Relationships

9 Therapist-Approved Texts To End A Friendship

“We’ve both grown, just not together.”

Two people sit back to back on stairs outside, facing away from each other while texting. Breaking u...
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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.

1

It’s Not You, It’s Me

You might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of IRL friend requests to chill pouring in now that more people are vaccinated — and some invites are bound to spark more joy than others. When you find yourself just not wanting to hang out with a particular person and you know you’ll just be low-key bitter about it, try some gentle honesty. “I know there has been a lot going on, but right now I don’t think I’m in a place to hang out and be the best friend I can be,” Ezelle advises.

2

It’s Not Me, It’s You

Ezelle tells Bustle that when you’ve been hurt by the utter lack of pandemic communication, it’s OK to get real about that. She recommends something like the following: “Not talking to you during this time really hurt my feelings, and I feel like in our friendship we should both be important.”

3

We Just Don’t Want The Same Things

That one party friend you used to have is really excited to get back into the bars — but you’ve come to appreciate quiet nights at home during COVID. “While I appreciate the invite to hang out, my interests have shifted in the past year and I just feel like we have drifted apart,” Crowls suggests.

4

We’ve Grown Apart (Part 1)

If you’re just not feeling that old friendship spark and it feels like a burden to hang out, there are kind ways to tell someone. “It’s hard to say this, but I have to be honest and put myself first and not continue this friendship,” Ezelle suggests.

5

We’ve Grown Apart (Part 2)

You can also go about telling your friend that you’ve just drifted by front-loading your positive feels for them, Ezelle says. “You’re really important to me, but honestly I think we’ve grown apart,” she suggests texting.

6

We’ve Grown Apart (Part 3)

Make it about both of you if that’s what makes sense for your situation. “We’ve both grown, just not together.” Ezelle explains that this one is simple and to the point, which is sometimes all you need.

7

You’ve Made Newer, Closer Friends

You don’t have to rub it in that you’ve moved on to be sincere, Ezelle says. “I care about you and you have been a great friend to me,” she suggests. “But being in this relationship is not something I’m able to focus on right now.”

8

Get Heartfelt

There’s nothing wrong with being the sentimental type. It’s OK to send a longer explanation that’s a bit mushier, Morales says.

“I wanted to reach out to let you know that I thought of you, and if I haven't said it in a while — I've appreciated all of history and memories we've created,” she suggests typing out. “Life has changed so much, and in many unexpected ways. I've done some self-reflecting and working on myself, and I think stepping back outside into the world will look a bit different for me. I feel [emotion word]. I hope as you navigate these next chapters, you'll find a sense of [happiness, joy, contentment, satisfaction, etc.].”

9

My Bad, But Also...

Sometimes, you’re the one who’s drifted away from your old pals during quarantine... and that’s been OK with you.

“Hey, I am really sorry that I’ve been distant lately,” Wolf suggests saying. “It’s been quite difficult to navigate this pandemic, and I appreciate your patience with me as I’ve begun to figure it all out — but I’m also not ready to be around others yet.”

If by “others” you mean “this particular person,” you can let them know that by combining this message with any of the above for a customized, gentle way to end a friendship.

Experts:

Sherese Ezelle, L.M.H.C., licensed behavioral therapist at One Medical

Lillyana Morales, L.M.H.C., pyschotherapist

Bernie Crowl, MHC-I, Brooklyn-based mental health counselor intern

Brianna Wolf, MHC-I, mental health counselor intern, Cazenovia University