It isn’t always necessary to send a text to end a friendship. If you and a pal have drifted apart, you’ll probably reach out less and less often until it gets to the point where you no longer speak. This is the natural progression of many friendships as people get older, grow, and change — and that’s OK.
There are, however, quite a few circumstances where you may want to
break up with a friend so that you can truly move on. In situations where a friendship is no longer in your best interests, it can be tempting to ghost or send an insincere text like, “Hey, I’m super busy but I would love to hang out when things calm down,” says mental health counselor Bernie Crowl, MHC-LP. But if you truly can’t see yourself getting together again, figuring out what texts to send to end a friendship is tough, but can ultimately spare their feelings.
You might also want to
end a friendship over text if the person is toxic or draining to be around. Do they pick fights? Bring you down? Or have they betrayed your trust? “Texting can be used as an effective tool for creating a safe boundary as it reduces the ways in which the person can try to manipulate you,” says trauma-informed therapist Dr. Amelia Kelley. “By not being in person, or even on the phone, you can remain more grounded and choose how much of the interaction to participate in.” Once you end the friendship, you can block them and move on.
While it’s never easy to
call off a friendship, sometimes it’s for the best. If you’re not sure where to start, these therapist-approved texts can help you break up with your old friend. 1 “I appreciate the invite, but my interests have shifted in the past few years and I just feel like we’ve drifted apart.” Let an old friend know that your interests have changed, especially if they're pressuring you to go out.
Let’s say that one of your old party friends is really excited to get back into the bars now that they’re vaccinated, but you’ve come to appreciate quiet nights at home or have decided that you
no longer want to drink. If they keep pressuring you to go out, Crowl recommends sending a text like this one to let them know where you stand. 2 “It’s hard to say this but I have to be honest and put myself first and not continue this friendship.”
If this friend doesn’t build you up like they used to — or if they actively tear you down — don’t hesitate to send this type of text. You don’t have to go into detail, especially if the other person doesn’t mean any harm. According to licensed behavioral therapist
Sherese Ezelle, LMHC, you can still gently let them know that you won’t be available to hang out going forward. 3 “Due to recent conflict, I’m choosing to end this friendship.”
text breakup like this one makes the most sense following a betrayal or big argument. If you’re feeling hurt or drained, send it and be done. “They may ask for further clarification but it is truly your choice whether or not you want to share anything further,” Kelley says. “No is a complete sentence and a boundary does not have to be justified.” 4 “I feel like this friendship isn’t healthy for me.”
If you don’t want to go into the details, Kelley says this text may be a good choice. “Again, you’re being clear and concise,” she says. “There is no need to justify why the relationship is hurting you unless you want to share those feelings.” If the friend gives you a hard time or doesn’t respect your boundaries, hit “block”.
5 “I want to be completely transparent. I’ve been feeling angry since we saw each other. This tends to happen when we spend time together, so I can no longer engage in this friendship.”
Here’s a similar text that’ll help explain where you’re at, says mental health therapist
Emily Griffin, MA, LCPC. If the friend keeps pressing you to hang out, you may want to send it as a firm way to call things off once and for all.
The last thing you want is to lead someone on, Griffin says, especially if the person doesn’t realize that they’re tough to hang out with. While you don’t have to list all of their flaws, you can certainly share how you feel and why you need to back away.
6 “I need space from our friendship. Distance will help both of us understand who and what is important to us."
Dr. Easton Gaines, a licensed psychologist, it’s as important to define a friendship as it is to define a relationship. “Knowing how you feel and why you feel that way is paramount,” she tells Bustle. “What is your friend doing or not doing that is bothering you? How is this making you feel? Are you saddened, offended, frustrated?”
Send this text and then take some time to assess. If you do decide to move on, allow yourself to experience any tough emotions that arise. “It is likely that you have been reeling over this decision for quite some time,” Gaines says. “Once processed, which may be helpful with professional guidance, you will have a better appreciation for your limits and essentials.”
7 “I haven’t heard from you in forever and it really hurt my feelings.”
Sometimes folks have a good reason for going silent. If your friend has been busy dealing with their life, you may find that you’re able to give them space until they’re ready to reach out again. (Remember, think about how you’d want to be treated.)
