With friends you haven’t spoken to in a year coming out of the fully vaccinated woodwork, you’re getting hit from all directions from invites to chill together. But if you’ve just grown apart and don’t feel like you can contribute to the friendship the same way you used to, mental health experts say that breaking up with your friends deserves the same respect as breaking up with a romantic partner. Figuring out what texts to send to end a friendship can be tough when you’re just over it with no hostility, but it is doable.
“It’s important that you are able to give old friends an opportunity for closure,” says Sherese Ezelle, L.M.H.C., a licensed behavioral therapist at One Medical. “This may seem silly, but the ability to reconcile the friendship and feeling heard is a very important step in ending a relationship.”
These shifts in relationships are normal, says psychotherapist Lillyana Morales, L.M.H.C. Adjusting to social life post-vaccination is just as big an adjustment as what you went through at the beginning of lockdown, she explains. “Acknowledging that perhaps you've grown and spent a significant time with yourself in the last year and that as you re-engage that you may have realized that some people, places, things, hobbies, etc. may not be a part of the newest chapter of your life — and that is OK.”
It can be tempting to either ghost or send an insincere text like, “Hey, I am super busy but I would love to hang out when things calm down,” says Brooklyn-based mental health counselor intern Bernie Crowl, MHC-I. But if you really don’t see yourself getting anything positive from this relationship anymore, that kind of text will just delay the inevitable — and probably increase resentments along the way.
Instead, try to be transparent if you can. “Be upfront and honest with your feelings — regardless of the time you’ve been friends,” says mental health counselor intern Brianna Wolf, MHC-I at Cazenovia University. “Think of it this way; if you were on the flip side of that conversation or friendship, how would you feel if you had been ghosted? Take that vantage point and use it to guide possibly ending this friendship.” If you’re not sure where to start, these nine therapist-approved texts can help you break up with your old friend.