Not all friendships last forever, no matter how much we wish they would. Just because you were once close to a friend doesn’t mean things are guaranteed to stay that way, and there’s nothing more pointless than trying to hold on to a relationship that just isn’t there anymore. Sometimes a friend is worth fighting for, and sometimes, it’s better to try and forget them altogether. Friends drift apart all the time for no obvious reason, whether it happens after high school or college, or once marriage and babies come into the picture, and sometimes even after that. If there’s one thing you don’t need in your life, it’s friends who aren’t really friends anymore, so it’s worth touching upon your frenemy identification skills to help you release anybody who should no longer be a part of your life! Here are 15 signs it’s time to let the friendship go.
Once both of you stop making an effort, it might be time to move on. Even the busiest and most dedicated amongst us will make room in their life for the people they want, no matter what other sacrifices they have to make. Everybody has time to reply to a text (seriously, it isn’t a long-form letter in cursive; it takes ten seconds out of your day!), and everybody has time for a five-minute phone call. If none of you are making even the minimum amount of effort required to keep a friendship running, then it’s because none of you care. That might sound totally brutal, but we always make time for the things we care about. If you are starting to forget each other and then find yourself making excuses as to why you can’t catch up this weekend, it’s a definite sign that the friendship isn’t what it used to be and you need to let go ASAP.
You never have to tell everyone every dark and dirty detail of your life, but there’s usually an open portal of communication between good friends. When you start keeping things from each other, it might indicate that the bond is starting to break. Particularly if you used to tell each other everything and now you have a whole bunch of stuff that you’re keeping from each other, it’s likely that there’s been a shift in feelings. Keeping personal things to yourself is fine, but if you don’t feel like you can be honest with her when she directly asks you a question or when she is involved in an issue and she needs to know about it, it isn’t really a good sign! Every friendship is different and some friends might consistently maintain a wall of privacy between them, but if that was never you until now, something might be wrong.
This is one of the signs that doesn’t usually mean a whole lot on its own but paired with a few of the others, it might be something to take notice of! In addition to the other signs, if you have both grown closer to people whom you prefer hanging out with more than the friend in question, it could be an indicator that the friendship is starting to fizzle out. That’s not to say that you can’t have other friends or hang out with anybody else, but if you constantly prefer the company of somebody else and rush to see them the way you used to rush to see your friend, there might be some subconscious replacing going on. If they’ve replaced you, then you don’t need friends like that, so it may definitely be time to break apart for a while. And if you’ve replaced them, they don’t deserve that either, so it's something to think about.
It’s one thing if you’re both no longer interested and making effort to see each other, but when the lack of interest is a one-sided thing, it’s pretty devastating! If a friend makes it clear that they no longer value you and care about you the way they once did, we strongly recommend making like Elsa and letting it go. It’s natural to want to salvage the friendship, especially if you are still in it 100%, but nobody deserves a friend who doesn’t care about them. Actions are usually all you need to tell you what the other person is feeling, and if they stop making an effort, aren’t there for you when you need them, and blatantly put a whole array of others before you, you can be fairly certain that they don’t care. If that is the case, then you shouldn’t care about them either. You deserve much better!
Losing a friendship that was once important to you is terrible, albeit a part of life. So in an attempt to hold on to friendships that are slipping away, many people will make the effort to catch up and try to maintain the bond they’ve always had. The problem is that it takes more than good intentions for a friendship to flourish, and if the connection and vibes are no longer there, then it might not matter how much effort you make. Friendships shouldn’t be ridiculously hard work, so if you find that things are awkward when you do get together, you might be trying to force it when it’s gone. It’s tragic because there isn’t always a huge fight or a change in lifestyle that is responsible for destroying the friendship; sometimes people just grow apart without realizing. Natural drifting apart is sad, but it's better than unnatural pushing to stay together.
Sometimes you don’t even notice that a friendship is not working, and you have to rely on outsiders to weigh in with an objective perspective. Much like a toxic relationship, people caught in toxic friendships can be blinded by emotion. Other friends and family can make a world of difference here by looking at your life from another point of view, so if the people close to you point out that your friendship is no longer good for you, it might be worth listening! They might ask why you are friends with that person if it’s obvious that you have nothing in common or they make you unhappy or they’re not treating you in an appropriate way, and if nothing else, consider their question. The opinions of others might count for nothing, but they might also be just what you need to see things clearly. Listen to those you trust!
Friends who don’t have anything in common can still get along. After all, the differences keep things exciting! But if things have changed to the point where you literally have nothing to talk about on your coffee dates because you lead completely different lives now, it could be a sign that it’s time to let it go. This happens all the time with high school or college friends who try to keep things going after those eras have ended. We’re often friends with people in high school and college because we’re grouped together in classes, studying the same things and know the same people. But without all that, there may not be any other sort of glue holding the friendship together. It’s great if there is, but it’s no one’s fault if things crumble once you get to the real world. You’re better off accepting the situation and moving on!