That said, it’s also completely valid to feel hurt by a friend’s ongoing silence, especially if they left you hanging without explanation. In that case, Ezelle recommends sending a text like this one: “Not talking to you during this time really hurt my feelings, and I feel like in our friendship we should both be important.” Then let them know you’ll be focusing on your own needs going forward.
8 “We’ve both grown so much, but not together.”
Here’s another gentle way to let a friend know you want to
go your separate ways. Ezelle says this is a simple, to-the-point way of calling off a friendship that’ll allow you to move on without leaving your friend to wonder what happened. 9 “Life has changed so much for me. I’ve done some self-reflecting and I think stepping back out into the world will look different for me.”
According to psychotherapist
Lillyana Morales, LMHC, this is a great text to send when you want to shift who you interact with. If you’ve spent some time working on yourself — perhaps by going to therapy — you may realize that some old friendships no longer align with the new you.
You may want to follow up with a longer explanation, Morales says, like this one: “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. I feel [emotion word]. I hope as you navigate these next chapters, you'll find a sense of [happiness, joy, contentment, satisfaction, etc.].”
10 “I care about you but being in this relationship is not something I’m able to focus on right now.” VioletaStoimenova/E+/Getty Images
If your circumstances have changed, Ezelle suggests sending this text as a way to let an old pal know you’ll be focusing your attention elsewhere.
You don’t have to rub it in or explicitly say you’ve moved on, but you should let them know you won’t be available going forward, especially if you know for sure that you won’t ever see them again.
11 “I feel like you don’t value me as a friend.”
According to licensed clinical professional counselor
Shawnessa Devonish, LCPC, NCC, this text is the ideal way to cut things off with a friend who’s repeatedly let you down. While many friendships are reparable, especially if you have a heart-to-heart conversation, it’s often best to let go of connections that make you feel bad.
“In general, you may want to end a friendship if you experience intense feelings of betrayal or rejection as a result of their actions,” Devonish tells Bustle. “Due to this, it may be best to end the friendship, even if it is through text, to prevent yourself from developing any
severe abandonment wounds.” 12 “I need to spare myself further discomfort.”
If this person is truly
toxic, make sure you word the text in a way that can’t be misinterpreted. Relationship expert Sameera Sullivan suggests sending a message like this one: “I am mentally drained and have decided to spare myself from more discomfort by distancing myself from you. The decision has already been made, so please know that nothing can convince me otherwise at this point. Please don’t reach out again." 13 "I've tried to have this conversation in person many times. But it's clear you aren't hearing me. I don't want to be friends anymore."
Jordan Pickell, MCP RCC recommends this text if the friend isn’t listening or if they keep crossing boundaries. “Maybe you've tried to talk about your differences face-to-face and they aren't hearing you, so you've decided to switch modes of communication,” she tells Bustle. In this scenario, a text may help them understand. 14 “I appreciate your patience, but I’m not ready to be around others just yet. I just need a little space. I hope you understand.”
If you’re going through a rough patch in your life, send a text like this one to let a friend know where you stand. “Be upfront and honest with your feelings,” says counselor
Brianna Wolf, noting it’ll help them fully understand why you’ve been MIA so they can give you the space and support you need.
While it might feel as if you want to call off the friendship, you may feel a lot better once you take some time to yourself. That’s why there’s no need to be black and white about every connection. Instead, let the friend know you need time to figure things out, then see how you feel in the future.
15 “I’m down for coffee.” StefaNikolic/E+/Getty Images
You may also decide that you’d like to remain friends, just not in the same capacity. “Sometimes a friendship breakup is about changing the level of intimacy,” Pickell says. “Maybe you're OK to attend the same gatherings, but you don't want a one-on-one relationship anymore. Maybe you are open to a relationship in the future. It's helpful to be clear about that.”
Experts: Bernie Crowl, MHC-LP, mental health counselor Dr. Amelia Kelley, trauma-informed therapist Sherese Ezelle, LMHC, licensed behavioral therapist Emily Griffin, MA, LCPC, mental health therapist Dr. Easton Gaines, licensed psychologist Lillyana Morales, LMHC, psychotherapist Shawnessa Devonish, LCPC, NCC, licensed clinical professional counselor Sameera Sullivan, relationship therapist Jordan Pickell, MCP RCC, relationship therapist Brianna Wolf, counselor
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This article was originally published on
May 2, 2021