants is a friendship. It sounds like her mind is set and you may not be able to change it.

      My words of advice would be this: move on. You may have to distance yourself from her to heal. You are not her servant, available at beckon call whenever she deigns to reach out. You must look out for yourself as well. I don’t know if this relationship is the best thing for you.

      I hope that helps, and please know to take this advice with a grain of salt; I don’t know the full spectrum of the situation.

      • Willie says:

        Hi Amy, this is Willie aka Raymond (which is my middle name) and yesterday I decided to move on from my relationship with her intimately and as a friend. From day one our relationship was always one-sided with me giving more than I was receiving in return, not that I was really looking for anything material-wise, but I at least expected for her to treat me with the same affection and with as much conviction as I gave her, not only as a lover, but most importantly as a friend. I constantly showered her with gifts, rushed to be with her whenever she called and I would literally drop everything to cater to her needs and wants. I would text her every morning with positive words and what ever she needed from me I never hesitated to give, whether it was money, gifts, sex, positive energy and so forth. So my final test for her yesterday was to not reach out to her at all because normally I would check on her because she had been going through some difficult times, and I’ve been by her side since day one, even before we decided to take things further in our relationship. She would usually call me as soon as she got off from work, but yesterday there was no call. So I guess about a couple of hours later she sent a text asking me how I was? I replied that I was cool and then she never replied back. So, by this time I’m like she’s acting exactly like what she just apologized to me for a couple of days prior, and said that she was very sorry and that I didn’t deserve to be treated in the manner of how she’s been treating me, but here she is again pulling the same ole stunts. So I get dressed and go to the barber shop and she calls me while I’m in the chair and I don’t answer. She leaves no message and I decided that I would not return her call to see what she wanted just to see if she will call back or text because I didn’t respond. Well guess what? No call, no text, no anything from her and that’s when I made up my mind that I’m truly not a factor in her life regardless of how much I’ve held her down these past few months. Her actions over time were pretty obvious and she was well aware of how horribly she has treated me and even once told me that she believes that I’m going to eventually end up hating her for how she’s been treating me. But guess what? I wouldn’t even give her the satisfaction of controlling my life like that through hating her. I know for a fact that I was an awesome friend and lover to her, but she’s used to being used so I guess she figured she’ll take it out on me to make herself feel better? Either way it’s her lost and I don’t need that type of person in my life pretending to be a friend when really all she wanted was a play toy until her bf decided to act right. But you are absolutely right, that relationship is not the best thing for me and I don’t even plan on confronting her about her actions. Her absence only opens the door for someone to enter that truly respects me and want to be with me. Thank You once again for your wisdom. I knew that I needed to distance myself, but I couldn’t let go. But the sad thing is that she had already let go of me first.

        • Amy says:

          It is sad, yes, but you’re right: this is opening another door to someone who will love you as you deserve to be loved. This is one of those instances in which you’ll look back and ask, “Why did it take me so long?” and “Now I see why I went through that; so it could teach me _____.”

          I wish you every happiness as you continue down this path. You’re doing the right thing. Stay strong.

  44. Sharon says:

    The sad thing is realizing that I truly have no friends.. It’s not all about friends but a true friend is hard to find..I’ve lost so much in my life from my mother father and brother in the space of 2 years .. And the sad thing is I’m always the good friend , my hubby and I were going true some really hard time financially … I don’t get any assistant from the Gov or state ,,, due to the fact of his job.. And not one of my so called friends that I ask for help came true for me .. My lesson is well learn…lol.. My circle is small and I love it like that.. Ppl by nature will disappoint you … God first family next..

    • Amy says:

      Hi Sharon! I’m really sorry to hear about your recent troubles, but I’d like to respectfully disagree: I don’t think people are disappointing by nature. It may seem like that now, but it won’t always be that way unless you project that expectation onto others. I’m not saying by any means that you weren’t wronged, or that those friend may not be the right ones for you, but I think you know since you have those close friends (I’m the same way keeping a tight-knit small circle :)), that people aren’t all bad. Please hang in there, and keep the faith. Remember: God made them, too. :)

      Wishing you every happiness,

      Amy

  45. Andrew says:

    I came across this article when looking for ways to eliminate some friends in my life. I still don’t know what to do. I have this one guy whom I’ve known for a few years. We used to have some good times but lately his behavior is becoming more and more offensive, to the point I don’t want him even coming over to my house anymore or I don’t want to see him in public. He just turned 21 and is becoming a drunk and making fun of it (he drank 24 beers in 6 hours and says that it was fun). I was there helping him get out of a terrible relationship, which he finally did, but then almost immediately got into another one where the girl drinks as much as he does. He is terribly inconsiderate, making plans with another friend of mine and leaving me out all the time. He cannot admit when he is wrong, and it is always someone else fault, never his problem. Any time I mention something, he always shrugs his shoulder and says ok, like saying too bad you feel that way but I’m never wrong.
    So why do I keep him around? Because I only have two friends, he is one and my best friend is his best friend. So I can’t just cut him without damaging the other friendship. Then they’ll both be gone and I will be utterly alone and depressed. No matter what I choose here, I’m going to be damaged severely. I either put up with bad, immoral, immature behavior and have people in my life, or make a break and have no one. And before anyone chimes in, you can’t make friends where I live. Time and location and circumstances prevent any new friends and moving is out of the question.

    • Amy says:

      Hmmmm. Ok, Andrew. You’ve presented me with somewhat of a riddle here…

      Are you sure that, if you stopped talking to these people, the result would be depression and loneliness? It sounds like they’re having quite a negative impact on you as it stands now. How do you know it will get worse if you cut the relationship? What if it’s ok to be alone for a little bit to establish how you are willing to be treated?

      There are other choices for friendships, too. There are support groups online, sports teams in neighboring counties to join, etc. I know you say moving is not an option, but then I ask you, why? If you are miserable where you are, would a change of atmosphere be a horrible thing? If you’re in school, I can understand, but then therein lies your answer to making other friends. Schools have tons of people to make friends with. You just have to open yourself up to those opportunities (which is scary, I know).

      I think it comes down to determining how you are willing to be treated, then taking action to create that reality. If you don’t want people to treat you that way, separate yourself. I find it hard to imagine an instance in which new friends are not possible.

      If nothing else, try talking to a trusted professor, counselor or maybe even therapist. It’s helped me a lot when I’m faced with a difficult situation. I bet it would help you, too. :)

      I hope that helps, and please know that I don’t know the full spectrum of the situation, so take this advice with a grain of salt please. :)

  46. Janelove says:

    I cut off my ex who I dated for 2 months found out I was only being used as a rebound.. Sad thing we were good friends for 5 years prior. I can’t ever forgive him for the pain he’s put me through. I haven’t spoken to him in over a yea. The day I cut him off I felt a big weight of poison leaving my life.

    • Amy says:

      I’m happy to hear that you felt that weight lifted off you, Janelove, but at the same time, I’m sorry to hear that you were treated that way. Good for you for sticking up for yourself. You’re worth more than that.

  47. Anna says:

    Loved the article! I am having some issues regarding whether I should delete these “toxic” friends.. or should I say people because they aren’t my friends anymore from Facebook. Basically the only reason why they are still there is because I am in denial (like I can’t believe this could be the end of our friendship!) and because I want to see what they are up to and I want them to see what i’m up to. Its so stupid! To be honest i’m so over this game. It makes me feel so angry and frustrated and depressed.

    I see the two of them hanging out together, posting photos on FB and i’m going insane trying to work out what i’ve done! Its like they’ve just completely binned me. I know I haven’t done anything wrong. One of them in particular has treated me terribly for many years. She will msg me saying let’s go out and then never get back to me about details.

    Will it look immature if I delete these people off my FB? I’m just so sick of playing this game!

    • Amy says:

      Hey Anna!

      Ohhhhhh Facebook. So much fun and so much stress! I don’t know everything about your history with these people, so I can’t say for sure, but it seems like you’re leaning toward deleting them. If you don’t delete them, maybe consider hiding their updates? Nothing wrong with that. :)

      Either way, they probably aren’t meaning to make their flakiness a personal attack. If you’re tired of it, though, don’t waste your time! Just do a little hiding. You’re the only one that’ll know :)

  48. Lauren says:

    Hi Amy,
    Your post was exactly what I was looking for. I have a friend who is very toxic, and whatever I do, she always tries to bring me down. She and I have been friends for 9 years. We went to high school together, college together, and have even worked together. She’s very jealous of me and anyone who has something that she wants. We used to have a great time together, until I got engaged to my now husband. He and I were together for four years before getting engaged. Coincidentally, she and her boyfriend got engaged three months after we did. She and her now husband have been competing with us ever since. We are always nice to them, but yet they are always condescending to us. My husband even helped her husband get a job, and now we feel like that backfired, because her husband is trying to out-do mine. What do you think of this situation? How do we go about cutting ties?

    • Amy says:

      Hi Lauren! Thanks for having the courage to open up here so that your story can help someone else. We really appreciate it.

      Bottom line: if they keep acting that way, stop talking to them! What’s the point? Start distancing yourself or at least speak up about the way they treat you. It’s completely unfair that they’re taking advantage of your kindness. Actively helping people who just keep hurting you is a form of self-sabotage. To clear your life of that nastiness, you may have to cut them off or limit the time you spend with them as much as possible.

