How do you de-friend someone?

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 09:38 31/08/2012

In the online world, it's easy to de-friend someone. You click a button and boom you're no longer friends.

But in real life, how do you let someone know you know longer want to be associated with them?

It's a pretty awkward situation.

Several years ago, I made the decision to cut toxic people out of my life. Which, unfortunately, included a friend of mine.

We were never particularly close, but knew each other through mutual friends and often met up for coffees and chats. One day, after I left the cafe, I realised I wasn't gaining anything from her friendship.

Every time I saw her she put me down.

You know the kind of person.

You spend hours in the salon getting a new hairdo and they cut you down in a matter of seconds with a "Great, you finally fixed your hair!"

Promotion at work - "I don't care what anyone says, you're smarter than you look."

You had a hot date - "Well, I wouldn't date him but I think you should."

Even worse, she'd ALWAYS switch the conversation over to how well her own life was going.

Suffice to say, she had to go.

I stopped texting back as often, made excuses not to meet for our coffee dates and generally discouraged contact.

I wasn't trying to be mean in de-friending her. I wished her all the best in her life; I just didn't want to have her in mine anymore.

I was lucky. She took the hint and our friendship ceased without much drama. Perhaps she didn't like me that much either. In any case, I felt much better and surrounded myself with people who boosted me instead of bringing me down.

You'd think that negative friends would naturally drift away. And nine out of 10 times that's the case. Hell, I have enough trouble keeping in touch with my close friends - most of whom are spread all around the world.

However, sometimes you have to actively push someone away.

A  friend of mine is going through it right now. She's tried cutting contact with a "friend" who isn't adding any value to her life, but the friend hasn't taken the hint. In fact, if anything, it's made her more clingy.

A group of us talked about what my friend's next move should be.

Out-right telling the girl she didn't want to be her friend anymore seemed a bit harsh and moving cities, or countries, seemed a bit rash. One person even suggested being extra boring every time she talked to her friend so that she'd tire of her company.

What's your advice on how to de-friend someone in a non-hurtful and mature way? Is it even possible?

Have you ever had to cut a friend from your life? How'd it go? Comment below, email me at anna.turner@press.co.nz or follow me on Twitter.

- © Fairfax NZ News

35 comments
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Dawn   #1   10:11 am Aug 31 2012

Ah I so know what you mean... I have a few 'friends' who are always putting me down. I've tried to distance myself from them like you said but it is hard. I was hoping we'd drift apart more after uni!

Kim   #2   10:13 am Aug 31 2012

Personally I think your friend should just buy her a wine and talk it over. Say you don't appreciate the way she speaks to you. If she doesn't get the message then tell her she hasn't changed in a few weeks. I'm pretty straight up lol!

Tas   #3   10:21 am Aug 31 2012

This girl in my circle is EXACTLY like you described. Everything you say she twists it into how she's better than you. Drives me mental. I can't really stop hanging out with her as she's friends with all my friends though.

FK   #4   10:25 am Aug 31 2012

Just sleep with their boyfriend, problem solved. You might enjoy it too.

louloou   #5   10:28 am Aug 31 2012

Just because you don't like someone doesn't mean you can be respectful and honest with them. Explain how you feel, and that at this stage, you would rather not continue with the friendship. Don't be passive and just disappear - it's rude, lazy and inconsiderate. By having a conversation with them, you may actually find out more about them and why they are the way they are. Give genuine feedback on how you feel about their behaviours and give them a chance to redeem themselves.

Jade   #6   10:30 am Aug 31 2012

Good on you Anna for cutting negative people from you life. Who needs them. I always said better to have a few friends I could really rely on then be lost in a sea of people I couldn't trust.

Chris   #7   10:36 am Aug 31 2012

Wimmens problems. If men don't like a friend of theirs talking smack they just tell them to shove it.

peachy   #8   10:40 am Aug 31 2012

Once you reach adulthood there's no need to keep these sorts of people in your life. They only bring bad karma. Kick them to the curb but I agree do it in the politest way possible.

Stop replying to emails, texts, calls, facebook messages. She will get the hint eventually. Make up excuses that your busy with your real friends!

stewart   #9   10:44 am Aug 31 2012

I kept telling my wife to do this for years. She had these friends she'd always go see and come back just complaining about them. I was baffled. Eventually we moved away (for different reasons) and she made a new group. Was so much happier, tell your friend not to delay.

mj   #10   10:46 am Aug 31 2012

Are you sure your friend wasn't talking about you and trying to get you to take the hint lol


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