You can end a toxic friendship.

How to Quit Toxic Friends

by Kristen Moutria

Quitting a toxic friend may be an intimidating notion. Author Ann Smith reports on "Psychology Today" that a toxic friend is one who takes while you give, does not support you, cannot be trusted and brings out the worst in you. Although you know in your heart that this friendship is draining you and causing you more stress than enjoyment, you do not want your friend to react in a negative way or try to convince you to remain friends with him. Instead of letting yourself be manipulated, learn how to end your friendship without room for negotiation.

Accept that you cannot change your friend. In her book "Toxic Friends: A Practical Guide to Recognizing and Dealing with an Unhealthy Friendship," Loraine Smith-Hines writes that you must stop justifying and rationalizing your toxic friend's behaviors. Recognize that your friend is bringing you down and that you feel drained after you spend time with her. Friendship is a choice, and you are not forced to spend time with someone who makes you feel bad.

Take responsibility for the friendship. If you do not end the toxic friendship, you are partly responsible for hurt feelings. WebMD reports that you must take some degree of responsibility for a toxic situation and learn to say no to your toxic friend, or you will pay the price when he leaves you feeling down.

Be clear that you are ending the relationship. Smith-Hines reports that whether or not your friend believes you are ending the friendship is irrelevant. Your friend has manipulated you in the past, and she will likely try to manipulate you now. Instead of letting her convince you otherwise or give you a guilt trip, be firm in your decision and let her know you two will no longer be spending time together.

Forgive your friend. After you have ended the friendship, forgive your friend for anything he did to hurt you. Smith-Hines notes that forgiveness is not for the benefit of your friend, but for your own personal healing and recovery. You may mourn the loss of the relationship, but be sure to remind yourself that what you did was for the best and that your own well-being is more important than the feelings of your manipulative friend.


  • Be encouraged that you are making the best decision for your own well-being. Although you may hurt your friend's feelings, it is important for him to realize the consequences of his actions.


  • Your friend may be toxic, but if she is dangerous in any way, make sure you are around someone who can protect you if something goes wrong and she attempts to use violence or manipulate you.


About the Author

Kristen Moutria has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Evangel University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in education from the University of Nebraska.

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