How to End a Friendship with a Neighbor

Answering calls less frequently may help you end the friendship.
... Goodshoot RF/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Having a friend in the neighborhood can be both a blessing and a curse. If things go sour between you, the idea of breaking off the friendship with your neighbor can leave you feeling uncomfortable and anxious. Although ending any friendship can involve some pain, it is possible to end the friendship on civil terms.

1 Think It Over

If your neighbor did something that made you angry, and you have concluded that it is time to end the friendship, waiting until you are calm gives you time to reflect and think about if and how to end the friendship. You may find that having a calm discussion will solve the problem and enable you to stay friends with your neighbor, notes "Oprah" writer Barbara Graham in the article "Is It Time to End That Friendship?" In that case, you might say to your neighbor, "I felt hurt when you canceled our dinner plans the last three times. Can we talk about it?" Keep the focus on how you feel. Comments that are accusatory, like, "You cancel every time I make plans," or "What's your problem?" can make matters worse.

2 Build Distance

If you fear that outright breaking off a friendship with your neighbor could lead to future conflict, slowly distancing yourself from the friendship may be the solution. Stop initiating contact and slowly stop responding to phone calls or emails from your neighbor, suggests Psychology Today writer Dr. Alex Lickerman in the article "How to End a Friendship." If your neighbor arrives at your door for a visit, you might explain that now is not an ideal time for visitors or that you need to leave home soon. When invitations or other offers are extended, you might say, "I can't. Maybe some other time." Although this process avoids direct conflict, it can also leave your neighbor uncertain about whether you are just busy or you are truly breaking off the friendship.

3 Handle It Directly

In some cases, cutting off the friendship directly can minimize discord. You might invite your neighbor over and begin the conversation by saying, "This is very difficult, and I have thought a lot about this. I want to be honest with you. I feel like we are moving in different directions in our lives and have different values. I don't feel we should be friends any longer," suggests Huffington Post writer Debra Fine in the article "5 Ways to End a Friendship in a Friendly Way."

4 "Breaking Up" Guidelines

If you take the direct approach of calling a friendship quits, remember to be kind -- there is no reason to insult the other person, suggests Fine. Be prepared for a range of reactions to the news that the friendship has ended. If the conversation gets heated, excuse yourself and agree to discuss it at another time. If the friendship fades out, giving brief greetings when you encounter your neighbor while leaving or arriving home can keep things civil.

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.