  49. Apex says:

    I read this hoping to understand my situation as a person who was effectively (albeit coldly) completely cut loose by one of my very best friends. One day, about a year and a half ago, she just stopped speaking to me without any explanation as to why. I tortured myself looking for answers, trying to imagine what I could’ve done to deserve this and I’m not saying that in vain, I really did some soul searching. I even apologized to her via e-mail a few times quite profusely. She was such a good friend that if I wronged her in any way, I was totally willing to accommodate her.

    I agree with a lot of the points of this blog but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in a trial-by-fire sense, it’s that cutting someone out looks like passive aggressiveness and resentment to the other person. Maybe gradually drifting is sometimes more key to getting rid of closer people or talking about issues for some kind of resolve. Even though it’s been ages since we spoke, I sincerely miss my friend and have always hoped that at the very least she would explain to me why we aren’t friends any longer.

    • Amy says:

      Hi Apex!

      I’m really sorry to hear that that happened to you. Try this post as well.

      Your situation is exactly why I suggest people try to talk it out with their friends before leaving the relationship. I think it’s better for both parties to work things out, or at least get closure.

      I hope you still have a good support system without her. Stay strong, Apex. Maybe she wasn’t meant to be in your life at this time.

    • new girl says:

      i am not sure if you will get to read this but i cut off a friend i have had since middle school because she has a drug addiction (she doesnt call it that, but i do) she will take a sleeping pill before we were about to go out for the night.

      she would get mad at me if i do something like tell her i dont want to hang out with her and the guy she is sleeping with at his house, even though i offer alternatives where he is included

      she was also mad at me when i told her she was wrong for cheating on her boyfriend. she said i was on his side. just writing all this out (i have never done this before) justifies my decision to cut her loose.

      the last straw is when she started a loud public argument with me…i actually joined in and i wasnt myself.

      when we were arguing, she told me i was boring, uptight and that the guy she was sleeping with was a way better friend than i was…i was soo shocked.

      i am not saying i am perfect by a long shot but i always try to be respectful of my friends and the people that i am around.

      i say all this to say, has your former friend changed in any way? has she matured, if she has then she would not be willing to take the same treatment that she had in the past.

      this isnt just for you but for everyone to read, a friendship must mature with the people or it wont work.

  50. ejones says:

    I have been “Friends” with a girl since 4 grade even after moving 12hrs away in 8th grade and only seeing her twice since then, now im 21. We talk off and on but I really don’t agree with her life style choices (dating a married man.. etc) I want to put the past behind me and be done with her but don’t want to regret it either! ugh this is a tough topic.

    • Amy says:

      I think what’s important is reminding yourself of why you are friends with this person NOW. If it comes down to nostalgia alone, I think it may be time to move on. Have you tried to talk to her about what bothers you?

  51. lucas keeton says:

    Thanks for the help. I’ve had a friend for the past year has been constantly being a jerk to me around my other friends. He’s a bit of a follower as well. He’s one of those people that judges a book by it’s cover. He’ll like someone one day and hate them the next. Thanks for the tips. I hope it improves my outlook on life.

    • Amy says:

      Hey Lucas! Sorry you’ve been having trouble with your friend. If he’s saying painful things to you and your friends, try talking to him about it. He might not even know that’s what he’s doing. Hope that helps!

    • new girl says:

      you should do what is best for you, and i think you already know what that is. good luck.

  52. T says:

    Hi! really so glad I came upon your site. It is inspiring to me, I love the energy coming through-from your honesty about how you have cut people off in the past, to having the courage to have the talk. I can so relate, and it took me a long time to develop the maturity and capacity to not be hot and cold, but to be honest about how I am feeling. I had a similar journey to you-though I was on the receiving end– I was “de-friended” by someone because, I suspected, I had moved on to more healthy relating, and she felt very dropped (score keeping relationship which I could not continue to do, in order to grow and be healthy). I recently reached out to her, after a few years, after my having grown a lot more, recently getting married to a very supportive, loving man; I wanted to know the reason for why she went cold (I have learned not to assume, but to ask, today!). I came to this site because it’s always so helpful to hear from other people, even when I know and can trust myself- the support helps, too! Her response was full of lots of hostility, bitterness, (name calling-ouch!), shaming, guilting, and this because she perceived an email I sent her through a very negative filter. There wasn’t much room in the relationship for me to be human, to not meet her 100%, how, when, where, just the way she wanted me to, and if I couldn’t I would be (and was) punished. At the time, she was continuing to make bad choices that caused her a lot of pain,and I was making the opposite choices, that were bringing me more peace- and a much fuller schedule of full time work and school- I didn’t have the space for her pain-when she caused her own pain again and again. I offered what I could (hope you get the help you need, come up and visit and stay for a weekend), but she took these in a very negative way. I am sitting on a response, just allowing myself to feel into the deeper truths of what my shortcomings might be as a friend, whether there is any truth to her pain around my actions, without shaming myself, and allowing the response (if I make one) to be my reality, not defensive, but loving- (and not for her, but for me). Also, I have learned to give back someone else’s perception of me, if it’s not true for me- not taking on other people’s opinions of me (in this case, I was all good, or all bad-which is a big indication that this isn’t about me). I appreciated your saying: I’ve maintained friendships that sucked the life out of me, but because this person had stuck with me through my hard times, I felt like I owed it to her to listen to her negativity and complaining… every day.

    I got to the point, where I couldn’t thrive in a relationship that was score keeping- that I needed to grow, and, I have heard, I cannot hold a boundary and protect someone else’s feelings at the same time. I risked losing the friendship in order to more fully find me. I really valued this piece- it was so honest- I am still on a learning curve of communication and allowing others their feelings (and not taking it on).

    Thank you for this article and your site!!

    • Amy says:

      So happy to have helped, T! I’m sorry you had to go through that, but it sounds like you’re really taking the chance to look inward and explore if there was truth to what she said, which is very admirable. You deserve a relationship that doesn’t keep a tally. Wishing you all the best in forging new friendships without the score board! :)

  53. James says:

    I’m glad I found this site, but the process is still super hard. I very recently decided to call it quits with a couple of my “best friends” and it feels like my heart is breaking. I’ve gotten through years of abuse and neglect from parents, depression, cutting, going to school and work full time to support my family, taking care of my mom with cancer – the list goes on. Despite all of this, I’ve tried to maintain a positive (at least outwardly) persona. I love helping people, nothing gets my full attention, energy, or willpower like being there for someone. Anyway, I’ve known this guy for nearly a decade – so he’s been with me through a decent amount of the problems, I consider(ed?) him family. But I started noticing signs that he wasn’t exactly as open with his opinion of me as I thought. I spent a lot of time being supportive with his clinical depression, getting him and his gf back together, being there whenever he was down and needed to talk, trying to get him to do different things and see the world in a different light – the works. I really valued him as a brother. However, I started noticing him and his gf (also an ex bestfriend as a result of this) only emitted negative energy around me. They’d only ask how I was doing in passing, or as a side note. We live about 5hours apart, but whenever he’d come down, it’d be almost impossible to get him to hang out, and if he did, it’d be with some sort of half assed attitude. In fact, getting him to show any type of emotion is extremely difficult, and it felt like I was pulling the weight of the friendship. It seemed like he never cared, and anything I said felt like it was being scrutinized. We had a huge argument spanning 3 days, but anything I said wasn’t considered because it wasn’t his opinion. I tried hard to explain myself on whatever points he argued, but regardless, he didn’t really want to hear it. It just seemed like he was more being vocal about everything he’d been feeling for however long this has been going on. The worst part is the facade that we were really open with each other about everything, and someone being in my life for 10 years should understand me a lot better – but it felt like I was a stranger to him in his cold and uncaring approach. I miss him, he’s the only guy I’ve ever thought of as a brother (as I have none of my own, or any male influence in my life).. but it felt like that was too much of himself to give, that he just didn’t understand the concept of best friends or the level of commitment that takes. I’m always the first one to say sorry or make amends, but it just doesn’t seem fair that I do it this time. I don’t know where to go from here, or if I’ll ever have that type of friendship again.

    • Amy says:

      I know this part hurts, James, and I’m so sorry that you’re going through it right now. It sounds like he might be moving on, but the good news is that you don’t seem to be groveling to get him to stay (which I don’t believe you should). You are aware of what’s happening and that’s very important.

      Have you tried asking him what’s going on, or what’s changed? It may be that you’re simply growing apart, or it could be that he’s secretly going through a very tough time himself. This may be a case to at least try reaching out for, but I leave that up to you.

      I hope that helps a little. :)

      • James says:

        Hopefully this goes in as a reply, clicked the button and all. Anyway, thanks for the reply Amy!

        Well, I know he’s clinically depressed and has a bit of a superiority complex. I really want to be there for him, but it’s draining – not the part about being there for him in those times, but when I try to do fun things, it’s impossible and he never seems enthused. Maybe we just weren’t meant to be friends for longer than a time period? Because that’s what it feels like. We’re both in our final year of uni, so I can see where the pressure would be on. But I just don’t know, I feel like he should put in some effort as well. It just makes it difficult because I know his condition and I’d feel horrible for dropping him for not being able to differentiate

        • Amy says:

          I think you have a point: some friendships run their course. It seems to me that you both are growing apart and that’s totally ok. I would definitely try talking to him before dropping him if you feel comfortable doing it. He may not be aware that he’s acting this way. And if you do, you’ll at least know that you did everything you could and explored all options before moving on with your life.

