It's a difficult decision to cut a friend out of your life, but the toxicity of a manipulative friend can create an imbalance in the friendship. Balance is what keeps the relationship healthy, says author Florence Isaacs, quoted in the WebMD article, "Toxic Friends: Less Friend, More Foe." Despite making a mental list of the pros and cons of the relationship, you continue to feel stressed and drained even thinking about your friend, let alone spending time with her. The only thing left to figure out is how you are going to end the friendship.
1. Distance Yourself
Ease out of the friendship by creating some distance between the two of you. Ignore any emails you receive from him, avoid friendly texting, and wait about a week before returning his phone calls, suggests Self.com's article, "Should You Save Your Friendship?" Unless absolutely necessary, choose activities where your chances of running into him are slim to none. If your manipulative friend invites you to lunch, politely decline and continue to tell him you are busy. If the two of you socialize within the same circle, he may ask mutual friends about your change in behavior or where you have been; rather than involve them, simply tell them you have been busy as well.
There is a good chance that you will run into your manipulative friend at a social, school or community function. Act natural, be polite, and engage in a short, impersonal conversation before moving on to others. Despite the fact that you no longer wish to remain friends, being part of the same larger social circle may make it difficult if you fear causing tension or conflict within the circle, says Susan Shapiro Barash, author of "Toxic Friends." Continuing to attend regular social events, at least at first, will help to cut down on unnecessary drama that may occur due to ending the friendship.
3. Be Direct
Subtle tactics may not work with your manipulative friend, as she is used to being able to get her own way. If necessary, use a no-nonsense, straightforward approach and tell her you no longer wish to continue the friendship. Meet her face to face if you are able to do it without feeling bullied. During your conversation, directly and assertively tell her not to email, text or call you anymore. If you don't feel secure with meeting face to face, consider speaking with her over the phone. Because texts and emails can easily be misconstrued, you may want to avoid this method for ending your friendship.
4. Guilt Free
Unless the both of you change, a manipulative friendship is unlikely to change. Guilt, stress, and the sense of being taken for granted can make it feel as if a heavy weight has been lifted from your shoulders when you end the toxic relationship, according to Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., author of "The Friendship Fix" and a professor of psychology. Although you may be tempted to give him one last chance out of guilt, follow your instinct and move on with your life.
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images