Sometimes friends just naturally drift apart, but every now and then, one betrays the other and the results are destructive enough to ruin everything. Even if you’ve known somebody forever, some acts are unforgivable. It sucks big time when a close friend goes from being the person you trust most to the one person you’ll never trust again overnight, and if that happens, it’s seriously worth ending it. All relationships take effort, all people make mistakes and forgiving someone who doesn’t deserve forgiveness is one of the hardest and most rewarding things you can do. But you’re under no obligation to forgive anybody, and you’re definitely under no obligation to stay in a friendship that is ruined in your eyes. It’s difficult to walk away from somebody with whom you shared so many amazing memories, but you have to leave the past in the past to get the future you deserve!
Another sign it could be time to release a friend from your life is when it’s becoming clear that they’re causing more trouble than they’re worth. This is tricky because you still might have as much fun with them as you’ve ever had, so you have to stand back and evaluate things carefully to determine whether this applies to you. Are they putting you in dangerous situations? Are they causing a strain on the other, important areas of your life? This is going to sound incredibly high school, but it's totally possible that they're a bad influence. Enjoying somebody’s company isn’t a good enough reason to keep them around if they’re seriously ruining things. A friend who is too clingy to let you have normal romantic relationships, or who pressures you to go out drinking the night before you have a presentation at work, is a friend you should consider setting free.
Fighting is actually a healthy part of all relationships, but it definitely shouldn’t be all you’re doing! If your friendship has gotten to the stage where you argue every time you see each other, and the arguments are a bit nasty and intense rather than funny little love-hate situations, things have definitely changed. You could just be going through a rough patch, so we wouldn’t say that you have to immediately dump a friend if this is happening to you. Especially if you’ve been spending too much time together, a little space may do you good! But if you give things some time and it’s still at the point where every meeting is like World War Three, why would you want to keep something like that happening in your life? No matter how many memories and funny moments you share between you, constant tension isn’t a good thing for anyone.
Friendships happen for a reason. It doesn’t really make sense to be friends with someone if they don’t bring anything good to the table, so this is another sign that might indicate the need to let someone go. Friends should be there to offer support, laughter, and company, and somebody who just sits there and doesn’t make any difference to your life is probably easily replaced. That might sound terrible since they haven’t technically done anything wrong, but time is precious and should be spent with people who do make a difference. There doesn’t have to be any hard feelings, but just make sure you’re leaving room in your life for the people who are going to make it better. If they’re not adding anything beneficial to your life, then you’re probably not making much difference in theirs, either. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find the best people for you both!
Trust is one of the core, non-negotiable elements of a friendship. Those superficial friendships that only exist so people have drinking buddies and somebody to pose with on Instagram might not require trust, but the other kind definitely do! There isn’t much point in having a good friend if you can’t trust them to be there for you, and trust them not to betray you. So if it’s gotten to that stage, it’s probably a good idea to shift them over to the drinking-buddies-and-Instagram category. They’re good for the weekend, but you won’t be calling them for advice. We all know that trust is very hard to get back once it’s been broken, so we wouldn’t be waiting out for somebody to prove that they actually are trustworthy despite totally dogging you out. You don’t have to start a fight over it; just release them like a leaf in the breeze!
If things are the other way around, and you’ve done something to hurt your friend, there sadly might not be anything you can do to restore the friendship. Just as you aren’t obligated to forgive them, they don’t have to forgive you if you’ve really screwed it up. What can be forgiven and forgotten will always come down to the individual person. If you’ve apologized and reached out but they aren’t interested in fixing things, the best thing you can do for yourself is accept the consequences of your actions, release the friendship and move on with your life. You’re probably in enough pain from the regret of what you’ve done, and you don’t need any more by being rejected as you try to salvage something that’s totally broken. You never know what might happen in the future, though, so maybe if you give it some time you’ll slowly become friends again!
Friends are supposed to make you feel good! Okay, so some of the best friends will always give it to you straight even if you don’t like what they have to say and will encourage you to stick to your goals when you want to give up. But most of the time, hanging out with your friend should be the best part of the week! You should be looking forward to it. If you leave feeling sad or worse than you did before you left, it’s not a normal friendship. You might have a bad time once or twice, but you definitely shouldn’t be consistently coming home and feeling terrible after seeing them. Whether it’s about something they said to you or how they made you feel about yourself, a friend who makes your day worse with their presence needs the boot, sorry to say! Friends make friends smile, period.
You know it’s time to stop fighting for a friendship if you get to the point where you literally don’t care whether they’re in your life or not. You just don't miss them at all. Often when a friend is clearly no good for you, you try hard to hold on because of the habit. But once you stop missing them when they’re not there and are completely detached from them, you know there’s nothing left to hold on to. It might be after they’ve done something horrible to you, and one day it stops hurting and you wake up not being able to care less. It might be months after none of you have made any effort, and the intention stops popping in your head when you see their name pop up on Facebook. If they pretty much revert back to the category of stranger, you don’t have to let the friendship go because, girl, you’ve already done it.