How do you de-friend someone?

21:38, Aug 30 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 or follow me on Twitter.

The Press