What do you do when you outgrow a friendship?
In kindergarten, kids collect best friends like they're M&Ms—the more the better! As you get older, though, your friendships change. You like to do different activities. Your favorite foods change. You like to watch different TV shows and listen to new kinds of music. You also start to talk, REALLY talk, with your friends about stuff that matters to you.
It makes sense that as you grow up, your friends will change, too. But what do you do with your old friends, the ones who you've known since kindergarten? Your BFF when you were five and into playing dolls and school may not share your new passions like soccer or hip-hop.
Do you stop being friends with someone when you grow apart?
If you do decide to part ways, you should know how to end a friendship with an old friend without hurting their feelings. If you're thinking of ending an old friendship, first decide if you really want that. Dumping someone is pretty permanent, so think before you act. Is there any way to save the friendship? You know what your differences are. Now think about the similarities. Notice how much you still have in common. Is there a way that you can change the way you spend time together? If you've both made new friendships with new groups of friends at school, perhaps you can spend time together outside of school. You can sign up for an activity together, or make a regular date to study, hang out, or even play together online.
If you're just not that into your friendship anymore but don't want to totally close the door, it's okay to phase out your friendship. Limit your friendship to a phone call or email every once in a while. If your friend calls to make plans, don't make up fake excuses. Eventually, she'll catch on and feel hurt that you're lying to her. Instead, you could tell her that you're really busy this year with activities, schoolwork, family, or whatever is taking up most of your time, and you don't have a lot of time to hang out. Then, make a mini-date to get together for something you still have in common, like a cupcake-decorating class, a concert, a trip to the mall, or an online gaming match.
After thinking about your friendship, you may still decide that you're just too different to stay friends. If your old friend has started doing things you think are unsafe, illegal, or just not nice, parting ways may be the best course.
How to End a Friendship
If a friend has ever dumped you, it feels pretty awful, doesn't it? When you're thinking about how to end a friendship, remember that you wouldn't want to make anyone else feel so bad. The good news is that it is possible to be honest without being hurtful. It's called "tact". When you use tact, you think before you speak so you avoid hurting the other person, and it's the most important thing to keep in mind when you're dealing with other people. If you're lucky, sometimes friendships just fade away because both of you feel the same way. If not, here are a few dos and don'ts to keep in mind:
How to End a Friendship—What NOT to do:
- Don't accuse her of anything or make her feel like she has to defend herself.
- Don't talk down to her like she's not as good as you are.
- Don't send her a note or email. She deserves the chance to respond.
- Don't get someone else to do it for you.
- Don't leave feeling icky about what went down.
- Don't let the conversation get mean or angry.
How to End a Friendship—What to do:
- Be nice. You used to be good friends, even if you've grown apart.
- Tell her face-to-face, or at least over the phone.
- Let her know why you feel the way you do.
- Honor what you had before. It was good while it lasted.
- Give her a chance to respond.
- Stick with her until you're both feeling okay.
- If either of you start to get angry, calm down. Be as tactful as you can.
Prepare yourself. Even if you say and do all you can to be tactful, she might get angry, say mean things, or even cry. It's important to be strong and stay true to your feelings. Don't be tempted to yell, hit, or get mean. If you do your best, someday you will look back and have only good memories of your friendship instead of bad feelings about your break-up.