  54. Adam says:

    Straight up telling my friend that I’m leaving him isn’t really an option for me. It would simply be too uncomfortable, and I don’t want that to be my last memory of the person. I’d rather the friendship just slowly fade away. I’m sure he’ll get the point.

    • Amy says:

      I understand and that is your choice to make, Adam. I hope you find some other useful info in here!

    • James says:

      You’re right. Fading away is a better option, because you probably still have some hope that he’ll turn around and be amazing. It’s better to let it die slow so you can realize that you’re the only person who cares, and then move on to find better.

      • Amy says:

        I can understand that point of view, James. I respectfully disagree, though. I know that I, personally, would always wonder what would happen if I tried to talk to the person instead. What if the other person doesn’t even know that they’re hurting you? It is uncomfortable to face the problem sometimes, I’ll give you that. Though, to have closure, it may be necessary.

  55. anoyumus says:

    i have dis friend who i told this secret all of a sudden she jus spread it to other ppl should i drop this friend?

    • Amy says:

      That all depends I guess. I can’t say for sure one way or the other because I don’t know the full scope of the situation or how you feel about this friend already. This is a personal decision, but ask yourself: What am I getting out of this relationship? Does it outweight how this event makes me feel? That’s how I usually decide. Hope that helps!

    • ICYNDICEY says:

      Yes

  56. John says:

    Some very valid points in this article, but I don’t agree with all of them. You say the way you dealt with cutting ties to people was through simply not talking to them anymore. Then you add that it’s disrespectful, juvenile and mean. With my situation, I respectfully disagree. I have an ex-girlfriend I need to eliminate from my life, and the way I see it, not talking to her anymore is the only way out. We had agreed to be friends after a nasty break-up last year. So her and I went out as “friends” recently, and apparently she saw this an an opportunity to rip me a new one every which way she could, without provocation. In the past, when I confronted her about this behavior, the problem only got worse, with her calling me a “wimp” because I was sensitive to her harsh criticism. So, instead of confronting right then and there, I took it. I bought her drinks, helped her with her new TV, and as soon as I dropped her off, I decided right then and there, that was it, no more. She’s called and texted me since, wondering where I am, how come I don’t respond, and finally concluding that I must have lost my phone. All I know is that during that last encounter, I was nice. And I think that’s really the impression I want to leave her with, not a face-to-face confrontation. That will only embolden her, and give her the satisfaction that she got to me.

    • Amy says:

      Hi John!

      I think the situation varies greatly depending on the people involved. It’s totally up to you how you choose to handle the situation, and I understand the way you handled it. It sounds like she wasn’t really open to having that type of conversation, so this very well may have been the best way to cut her out of your life.

      Kudos to you for doing it at all. It sounds like your life will be much more peaceful without that influence in it. :)

  57. Shina says:

    omg – i cut off a group of girls i was in a group with they grated on me treated me like shit like never calling me not understanding my needs and judging me constantly,

    I actually feel relileved to have cut them all out of my life for good they were all a bunch of pretentious superficial religious and annoying group of girls that I dont know even know why the friendship lasted this long – ten years.

    Well whats done is done.

  58. yyy says:

    I had a friend that cut me off because of my negative attitude and complaining. To be honest, she was right, I did have a negative attitude at the time and was complaining a lot. However, I was also in a very stressful period of life (working a lot, studying a lot with a difficult partner, struggling with a difficult roommate where I had to pay extra bills). Since then I’ve graduated, had more time to myself, gotten a less difficult roommate, been less stressed, and have been able to relax and have more fun. She was jobless, having fun, and had just graduated, which meant she was pretty much stress free.

    I was also annoyed with some of the unsolicited advice she gave me like ‘be more positive’ when i was working like a ton and she was just hanging out and having fun. Its great to be happy but you shouldn’t judge other people for being stressed if that’s the situation they’re in. Sometimes stress comes out as negativity.

    Funnily enough I am having the same situation now with another friend (who is very negative whenever we go out). She is also getting her life together and not in a great place to go out and enjoy. I am not cutting her off, I am just telling her that she doesn’t have to go out if shes not going to enjoy it and say negative stuff all the time. Its better to just tell the person whats bothering you and limit your hanging out time until the other person gets more positive, than to just cut them out completely with no warning. I’ve known people like this in my life and their lack of loyalty is very disheartening for those of us that seek actual real friends in life that arent totally fake. If youre gonna cut people out just for being a little negative than you are a ‘fairweather’ friend and that’s not really a good thing. If however, the person has actually done legitimate things to cut you down (like steal your ex boyfriend or criticize you when something good happens, like you get a good job or something) then that’s a different story.

  59. yyy says:

    Also it is usually the case that when you have a lot of complaints about someone they also have complaints about you that you might not like, hence why you are really avoiding ‘the talk’. For example, my friend found me negative and critical of others, and I accepted that is sometimes true. However, on my end, I found her to be very judgmental of others (albeit silently) very overly sensitive to small disagreements, and very unwilling to be open about things (even though she didnt hesitate to pry into my life and ask lots of questions). Most of the time I felt like I was under a microscope when I was around her, and that wasnt exactly fun for me.

    • Amy says:

      You have some really interesting points in your comments, yyy. The first I’d like to address is what you say about the importance of not cutting a friend just because they’re negative sometimes. I whole-heartedly agree with you on that. We all have our struggles; we should feel open enough with our nearest and dearest to talk about what’s troubling us so that we can get back to our usual positive state. :)

      Also, what you say about the friend having his own complaints is true, and is often the case for avoiding “the talk.” I think it’s fair in most cases to hear out what they have to say. Maybe they see something in you that you could address to be a better friend as well.

      Thanks for your insight!

  60. ICYNDICEY says:

    I appreciate your candor in this article, but some people you just can’t explain to them why you can’t be “friends” with them anymore, and it is best just to avoid them. I have found that trying to reason with certain individuals just causes even more stress, and it is better to make a clean break. You don’t owe anyone anything. Not even an explanation if they are harming your mental, physical and spiritual existence. Remember…you come first.

    • Amy says:

      I can understand your reasoning, ICYNDICEY. It’s definitely easier to make a clean break, and it’s up to you how you choose to go about it. I agree that, if they are being consciously malicious, a clean break may be best. It’s true: you don’t owe anyone anything. I just fear that people may regret it further down the line like I did.

    • new girl says:

      I completely agree with you but I think what she is saying is basically treat others the way you would want to be treated.

      The power is yours. If you think that by telling them the issue, they will upset you or you will act out of character, I think these are the best instances to just stop talking to someone.

      I am currently torn myself as to what to do, but I think I will go with letting my former friend know why I no longer wish to be friends because I think it will be good practice for me to say how I feel.

  61. new girl says:

    i am actually about to cut off another friend.

    she constantly talks about her former relationship that she had with a married man ( i of course dont agree with that) and wants to use me for dating advice….but i just wondered after an incident what do i get out the deal?

    plus meeting some other people that she new, they didnt even know me and were way more supportive and encouraging. so i started to feel like with friends like these, who needs enemies?

    what happened was that she is very outspoken but its basically self serving and i realized something i already knew which was that she wants to suck all the good ideas and life out of me to pump herself up…but what do i get?

    like what was said in an article..our friendship stemmed from a place when i was really down on myself.

    just hanging out with an old highshcool friend made me realize wow, i feel so energized with the hs friend, yet with the other girl i always feel conflicted, bad and just drained.

    i am not sure what to say to her though, because i dont want the issue to be more than what it is.

    • JSDC370 says:

      Wow! Great read! I really enjoyed how clearly you expressed this friendship issue!

      I’ve been dealing with negative draining friendships for some time now and it has caused me so much confusion and guilt on how to deal with it. I have distanced myself from all relationships for the past 4 months and my life has never been better. I am in the best shape of my life (lost 40lbs), i’ve read countless books and blogs, i have saturated myself in meditation and silence, and have took a career leap which appears promising. Its just so refreshing to not be surrounded by negativity. I am curious on your thoughts on friends/family who hold negative beliefs of you, doubt your abilities and put limits on your capabilities. It seems all my friends and family treat me like someone i use to be but i no longer fit that mold. I always seem to buy into there beliefs when im around them. It is very stressful and energy draining. I am currently looking into relocating from my hometown. Your thoughts are very welcomed and appreciated.

      Again thank you for this wonderful article. I especially liked firing promoters of bad habits and quote “I’ve had friendships that I kept because I only wanted to see the good times, and was in denial that we didn’t have anything in common anymore.
      I’ve maintained friendships that sucked the life out of me, but because this person had stuck with me through my hard times, I felt like I owed it to her to listen to her negativity and complaining… every day.”

      • Amy says:

        New Girl: thanks for opening up here. I think you say it all with this:

        “our friendship stemmed from a place when i was really down on myself.”

        I’ve found that most of the friendships I’ve had that stemmed from my mindset at my darkest ended up being detrimental in the end unless the person grows with you.

        JSDC370: Thanks for all the kind words! I am so happy to hear of everything you’ve accomplished! It seems like you’ve really turned your life around. Kudos. :)

        With friends/family that seem to see you as you were at your lowest point, they simply need to experience that you are not the same person. You don’t have to go out of your way to “prove” it; you just need to live how you do now, and they’ll come around… hopefully. Some people are committed to living in the past, though, so this may not work on all family members.

        What matters is that you’re committed to your life now, and you build that solid support system around your healthy and happiness.

