A threat, however subtle, always exists when you're friends with a vindictive person.

How to Drop a Vindictive Friend

by Elise Wile

When you're friends with a vindictive person, taking her off your guest list or declining her calls can spark a fear of retaliation. After all, you really don't want her to spill that you have a crush on your younger next-door neighbor or spread a rumor that will make you feel like banishing yourself to Siberia. Living in fear of your so-called friend, however, gives her too much power over your life. Take decisive action to cut this toxic person out of your life and live fearlessly.

1. Step Back

You don't have to tell your friend that you never want to lay eyes on her again. If you weren't that close, use the time-honored approach of avoiding her while providing plausible excuses. If she calls and asks you if you want to go shopping, decline and let her know you're watching your budget. Put a special ringtone on your phone so that when she calls, you will know to let the call go to voice mail. If she asks why you're not answering your calls, tell her you've been busy (you have been busy ... avoiding her calls). After a while, your friend's pride will likely influence her to stop calling or inviting you to hang out.

2. The Direct Approach

Talking to your friend directly can help to solve any nagging questions she might have about what is going on with the friendship. Have a face-to-face meeting and tell her that the two of you seem to be on different paths in life, recommends clinical psychologist Erika Holiday. Let her know that you wish her well, and refuse to engage in any discussions about wrongs that may have happened in the past. If your friend threatens you, saying, "You're going to regret this," take the comment as affirmation that you're doing the right thing.

3. Keep Calm

Avoid ending the friendship in anger, advises friendship expert Irene Levine. If you're upset at your friend's actions, wait until you've calmed down before taking any action to end the friendship. Also, avoid blame. Even though it was wrong of your friend to have uninvited you to her wedding because she was upset that you went away for the weekend with another friend without inviting her, realize that nothing will be gained by bringing up old news. Do what you have to do and move on.

4. Keep Your Hands Clean

Once you've dropped your friend, don't sink to her level if she starts to talk trash about you to mutual friends. If other friends ask you what happened, say something like, "Vivian and I just don't jibe. There's no problem." Resist the urge to betray confidences you had with your former friend. Keep in mind that mutual friends who take the vindictive person's side without knowing the entire story are behaving immaturely. Refuse to let it bother you.

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