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When a friendship no longer serves you

First off, let’s acknowledge that ending any relationship is tough, especially one that’s given you joy, support, and companionship. Friendships are like cozy blankets on a cold day, but sometimes they get frayed and just don’t keep you warm anymore.

Life changes. We all go through different phases: starting a family, diving into a new career, becoming a Plum! But these changes can sometimes strain our friendships. Maybe you and your friend are growing apart, either physically or emotionally. Distance doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder.

Negativity is another biggie. If your friend starts bringing more gloom than sunshine into your life, it might be time to reconsider the relationship. Different values can also drive a wedge between you, especially in the political climate we’re living in now.

A toxic friendship is like that one plant in your garden that just refuses to bloom, no matter how much you water it. You might not notice the signs at first—subtle jabs, missed events, or feeling emotionally drained after hanging out. But over time, these signs become more apparent.

If your needs are being neglected, your friend is consistently negative, or you’re the one always reaching out, you’re dealing with a toxic situation. Healthy friendships should be supportive and mutually beneficial.

To end a friendship with compassion, the Plums have arrived at this list of strategies:

Talk It Out: Honest, direct communication can clear up misunderstandings. Ghosting might seem easier, but it leaves your friend confused and hurt. Set a time for a private conversation where you can both express your feelings.

Let It Fade: If a confrontation feels too daunting, gradually reduce contact. Sometimes, friendships naturally drift apart, and that’s okay.

End It Immediately: In cases of abuse or severe boundary violations, cut ties immediately. Your safety and well-being are paramount.

Write a Letter: If face-to-face is too hard, a letter can help you articulate your thoughts without the heat of the moment taking over.

Don’t Be Aggressive: Aggression leads to defensiveness and arguments. Keep things calm and rational.

Be Open & Honest: Sugarcoating or beating around the bush will only lead to more confusion. Be straightforward about why you’re ending the friendship.

Don’t Play the Blame Game: Pointing fingers only escalates the situation. Focus on your feelings and experiences without assigning blame.

Don’t Argue: Keep emotions in check. Arguing distracts from your main message and can lead to unnecessary drama.

State Your Expectations: Be clear about what you expect moving forward, especially if you’ll still see each other in shared social circles.

Avoiding unhealthy break-up tactics is crucial. Don’t ghost them—that leaves them in the dark. Don’t involve others, as it only creates drama. Keep it off social media to prevent public spectacle and unnecessary opinions. Rudeness will escalate things, and guilt will only make you second-guess a well-thought-out decision.

Ending a friendship can stir up a whirlwind of emotions. They might cry, get angry, or ignore you. Be prepared for any reaction and know that - even in the midst of discomfort - it’s better than moving forward as if nothing is wrong.

It's okay to walk away from a friendship that no longer serves you. You deserve relationships that uplift and support you. So take a deep breath, trust your instincts, and do what’s best for you.