  62. Sally says:

    I have been in both situations where I’ve been cut off and where I’ve cut someone off.

    Just recently I had to cut two people (a male and female couple) out of my life because one of them sent a very offensive message to me on Facebook telling me off over something to do with religion or lack of it and while I let it go at first it just angered me more and more so I decided to cut them off altogether however my partner is still friends with them and while I don’t have any issues with him going out to visit them or see them they are no longer welcome in our home, he knows and understands why and he respects it.

    On another occasion I had someone cut me off and try to come back and I wasn’t interested in rekindling the friendship at all not because I held a grudge but simply because I had moved on in my own life and there was no longer a role for them to play in my life.This is really something people need to think seriously about before they cut someone out of their life too because they may decide to go back and the person they’ve cut off has moved on and may not be interested in rekindling the friendship or relationship…Never assume that someone will still be there when you turn around to look for them!

    Just recently I had a former friend come back into my life slowly but surely after 4 years of not speaking to me, in this particular situation they were well within their rights to cut me off as I has lost the plot after a not so nice relationship break up with an abusive ex and I wasn’t a great person to be around at the time..anyway I have emailed this person a few times and they have unblocked me on Yahoo messenger and other social networking places however even though I do wish to rekindle this particular friendship and while I found it easy to send the emails I am really anxious at the thought of communicating with this person via instant messaging, Skype and the like as I just don’t know what to say or how to go about it and I’m thinking I might just stick to emails for a while longer and go from there..This particular friendship will not be the same again but in this case that’s a very good thing, sometimes when you rekindle a friendship you don’t always want it to be the same as before otherwise you’ll have the same issues all over again and you’ll ending up losing that friendship once again…Different is good!!

    • Amy says:

      Different IS good, Sally! :)

      Do what you’re comfortable with. If you don’t think Skype or phone would be the best route right now, make yourself more open via email. You choose how to go about this, and the result will likely be better if you’re more comfortable as you proceed.

  63. Cal I says:

    I’ve been on the opposite side of this. I was cut out of someone’s life, and they expressed negativity and complaining about my life as the reasons. It did kind of traumatize me a bit. (I use that word lightly compared to actual trauma. Stung may be more appropriate.) I really didn’t have any idea I was insufferable in that way, and I will admit that even if I felt bad and angry, it inspired me to change. Those who are cut out may always be bitter toward you(“you left me at my worst” kind of attitude), but they will most likely feel helped once they look back and see the steps they took to be a better person to be around. That person did end up coming back, but I respected their boundaries and only discussed positive, basic things with them. I don’t take out my depressive tendencies on people anymore.

    • Amy says:

      What a wonderful spin! YOu’re right, Cal I!

      I’ve been the one cut before, when I was Ms. Complainer, and it did make me look twice at how I interacted with my friends.

      I hope you DO have someone to talk to about those depressive feelings when they come up, though. It’s important to not keep those inside until they explode one day.

  64. Anonymous says:

    I want to ask your advice about how to best cut a man out of my life. To make a long story short i’ve known this man for several years (friend of a friend) and we’ve been talking for over six months now about getting together and going on a date.

    I am very attracted to him, and we have a lot in common. However, he is a major flake. In fact, we have never once ended up doing anything together because he never follows through. He doesn’t usually even call to cancel, but plans are usually vague to begin with.

    I have tried to show him my disapproval by ignoring his calls for weeks at a time and basically telling him I’m not going to make plans with him anymore.

    However, he always gets back into my good graces, and after begging me for another chance, I end up agreeing to go on a date again. Then he flakes on me all over again.

    I don’t have a cell phone or caller id on my home phone so I basically have to screen all my calls to avoid him.

    I don’t even feel like talking to him about it. I would prefer to just send him an email asking him to stop contacting me. I wanted your advice on what to say.

    It’s hard for me to do this because I do really like him and I enjoy keeping in touch with him. However, I know I deserve to be treated better and I don’t think he’ll ever change.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Amy says:

      Ooh, to tell you the truth, I can’t give you a good answer for this. It should be personal to your relationship.

      Here are some guidelines I would follow:
      -Make this about you not him
      -Start with a compliment, put the yucky stuff in the middle, and end with a compliment
      -Do not attack him; simply state how you feel
      -Include what you wrote to me here: it’s hard for you to do this, but you’re ready to move on. You don’t think you can do this with him in your life.

      I hope that helps!

      • Anonymous says:

        Amy,

        I think your advice is perfect. I like the reminder about not attacking him, and very good idea to make it about me instead of him.

        Anonymous

  65. Joe says:

    I am a 26 year old male. my best friend is a 24 year old female and we hooked up a few months back. we decided to become friends with benefits. we literally hung out everyday for 3 months straight. she never wanted to see anybody else or had any other interests in another guys. but recently I did something to really hurt her feelings so much to the point where she completely cut me off. this happened 2 weeks ago and I found out today she has been having another guy stay the night with her. I have developed feelings for her and this hurts really bad to see her with him. Should I just completely remove myself from the situation? or try and work things out with her?

    • Amy says:

      I guess that depends on what happened, Joe. It sounds like she’s quite hurt right now, and maybe she just needs her space. Maybe she’s just done.

      If you’re going to reach out, maybe keep it to something like an email in which you state your feelings, and what you hope to achieve from your relationship.

      Here’s the thing: if she doesn’t want to continue a relationship with you, you must respect that. She has a right to set her boundaries after being hurt. It may hurt, but at least a lesson has been learned, right?

  66. Robbie says:

    I found this very interesting to read. I have been struggling with cutting friends I have had since high school because of the time we spent together. We all have addiction problems and the more I think about it, the more I see that is what we have in common. A lot of them have had a negative impact in my life, I have had trouble moving forward in my life, like there was an anchor attached too me, and now with age and wisdom I have started too see it was and is these negative people I’m surrounding myself with that is the anchor. I lost a fiancée over these same people as well. I am happy too have been able too read this and get some perspective. I just recently landed a job I have been working towards for awhile and had a birthday. So I feel like my life is going in a whole different direction, and with these tips I feel I have some insight on how to drop the dead weight. I thank you for this read and best of luck too everyone.

    • Amy says:

      Robbie, I can’t tell you how happy I am to read your comment that this post has helped you come to the conclusion to “drop the dead weight.” Congrats, man, on all you are embarking on now! This is the beginning of a new life for you. Live it up!

  67. Julie says:

    I really needed this read. Because of a bad friendship experience I have withdrawn from everyone. I look for ways to avoid the people who I used to call friends. This has been going on now for two years. Now I am starting to feel lonely. The only person I truly socialize with is my husband, and of course we all know that is not healthy. I used to have these big parties every other month at our house. But I noticed that no one else did anything at theirs and after I would go out of my way so that everyone could have a good time there were always two “friends” that would talk behind my back. I have already confronted this situation and told them how I feel, but still, I can not find a way of going back to being the same to them. It’s just sad. :-(

    • Amy says:

      It is a little sad to recognize faulty friendships for what they are, Julie, but it’s not anything you can’t move past and learn from. You are obviously mindful enough to realize that these friendships don’t serve you. Use that mindfulness to seek out new connections with people who encourage and support you. You don’t need people who talk behind your back repeatedly. You are worth being treated with love and respect.

  68. Chelsea says:

    Hi Amy,

    I wanted to say that I really enjoyed this post. I believe in all the things you’ve said. I just wanted to ask your advice, though, as an outside perspective because I’ve found myself in a difficult situation concerning friends. Sorry if it ends up being a super long comment!

    I recently decided I no longer wanted to be friends with this couple who has been friends with my parents since I was rather young. They have come to my family’s business every week for years so in working there, it was hard for me not to see them and get to be friends. But in the past year, the woman has really been one of those “friends” who doesn’t make you feel good. It took me a long time to even feel remotely confident about myself and slowly, every week I’d see her, she would make me feel really inadequate about aspects of my personal life that I already felt insecure about. She’d pester me about it every week and as much as I tried to make her understand that I had issues to deal with to take care of myself, I just couldn’t get her to understand. Eventually, it even got to be really annoying and I really just wanted to defend myself. But for fear of causing trouble for my parents, I kind of just buried it. The husband, however, was a really dear friend who was always kind and gracious with me. He was really supportive and we got along quite well. But it was made known to me that the wife was quite paranoid about my friendship with him, when really- he was like a father to me (sounds like a terrible soap opera, I know). Long story short, they stopped showing up to the business for months without any explanation, never answering me, and just showed their faces again today. In that time away I decided to be relieved that I wouldn’t have to deal with that drama since they disappeared for their own reasons, reasons that I told myself were unrelated to me. I was horrified that someone who once said I was like a daughter to her was actually seeing me as some kind of threat. So I guess my question is this- considering the complex situation where my family is still friends with this pair (so I don’t want to mess things up for my parents), how would I go about letting them go as friends? As much as I’d hate to hurt the feelings of the man, I’m not so certain that the kindness of one is worth the confidence-killing of the other… Because surely, as a couple, if I take one back I can’t avoid taking the other. Do I just play civil and avoid connecting with them as much as possible? I think I’m making the right decision letting them go, but I just don’t know if I can even realistically do it if they’re going to be around frequently again. Am I trapped? Am I right in thinking that accepting the pain of being hurt by one is not overridden by the support of another? Again, sorry for the long essay of a comment! I just really admired what you had to say; it really resonated with me and I thought I could use some sound advice or opinion.

