5 Signs It's Time to Ditch Your Friend

Is it ok to break up with a friend?

As children, most of us spent hours playing on the playground with our classmates—some of whom would ultimately become friends for years to come. Back then, choosing friends was simple in that we aligned with kids we thought were cool or fun to be with. But, as adults, we now know a true friend is more than that. 

A true friend is someone who enhances our lives in many ways; they are there for more than just the good times. They are someone who is always willing to support you during tough times and lend a hand whenever needed. 

Sometimes, however, those we think are our true friends, truly aren’t, and we may choose to ignore signs that the friendship is falling apart.

“It’s important that our friends have our backs, but sometimes we may need to re-evaluate the friendship and decide it no longer works,” says author and certified life coach Dr. Jo Anne White.

That was the case for Diana, who eventually had to accept the fact that her friendship with a woman she thought of as a sister was ultimately over. 

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"Sign number one was that…(she) started to lie to me a lot,” Diana, who lives in Alabama, explained. “I would ask her to meet me for lunch when she was driving through town and she would make up excuses about why she couldn’t. We live two hours away from one another, so driving through town was a pretty big deal.” 

Diana said there were other signs things were heading south, such as when her friend began cancelling plans and calling and texting less because she was too busy.

“She would blame it on her kids or husband, but it was obviously all contrived,” Diana told GalTime.

The turning point came when Diana realized her friend wasn’t there when she needed her. After they both moved to new homes, Diana took her friend some furniture and then helped her spruce up her new home.

“We bought paint, and we painted the furniture to make it look new. We also stayed up until 2 am painting her bedroom, and we bought new bedding and made it cozy. The next day, she got up and went to work while I stayed and did some more unpacking and organizing for her. Thursday, when she was off, I asked her to drive down and help me paint, and she refused. She claimed she had ‘just moved and had a million things to unpack still.’ I explained that I had just moved as well and was in the same boat when I came to help her, but it didn’t matter. I later found out that she had made plans with someone else that day.”

Diana saw the (unpainted) writing on the wall.

“The biggest sign (our friendship was over was when) I started to feel used and taken advantage of. It was then I knew it was completely toxic and I needed to get out!” 

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Most of us have been in Diana’s shoes at one time or another. It is never easy to let a good friend go, but it may be necessary if you feel used, abused, or neglected and can’t work things out. If you are unsure about whether to end a friendship, White says these five signs are key indicators that it’s definitely time to move on:

1.  Your friend is always criticizing or finding fault with you or with what you do. She’s totally in judgment mode rather than being supportive and caring.

2.  She bashes you behind your back. You find out that when you’re not around, your friend talks about you in a less than positive light to others. 

3.  She's increasingly unavailable. Life is busy, we’re all over-scheduled. However, if you’re constantly calling and making overtures to go out or just to talk on the phone and she doesn’t give you the time for even a quick catch-up call, she may be giving you a message of non-interest. It’s time to follow her lead and be unavailable permanently. 

4.  You catch your friend in lie after lie until you don’t know what to believe or why she’s being untruthful. It’s hard to trust and respect someone who constantly veers from the truth. And it may be time to be true to yourself first!

5.  She's harming herself and not open to help. Although you’ve talked it over with her with consistent concern, and hung in—even offering help—she’s on a dangerous path of self-abuse and self-denial. Her behavior’s out of control and she’s taking others on the rollercoaster with her. Maybe have an intervention to offer help, but if she’s unresponsive, change course. Decide that she’s going in an unhealthy direction that’s not for you. Time to severe the cord.


How did you know it was time to walk away from a friendship?

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