How to End a Toxic Friendship without Hurting their Feelings

Learn how to be diplomatic

Lisa Conan / Madame Figaro


How to End a Toxic Friendship without Hurting their Feelings

Within these two months of lockdown, some of us have been trying to make their life easier and simpler, getting rid of everything that annoy them, including toxic friendships. Two experts gave us some tricks on how to make the other get the message using psychology and diplomacy as well.

Lockdown made us ask ourselves the right questions about our daily habits; we became more aware of what we want and, above all, of what we no longer want. It is some kind of "sorting" that also goes through friendships as well. How to improve a relationship or break it up completely, without hurting your friend’s feeling in a diplomatic way? Read the following, to know what a psychotherapist and a psychologist have to say about that.


Give Reasons

Getting this message to your friend is very delicate and the decision can be hard to accept. To make it easier, a discussion is recommended.

 "If you fail to break up with your friend and remain silent all the time, it will leave your friend in doubt, and it can be very hurtful," said psychotherapist Sarah Serievic.

Therefore, it is better to be honest about how you feel: "I moved away because I feel that our conversations are less meaningful, I feel less understood. I feel like something is no longer working in our relationship. I would like to have your opinion,” the expert gives some examples.

The goal: cause the least damage and invite the other to share his or her thoughts as well.


Sort out your emotions

It is recommended to take your time to think about it beforehand and to identify the problems you are facing with this friendship: "What’s wrong? Am I happy to spend time with this friend? What is my responsibility?” asked the psychotherapist. After this evaluation, you can chat with your friend in a rational way.

"If there’s an overflow of emotions, your friend will feel strong emotions that he couldn’t accept easily," explains the psychotherapist.

In conclusion: speak with your heart, but without overdoing it.


Avoid accusations

Try this formula: "I felt this and it did that to me".

"It is a way to express your feelings," says psychologist Béatrice Copper-Royer. We can visualize how the other reacts. Psychotherapist Sarah Serievic says: "It depends on your friend's ego. If she/he has significant ego, she/he will answer: "what are you talking about, you are paranoid." In this case, the expert recommends "not to answer and invite her/him to think. The relationship should naturally fall apart because the friend will not necessarily call back.”


Do not rush things

Béatrice Copper-Royer advises us to think and reminds us that this is a very delicate matter: “Do not rush, do not make a hasty decision. Everyone has experienced isolation in a different way; some friends may have disappointed us. Life is gradually going back to normal and our standpoint can evolve on these friendships.”


Be clear

If you made your final decision, it is important to be completely transparent about what will happen next. "It is important to thank the others for what they have given us and to explain them that at this time, each one you is taking a different path," says Sarah Serievic.