  69. Tamsin says:

    So funny – I am in the same dilema with my half sister she is not a very nice person and sucks the life out of my. Tried my best with her for years, but persistant nastieness for all this time is all I got back. the annoying thing is she is not overtly nasty, but always gets little digs in all the time and is so selfish. However, she also loves to play the victim. I ignored a message of hers on facebook and we stopped speaking after that( I really did not want to innitiate contact with her). However, everytime she spoke with any member of my family she was always like Tamsin refuses to speak to me and I have no idea why. I have to be nice to her now and have made efforts because our father is terminally ill and is likely to die in 5 months so don’t want there to be any tension around.(thankfully she is not close to our Dad as the two of them have never got on well) However, after he dies and the funeral is out of the way I want to cut all ties in a way that will cause the least drama to the family as a whole. Really don’t know weather it is best just to ignore her or to explain to her she adds no value to my life and is an entirly nasty individual!

  70. Mel says:

    I have mixed feelings about this.

    If a “friend” is always intentionally disrespecting me, using me, or putting me down, then I have no problem saying goodbye (but why would I be their friend in the first place?).

    However, if a friend is pessimistic and negative, a downer, because they are suffering and going through depression (perhaps they were abused as a child) then I would feel like a real jerk ditching such a friend. I think that it shows a lack of character and compassion. Especially if the person is a “friend” that I have known for a while. It just strikes me as rather selfish, shallow, and cold to drop people who are not beautiful, positive, and successful.

    Would jesus approve of us if we dumped our cancer stricken friends for being downers? Do we expect them to put on a glowing smile and blow up balloons all day in order to convince us that they are positive and happy and worth being friends with?

    • Amy says:

      I agree with you, Mel, and I think it’s a really important issue to address. Thank you for bringing this up.

      Having suffered from depression and having only kept one friend through my lowest times, I realize the importance of having an understanding support system that sticks through the tough stuff. If a friend is working their way through a low point, I am by no means telling you to drop them. Every one of us struggles, and deserves support through those issues.

      I also do not believe nor have I ever expressed that one should base a friendship on beauty and success. It should be based on character, mutual respect and love.

      For a more detailed view on how I recommend supporting a friend who suffers from anxiety or depression, give this a read if you’re interested.

      I hope this helps clear some things up, Mel. Wishing you much health and happiness!

  71. Karmicenergy says:

    I don’t believe that you always should tell someone why you don’t want to be their friend anymore. All it will do is stir up a lot of drama. They will get upset and defensive. They may get angry. They will never believe anything negative about themselves, or that they have done anything wrong. It is a rare person who can accept criticism. Let’s face it, sometimes you have to cut them off and move on.

    • Amy says:

      I understand your standpoint, Karmicenergy, and I think this is a case of “to each, his own.” There’s no right answer; it depends on the situation and the people involved. I think it comes down to doing what you need to do in a way that will preserve your wellbeing while maintaining respect for the other person involved.

  72. Frank says:

    I have a small Problem Im out off work So I went to school to become a contractor It took me a while to pass the test, I have friend that I have know for 45 years and Im 50 almost My friend aways told me I was not smart enough to pass the test everyday so everytime I took the test I failed, will two days before my test had a fight with my friend and his girlfriend and told them that both of them are ment for each other do to the fact they are negtive and Love to se me in pain and they get off on it told both of them to stay out of my life this is two days before my test and this time I passed He called me the same day and asked if I passed I said yes now thing are getting worse he trying to run my life and tell me how to run my busness, By the first of the year 2014 I need to sell my house and start a new life where I have no negative people around me I think that will lead to my success Do you think I’m making the right choice I really need a new start I can make new friends I just cant understand why him and his girlfriend are acting like this.

    • Amy says:

      Hi Frank!

      I’m so sorry that you’re going through this right now. It sounds like you’re having a rough time with all of this.

      I can’t tell you whether or not you’re making the right choice because it’s a personal decision. It seems a bit extreme to do all of that, but for some people, it’s what needs to happen to reset.

      Do what you think is right after weighing the pros and cons. Any way you go, keep standing up for yourself! :)

  73. Kari says:

    I cut off my best friend from high school a month before we went to college. We had grown apart but neither of us would talk about it. Even though we spent a lot of out time together, we were never really close. She seemed to think that if she bought me things and took me places that would validate our crumbling friendship. I tried to cut her off by ignoring her texts/calls but she was persistent. Finally I came clean to her face to face and I’m not going to lie it didn’t feel good at first. I knew that I had hurt her and that I had handled the situation poorly. But if I hadn’t cut it off then we’d still be going in the same circle. So, definitely cut that toxic friend out of your life early. Don’t let it drag on for years because it will hurt no matter how much resentment you’ve built up for that person.

  74. Reabetswe says:

    Hi Amy :)

    Thanks so much for this great post!! I only just discovered this website through this article (I typed “how to cut people out of your life” into Google and it led me to this article). I’m so excited that I read this!!

    It truly is hard to cut a friend out from your life, and even harder to accept it. I’m currently going through this. It’s hard for me to open up, and I often don’t trust people with my emotions, and as a result I have very few close friends, and the others are just acquaintances. So, when I do open up to a person I hope that they will be loyal to me as I am completely and wholeheartedly loyal and true to them.

    Which is why it came as a huge surprise (and an incredibly painful blow to my whole world) when someone who I was close to, had opened up to and considered a friend for life, recently turned on me when I told him that I did not appreciate a comment he had made. The response he gave me (that I have no credibility, which is a huge insult when you are involved in law, and blaming me completely for destroying a friendship with a colleague who I was never friends with and who disrespected me immensely) showed me that the person does not really care about me and probably never did; especially since when I asked to talk to him about it he just blew me off by telling me that if I see a problem then I am the one with the problem, not him, and I should fix it myself.

    Although I would never admit it to him, it was a huge blow to my emotions (still is when I think about it). I’ve been trying to deal with it for weeks and it has affected other areas of my life too (my academics, family life, and my interactions with other friends). I’d become more withdrawn and introverted and extremely angry and depressed and I didn’t completely understand why. I kept his contact number on my phone and gave him a vulgar name (which made me laugh a little everytime I read it) but that was not curing me at all, because every time I saw it I’d remember all the bad emotions and get upset again. I needed a better solution.

    I read some advice from a drag queen (Yara Sofia) and she said (I’m paraphrasing here and have taken some artistic licence): “You are the Queen of your kingdom, and you decide who your royal court and subjects will be. If someone does not mean you well, exile them. Delete them from your life.” So I did: I deleted him from my life. I deleted his numbers and pictures and everything that could potentially remind me of him, because I could not stand what he had done to me and I could not let him control my emotions any longer (even if he did not know that he was).

    And since I “exiled him from my kingdom” (or “fired him from my life”) I feel ssssssooooooo much happier!! It’s astounding how much better I function actually!! I think this was the right move for me, and brought me back on track with my life and my goals and those who mean well for me. And after trying countless other methods on dealing with this kind of thing, I think that this is probably the best way: by just deleting (or firing; although he kind of quit) the person from your life :)

    Anyway, now that I have written down my whole life story (hahaha, sorry guys), I just want to ask one thing Amy: How does one stop feelings of guilt and feelings of missing out? This person and I share a study group with other people who I’m still friends with, and before I decided to exile him I had feelings of extreme guilt at doing it (that I’d hurt his feelings, which I hate doing to people even if they deserve it) and that he and the other group members would leave me out of future group events (and he would turn them against me). Also, I see this person often as we study the same degree; how do I handle the encounters between him and mutual friends? I would appreciate it immensely if you could advice me on this.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this; stay well :)

    • Amy says:

      Don’t say sorry for sharing here, Reabetswe! Your story will probably help someone else in a similar situation, so THANK YOU!

      I am so so sooooo glad you were able to get that negativity out of your life. Kudos to you for having the courage to let it go!

      Ok, so to address your questions for me, I would say that all you can do is act from a place of love in this situation. Don’t go out of your way to ignore him or show him malice. Realize that the way he acted came from some part of his life that caused him so much pain he learned to react that way. Knowing that, have the strength to forgive or at least move on.

      Since you will see each other and the same people, it doesn’t mean you can’t hang out. It probably does mean it will be awkward for a while, and that’s fine. If you really don’t want to be around him, call up some friends that are outside of your law school circle and reunite with them.

      He might try to turn friends against you. He might not. What matters are the actions you choose to take. Don’t give your friends a reason to justify his bad intentions. Act from love, be open and honest, and trust that–if they are worth your love and time–they will see the truth or at least try.

      I really hope that helps! Best of luck!

  75. Reabetswe says:

    Thanks so much Amy, this is one of the best pieces of advice that I have heard in how to deal with this situation. I like how you said that I should approach it with love, I’ve never thought of looking at it that way before, thank you :)

    I have one last question for you: I have a friend who is in a moot court team consisting of two speakers and two coaches, and they travel to different countries in order to compete. She is one of the speakers and her and the other speaker don’t always get along. She often comes back frustrated from their meetings because she feels that the other speaker tends to bully her without their coaches noticing, and when she brings it up the coaches shrug it off or tell her that there are more important things to worry about, like the competition at hand. She’s really professional so she’s able to get to her practices and do what needs to be done and leave. But, just like me, she is extremely emotional when she creates a relationship; and even though it is a working relationship, because they have been in this moot team for almost a year and are often forced with being the only company each other has, she finds it hard to just be “professional” all the time, and they often speak about personal topics.

    Anyway, the moot team are travelling to a very distant country in a few days to compete, and they’ll be there for 11 days. She’s starting to get worried and anxious that she’ll be bullied again by this other speaker, and won’t have anyone to talk to about it (it’s not as easy to walk away and be with real friends in a foreign country unfortunately). Also, she has been called out by the coaches in the past for just walking away and distancing herself from the team, but that was because she felt she didn’t fit in and they did not care for her feelings (as they tell her to just get over it when the other speaker bullies her, and even suggest that she may suffer from various psycological disorders). I think she feels a little invalidated in the team, and it pains me to see her dreading her trip and the competition just because of the people she will be travelling with: she should be excited and looking forward to it, but instead she’s thinking of taking anxiety medication…I don’t know how to help her: PLEASE HELP!!!

    • Amy says:

      I would say a couple things:

      First, is it imperative that she’s a part of this team? If it causes her so much stress, is it really worth it?

      Second, if the answer to the above questions is yes, then she just has to do what is best for her and spend less time with the people that bring her down. It doesn’t matter what they say to her afterwards if being in their company is just as bad. At least she’ll save herself some time being put down.

      You have to do what’s best for you. If that means they don’t like it, so be it. 11 days is a long time to try to please people that seem to be looking for something to pick on her for.

  76. Nichole says:

    I usually don’t post on these sites, but I came across this article and I feel as though I wrote it myself. I have never had a “best friend”, they cut me out or I cut them out. Last year I was feeling overwhelmed by a friend who I had known for so many years, but had only gotten in to trouble with. I was working a lot (and I mean a lot) he didn’t have a job or apartment and would call me all day long.. while I was struggling to work and maintain my life at home. He would call me for rides, a place to hang and the likes. I did exactly what you say you regret, I ignored him. I blocked him off my phone, I even had to remove my name from my voicemail. Eventually we “talked” over Facebook in a message, he didn’t like what I had to say and I didn’t like what he had to say. In the end he wrote his status about a “message he got from a hater this morning”.. which was anonymous and all good and fine.. until everyone he knows who dislikes me used his status to rip me apart. It got so bad I had to apologize to the jerk just to get him to leave me alone. I had no other choice than to delete and block him and black list his phone number. The conversations were getting violent and just being around him made me feel drained. It’s been a year and a half now and I truly feel refreshed. I live in a very small town and being put on blast like that made me not want to go to the grocery store. Eventually you become strong because you have to, but don’t underestimate a “friends” ability to turn on you when you ignore them. With him I didn’t see any other way out, and I needed out. Thank you so much for this article, it has assured my every move.

    • Amy says:

      Wow, Nichole. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but I’m so glad you shared it here with us. Please remember that him acting out like that is a reflection of hangups he has personally, not necessarily with you. I’m happy to hear that it seems to have gotten better since, and good for you for being the “better man” and apologizing (even if your heart wasn’t in it). Wishing you the best from here forward!

  77. Dan says:

    I have a friend from the time I started grammar school. I get insights talking to him. In fact my mother who is now deceased knew his mother who is now over 80. We went to the same high school which I left and went to a private school in my last year. However, when I talk to this person it brings back bad memories when I was younger. I decided today not to talk anymore and leave the past where it is. I believe some people including me talk to these “old friends” and subconsciously try to relive or redo the past. We never can time to say goodbye. Are there others with this same experience.

    • Amy says:

      Hi, Dan. Thanks for sharing here. I think many people in this community have the experience of trying to hold onto relationships for the nostalgia of it. We long to “redo” the past or to make it right somehow, but many times, we just can’t. We have to move forward from here, whether that is done best with or without them is a personal matter.

  78. Concerned Stumbler says:

    This was a very thoughtfully written essay on the importance of cutting off ties as a marker of self-respect. It was very sensitively and sincerely presented. More impressive are your consistently thoughtful responses to each and every comment for the last two years. I can’t help but feel though that such consistency is leading visitors to take advantage of it/ underappreciate it.

    I feel your essay in addition to your years of thoughtful situation-based replies are more than enough material for others to find the answer to their own problems. I know people with similar levels of sensitivity and insight that will patiently bear through hours of venting, and though such people seem to find great joy simply in helping someone out, there are clearly other ways they could be using their time to derive greater joy and pleasure.

    Perhaps placing some limit to the comments section, or making your responses to questions more valuable (by having posts where you reply to one out of many given advice-requests) would help. Your replies are level-headed and post-worthy in and of themselves.

    • Amy says:

      Wow, Concerned Stumbler. I sincerely appreciate your comment. Thank you for your concern and for the excellent advice. I am so grateful to have your support!

      You are right: to comment back to each case on this post does take quite a bit of time, and if I find that I get too busy to respond, I will have to cut down. It is a great idea to compile responses into one post (as each one is its own post as you say! I never thought about it that way!).

      I will strongly consider your advice and again, I am so grateful that you are concerned for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to write this.

  79. Elle says:

    Amy,

    I found this article and it resonated deeply with me. I am currently in a situation where I would love some outside advice. I recently moved to a new state. Back home, I had a small group of friends who I get along with extremely well. They are all positive people who are happy with themselves and provide excellent support and love. However, when I moved, I made friends with two young women. It’s nice to have some people around to socialize with, but these two women leave me feeling drained most of the time. They love to gossip about other people, and are constantly judging others based on their appearance. I know that this is probably due to their own lack of confidence, and I consider myself to be a more positive and accepting person than they are, even though they openly pride themselves on being good friends to others. It’s been about a year since I started spending time with them. I worry that the more time I spend with them and the less time I spend with my friends back home, I will transform into a negative and judgmental person. I used to be a lot more confident and happy in general, and I can’t help but feel these two are bringing me down. I have many times debated firing them as friends, but can’t seem to do it. Maybe because they are the only friends I have here at my new home, and also because they are always together, and I feel I will be ganged up on. They seem to really like me and are always inviting me to do things with them, so I worry about disappointing them.

    My plan is to try to involve myself in more activities where I might make some new friends, and try to find more people I really connect with. That way, I can spend less time with the two negative nancies and more time with other people who understand me better. However, I’m nervous that whatever the activity is I choose to participate in, the two women will want to join me. I feel that I am bending to their will and becoming who they want me to be, because I’m afraid of being alone. That they have me trapped. I haven’t felt this way since elementary school, and I feel my confident self slipping away. Please help.

    • Amy says:

      Hi Elle!

      Yeesh! It sounds like you’re in quite a predicament. Here are my thoughts…

      I don’t doubt that your new friends LOVE having you around! You sound like a positive, supportive person, and they seem to not be used to that from each other. You are who you surround yourself with, though. If you want to save yourself from negative nancy-ville, I would start limiting time with them if it were me.

      Let me ask you this: what is the worst that could happen if you talk to them about the situation? You said they would gang up on you. Do you meant that they might seek you out to bully you, say online or do nasty, malicious things? If that’s the case, there’s no need to have the break up talk.

      So, here’s my next question: what’s the worst that would happen if you went out and did those activities without them?

      What’s the worst that would happen if you started saying that you are busy more often?

      If they ask you what the deal is, you can either tell them the truth, or make something up. I’m a huge proponent of honesty, but when it comes to malicious people, it’s not black and white. A harmless white lie that will save you bullying isn’t the worst thing in the world. ;)

      Hope that helps a little, Elle. The main thing is that you do what you need to do to live the life you want to live. Don’t forget what’s important!

  80. Anni says:

    Am glad i read this.
    I hav bin bestfriend with this gal primary school and even went to the same high school.
    After high school i left for college far from home that was in 2011 and we used to communicate.
    When i came back home she had changed alot and she now competes with me for anything. She tries to show that she is better than me.
    The gal introduced me to alcohol. I luk back and see how i did bad stuff when we were so tight friends. Like getting home late, drinking alcohol, always lying to our parents, blackmailing people etc.
    Now i dont do any of that and we are stil friends but not that close.
    I dont want any contact with her.
    The problem is she is a neighbour and we have close mutual friends.
    I think i hate her so much but i dont show it

    • Amy says:

      Anni, if you have taken steps to better your life and have minimal contact with her, is it necessary that you stop all contact? I ask honestly not knowing whether it is or not. It seems like if you’re neighbors and you don’t have a move in the near future, that contact is going to happen. It doesn’t mean you need to hang out. A “hello, how are you?” is fine. If you don’t continue the conversation past that, she’ll get it I’m sure.

      Keep putting yourself first here. You’ve moved on to bigger and better things!

  81. Elle says:

    Thank you so much for your response, Amy. I don’t think they will bully me, but I don’t think it’s worth talking to them about it because I truly doubt they’ll understand what I’m trying to say. They have a tendency, from what I’ve seen, to place blame on everyone but themselves. I also feel they won’t be very receptive because they will talk to each other about it when I’m not around and convince each other that I’m being heartless. After all, it’s harder to look inward and accept criticism when you have someone beside you to team up with and blame it on a third party. These two women are roommates, so they are always together.

    I really don’t want to lose who I am, and it is true that you are who you spend time with. I find myself adjusting my behavior to better suit theirs – possibly because it is always the two of them and myself, as opposed to spending time with only one of them. My social instinct tries to conform to the majority. So I think it will be a good plan for me to simply find friendship elsewhere and limit the time I spend with these two. Thank you so much again for your input.

  82. Louise says:

    Hi Amy,

    An ex-friend and I haven’t talked for quite a while because she treated our mutual friends very badly. Since I sided with them she blocked me on Facebook. Now she’s sent a friend request to me, and it looks like we’ll both be attending an event together in the near future. I don’t want to be friends with her because of a number of reasons, but I don’t want her to make a scene at the event if she asks why I haven’t accepted her friend request and I tell her that I no longer want to be friends. I don’t want to be enemies, I’m happy to talk to her at just the event, but I don’t want to lead her on and make her think that there’s a chance at a friendship.

    What should I do?

    • Amy says:

      Hey Louise!

      I think it really depends on what your “number of reasons” are and what “treated…very badly” means. Either way, I think this is a personal decision that needs to be made on your part, not one I can advise you on.

      Is what she’s done really beyond forgiveness? It sounds like she might want to talk things through a bit. Would that be a possibility for you?

      Don’t worry about writing back here. These are just questions to ask yourself as you determine what to do. Hope that helps!

  83. Miracle says:

    When I contacted you I was 6 months into a bitter divorce battle. I thought that my marriage and family was ruined. I found your site and breathed a sigh of relief. Not only did you STOP MY DIVORCE AND BROUGHT BACK LOVE INTO MY MARRIAGE. It worked super fast sequel to the fact that you and your circle was there to help me and counsel me through every step of the process. You have helped me so much and I am happy to update you on our progress. Roy and I have reconciled and have since renewed our vows. We are stronger than ever. I am so happy that you were able to help me keep my family intact. Without you, I do not know what I would have done.

    • Amy says:

      Wow, Miracle! That’s amazing to hear! I’m so happy you’ve found the love again, and I wish you so much more for your many years to come together!

  84. Linda says:

    Hi Amy, Good article! I have been having a problem with a close friend who has depression. She has had a rough life, not doubt about that, but she is so jealous of everyone, including me. I don’t think she means to be negative and complain bitterly so often, but the last time we were together, it was awful! I went home feeling weird and uncomfortable. She noticed I lost some weight, and keep harping on it; asking how did I do it; what’s my secret, on and on. She complimented me, but it felt so “icky.” I told her I was watching my weight and exercising, plus switched my depression meds, which made me gain a lot. She drove me nuts with that. Then, she was questioning her meds (which were not changed in a long time). She is so annoying. Then tells me my skin looks so good….all while shoving a greasy muffin down her throat, and saying she has been eating a lot of sweets. Then still in a puzzle over her weight gain. I am lonely, myself. I don’t have more than 3 friends, including her. My other one is in a far away state. I like her a lot, but don’t know how to get her to stop complaining or comparing herself to me so much, my family, my weight, my husband, etc. She’s so miserable and she has therapy and meds, so I don’t know what the heck the answer is….her attitude, maybe!

    • Amy says:

      Oh, this is a tough one, Linda. I feel where you’re at. Let’s see if we can find a way to work this out.

      Firstly, have you tried having a heart-to-heart with her? Maybe even just sitting down and telling her that you’re worried about her, and you want to see her happy, but you see her in a cycle that isn’t helping her. Ask her what you can possibly do, and keep leading by example. It sounds like you’re making great strides in your life. Keep telling her honestly (when she asks) about what you do to achieve your goals. Place the emphasis on your attitude adjustments; make it very clear that your positive attitude and refusal to sink keeps you from failure. That’s what it sounds like on this side, anyways. :)

      Hope that step helps. Let me know how it goes!

  85. Jade says:

    What a great article! I recently just ‘fired’ a friend – but didn’t have ‘the talk’ with her. I just started limiting my time with her, answering her millions of chats, rants, and offers for dinner. I would have been dreading the dinner, as all I could picture her putting every single thing down in my life. Literally – everything. I didn’t realize it until I actually started taking note, and everytime we hung out she would say something so rude/critical of a part of my life. Whether I told her great news that my long-term boyfriend and I were thinking of getting engaged (she put me down in front of my team of co-workers – equating marriage to unhappiness and anyone who wants to get married is lame/stupid) to the new house we bought a wonderful neighborhood (she said ‘ugh! I would NEVER live out there. So boring. The people are terrible’). Even when I got into grad school she told me it was an ‘awful and expensive mistake’.

    For some odd reason, I brushed all of these things off (and of course, did not let it bring me down) until I started hanging out with new friends who were super successful, positive, and had some direction in their life. I left their sides feeling refueled, rejuvenated….like i could run for president tomorrow! When I left her side, I always left angry, rejected, and like she never heard a word I said.

    Trust me. Fire these people. Life is too short. Often times, these people are absolutely miserable and unhappy to see YOU (and your shining, wonderfuly sweet self) moving on with your life!

  86. larry says:

    yes, you should drop “negative” people from your life. Because some people are just “negative” for no reason. It isnt like they have been hurt or traumatized. They are just “bad” people who “hold you back”. Just like poor people or those who are homeless or hungry. Those are “negative” people too who should be pushed away. Maybe they will just all disappear? And the “good”, “positive” people can be safe from them and enjoy life. Because as we all know money and being positive are the “good” life. Why bother yourself with those who are depressed. They are “bad” people who dont deserve to have friends. They just need to be erased. maybe those with cancer too should be cut as well. With their illness and ongoing problems they just hold us “positive” people back. Yes I get the point of this article. “negative” people are bad and dont deserve friendship. They surely can help their circumstances and choose to be “negative”. That is always the case. I think I will start “cutting” the “negative” people out of my life today. I am clearly superior to those people.

    • Amy says:

      Hi Larry. It seems you took my article in a different way than I intended. I’m sorry if it came across as encouragement to cut depressed people out of your life. If you’ve read my story, you know that’s not at all how I feel.

      We all have issues. We all have problems. It’s when the friendship becomes one-sided that makes me write this article. All people deserve mutual, loving friendship, and it is possible to achieve that even if one is depressed. True friends listen to each other. They give as well as take. They support instead of put down.

      I believe that all of us deserve love and support. Keeping people in your life that make you feel horrible about yourself helps neither party.

  87. lisa says:

    Hi,
    thank you for the inspiring post. I have a few friends I really want to cut off. But I still don’t know how to. I don’t feel like I owe them anything, however, they are struggling and need someone to talk to. I recommended my friends to see an advicer, one friend did, others didn’t. They are all in the process of working things out, and whenever we meet it is a lot of talk about their hardships and in general negative outlook on things. Mostly I just hear them out, sometimes I try to make them see things in a more positive perspective.
    Whenever they call or say let’s meet up, I always say yes, but I really don’t want to meet up. I am not sure if I will be able to say it straight, it seems so cruel. “Hey, I know you’re struggling, but your troubles are taking me down too” I can’t possibly say that :(

    • Amy says:

      I completely understand where you’re coming from, Lisa, and I don’t recommend that you completely cut them out, either. It sounds like some of your friends really are trying to work on themselves, and they’ll need that support to climb out of their hole.

      If hanging out with all these friends brings you down, would it be possible to focus most of your time on the ones that are working to improve their outlook? They might be more receptive to your encouragement, and your support may help them recover faster.

      You don’t have to completely cut the other people out, but maybe just limit your time with them. If they’re draining you and won’t seek or accept help, maybe a sterner talk needs to come into play.

  88. Lisa says:

    I have this friend who’s been like a sister to me for nearly eight years. I love her so much!
    But, her live in (he’s not supposed to be living there) is a bad drug user and it makes me feel very uncomfy when I go there. I’ve now almost totally stopped visiting even though she lives right next door to me. There’s been so many times that he’s hurt her one way or another. No physical abuse….yet. It’s totally killing me to see her like this. She knows how I feel since I don’t hide my feelings from her, but it’s now gotten to the point where he’s coming between her and I.
    I don’t know what else to do or say.

    Any help?

    • Amy says:

      Hi Lisa!

      I’m really sorry that you’re going through this right now. It sounds like a horrible situation for both of you to be in.

      Let me ask you this: have you tried to talk to her? If you have, does she get defensive when you try to talk about it, or does she seem receptive. I think all you can do is at least try. If nothing changes, all you can do is take action to remove yourself from him. Maybe meet her out for coffee or meals instead of going over there.

      You may have to clearly state that you’re uncomfortable with him, but you don’t want it to come between you. Approach it from love, not offense. If she feels you are voicing true concern, she may be more open. Hope that helps!

  89. John says:

    Hey, Amy–

    Good advice. I have a friend who may have “other” reasons for his mode of communication (sexuality!!), but as a former professor and minister I have noticed many thing about his behavior…

    1) A passive-aggressive mode of operation

    2) Too scared to be honest with himself about people

    3) Stays in bad relationships for far too long, even when they’re unhealthy

    4) Looking for Ms. Perfect (where I would, as a ‘typical’ male, be a “pig” by comparison)

    5) Always “waiting for Godot” about career, and crying about the college-trained women that get chosen over him

    Hey, I’m not perfect, but I have 5 academic degrees, finishing teacher certification, and don’t make 75 excuses about my forwardness (not a pig!!) with women. He looks for Ms. Right, and I am looking for Ms. Right Now!!

    Well, kinda. Still a gentleman–I just don’t obsess about it!

    I have been his friend for over 30 years. I have also had diabetes for 30 years. MUST I continue on?! We have nothing in common. When I become light-hearted, he becomes judgmental…

    He just today called me a d-ck and an a–hole!!

    No one calls me that except him.

    I could address this, but I have before. I even told him as far back as 2004 that “we had nothing in common.” I rescinded and continued on because of loyalty.

    I AM confrontational! Bring it on. BUT…

    Not if I don’t have to. I don’t have to.

    I think I answered my own question!

    Prof. John

  90. Amanda says:

    Thanks for publishing. I had a friend cut me off when I had a nervous breakdown earlier in the year. I only saw her once during this time and it must have scared her. After two months I had recovered and I tried to get in touch several times to ask if I’d done something wrong. I left it at an unanswered SMS with the same question. Doing something as drastic as excluding a friend and not telling a friend what they have done wrong is such a huge punishment, it’s always there and can never be resolved. I’ll never have the opportunity to apologise because I’m not sure what happened. It made me think a lot less of her for handling it that way.

    • Amy says:

      Oh, Amanda. I’m so sorry to hear you were on the brunt end of things. If you get a sec, give this a read, too. Though it seems that she may not be giving you the chance to save the friendship at all.

      If she can’t stick around through your breakdown and recovery, maybe she is not the friend you need to have in your life right now. YOu need a lot of support and encouragement right now. I’m not sure if she’s ready to offer that. I don’t think she understands breakdowns, and that’s ok.

      Kudos to you for coming out of that, Amanda! Sending you much love and healing vibes! :)

  91. anonymous says:

    Hi Amy. So I am a senior in high school and I have this friend who is super close to me. I befriended her last year when i was new to the school. I saw other people didn’t like her for some arbitrary reason (shes from texas) but I thought that was so rude and so started talking to her during lunch and befriending her. She is a very straightforward person which i like but she can be very arrogant. I had a lot of good timeswith her. When I asked my other friends at that time to do things with me, they were like im sorry i can’t when they clearly could. I asked this friend and she immediately said yes. I love how she can be comforting, but sometimes she is very condescending towards me as if i don’t know anything. This year I opened a club and I am president. I elected her as one of the officers because she is very organized and she can take care of things and is responsible.

    Now onto the bad things. She is very arrogant. One time we took this quiz and i said i wonder if i got this one question right. She explained it to me wrong and I knew it was wrong so i kindly said, i don’t think so… maybe its this way. She further neglected to believe me. I said that i have it in my notes. she said that you must have wrote it wrong. So she does have a bit of an ego. But i still love her. Shes a great person.
    Today we went outside together for a fundraiser and an errand that takes about 45 minutes took an 2 hours! So i was very upset because my curfew is much earlier.

    I don’t know if I should be friends with her or not. Its like I want to but sometimes I don’t you know..?

    Please Help
    Thanks!

    • Amy says:

      Hey, Strongie!

      It sounds like you have a good friend there, even if she’s a bit stubborn at times. :) You may just need to declare your boundaries a bit clearer. For instance, if you don’t want to stay out past curfew, make sure to make that known. If the time is getting close, let her know you need to get back, no matter if you’re done or not. Maybe offer to drive instead of her.

      And it sounds like the argument you had about the quiz is completely normal, you’re just both a bit stubborn. ;) Does it really matter who’s right? If you know you are, and she doesn’t want to look at the proof, then that’s her thing. It has nothing to do with you. You can simply say what you believe and either fight about it, or you can let it go and know what you know.

      What I WOULD be worried about is if she treats you badly, doesn’t mind your needs, or just doesn’t add to your life in any positive way. It sounds like she does, though, she’s just human, and therefore, beautifully flawed. ;) If it really bothers you, maybe bring it up with her about how it makes YOU feel (leave the focus on you instead of saying “YOU do this…” Say instead “I feel like this when this happens…”).

      Hope that helps!

  92. M says:

    Hi Amy,

    EVERYONE and especially people in highschool should listen to this advice. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I have learnt this now, and only last week I had the guts to call a friend and say “I don’t want this anymore”, after more than 5 years of opposite feelings: either extremely good moments, or terrible ones (needless to say, the terrible ones stick to your memory like permanent glue). Those 5 years were precisely from highschool to university, and completely shaped me into something I wish I had never become. Only today I am trying to find the strength to find myself again, after an incredible identity crisis and depressive feelings.

    Yes, in the moment you say “bye bye”, that person might cry, insult you, say you don’t deserve them, feel insulted, say you will regret it, swear they want to see you dead (you can imagine how mature and good of a friend she was). By the end of that phonecall, I was in panic, crying, I could barely believe I had done what I had done. But I did. For the first time, I stood up to someone who had made me believe she loved me and would do anything for me (probably she would, which is also scary and unhealthy), while in other times she said “I made her disgusted”, was jealous of my family, my other friends and even my good grades. And worst of all, I could not understand at all why I was still with her. Probably because I felt sorry for her, taking into account that her family life was a mess. She had trouble with – seriously – everyone and everything.

    I am still feeling afraid and paranoid, but I feel proud of myself for telling the truth regardless of the consequences. Like she ALWAYS did to me. She would throw her crap and drama on my head, cry, insult everyone, even make racist comments to other friends of mine and I would stand with everything for pitty. No. More.

  93. […] recently came across a post on firing the negative people in your life. I wish I’d seen this post months ago (heck, two years ago it would have been awesome). In […]

  94. WJS says:

    I have had some really bad friendships. I have also been too wrapped up in my own world and been a bad friend. I think when you don’t deal with your own problems that you you start to attract people who are “toxic.” I lost a friend I had known for 18 years because she invited herself to my home when I was post C-section with a hernial tear and facing an operation. She brought her 4 year old daughter at the last minute, then invited her cousin on the trip and expected me to host them all for dinner when they showed up 5 hours late from out of state. My husband put them up in a free hotel because that was way to0 many people to have in our small home, especially at that time. She really came out because she had given a child up for adoption (long story), and wanted to “help” me with my six month old baby. We lived far from family and most friends at that point. She criticized my home, my “neediness” from being in constant pain, and said I was terrible for not letting her family gather in my place and hang out. I actually apologized to this silly woman! That says more about me, I know. Then when she got back to her home she sent me a nasty email saying she had to “distance” herself from me. I said she could have said this in person or at least called. So we set up a call. She called me names and said I had never had problems that were as bad as her problems. I said this is not working for me anymore. Then she said she wished me well. I said “No you don’t. So don’t lie.” That was the end of that. The truth was: this pesron was never a friend. You have to cut people out when they really are not decent to you. The question is, why do we put up with people like this? I think it comes down to working on yourself so you can make better relationship choices. Just my two cents. Thanks for writing this article.

  95. Alexa says:

    Hi Amy,

    Thanks for this wonderful post. I totally agree that friendships need investment and “work” and that we need to find the “right” people to spend our time together instead of just hanging-out with whoever and whenever, or simply keeping our old school / college friends out of habit. The problem is, though, that many of my ex-friends didn’t really have the same definition of friendship as I did and I realized that pretty late…I failed to understand why other people wanted to hang out with me and feel very stupid. I also feel like the “bad guy” for wanting to “fire” them. What do you do when the other person doesn’t share your opinion about friendships and really doesn’t understand what your problem is? P.S. Nothing really dramatic had happened (for example they didn’t abuse me or anything, or stolen anything from me etc.)

  96. Sharon says:

    Thanks for posting this. I had a childhood friend to reconnect with me via Facebook last year. I finally cut him off today, once I realized that he was out for what he could get. I will admit that it was hurtful.but a lesson well learned. He took my kind, helpful nature as a weakness and lost a good person for life.

  97. Anonymous says:

    Hello, Amy.

    I found your post while doing some online reading about “toxic people” and the ways they can bring us down in friendships. This is coming someone who has resisted joining Facebook or similar mainstream social media.

    Probably what struck the biggest chord was your mention of letting someone into your life because of loneliness. I befriended someone while feeling incredibly lonely throughout my undergraduate studies. I knew from the beginning that despite the laughter and “camaraderie,” the friendship was not a good influence on my self-esteem and overall outlook on life.

    Eventually we became intimate, even though I knew in the depths of my soul that it could never lead to anything lasting and he was not someone I could trust in a romantic relationship. Meanwhile, I was reverting to my teenage ways of smoking a ton of marijuana in order to feel accepted. His life was and still is centered on marijuana, and I have long since returned to living a healthy lifestyle. For anyone who may be in a similar situation, listen to your intuition. Mine was telling me to run away, but I let it go on for a couple years before I finally saw things for what they were.

    The friendship ended through an e-mail explaining my need to disassociate myself from life that revolves around marijuana. I should have also mentioned my reasons for mistrusting him, but I did not. He was devastated and urged me to reconsider, but I held my ground and we have never seen each other since.

    Almost five years have passed, and recently, I called him to apologize for ending things so abruptly. It feels like things are reconciled, but hearing about his current lifestyle sends my intuition into red flag mode – much like how things were at the beginning. Although there has been a couple partly sincere mentions of getting together in person, my gut is telling me to not go there – ever. Before reading your post, I had been planning on letting him know in the most diplomatic way that we need to let things go in peace.

    Your post and comments from readers are among the most coherent I have encountered on the subject of handing “toxic people.” I thought I would share my thoughts and experience because your advice parallels much of my own philosophy, and after reading your post, I definitely know I can handle this once and for all. Thank you!

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