How to Let a Friendship Fade

Allowing a friendship to fade may mean ignoring a friend's attempts to contact you.
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Some friendships stand the test of time, while others end with a disagreement or fade away in near-silence. Though some people may hold onto a friendship that leaves them unfulfilled, others choose to break away and create bonds with new friends. While it can be uncomfortable to let a friendship fade, it is possible to do it in a gentle way.

1 "I'm ... Busy"

While you and your friend once spent every Saturday together, you now cringe whenever the phone rings. Making excuses for not getting together and keeping busy are common strategies when distancing yourself from a friend. However, your friend may try to topple your excuses by offering solutions. If you do choose to say you're "busy" whenever a friend calls, stick to plausible ones for which you may have no out -- like having to work or finishing a class project.

2 The Silent Fade

Friendships also can fade away from a lack of contact -- emails, phone calls and other attempts at contact simply go ignored. The silent treatment gives you a chance to stop investing energy in a friendship and to also avoid a confrontation, according to psychologist Hendrie Weisinger in the article "Friendships: When and How to End Them!" for "The Huffington Post." This also requires you not to initiate contact, which can send your friend mixed signals.

3 Speaking Directly

Sometimes, directly addressing your feelings to your friend may lead him to also distance himself from the friendship. If you feel that your friend will continue trying to get together -- no matter how often you ignore him or throw excuses his way -- a direct conversation may be the better option. Stay calm as you deliver the facts, and avoid name-calling or blaming for a greater positive effect, according to Weisinger.

4 Other Considerations

Maybe your friend did something that left you seething with anger or you have chosen to end the friendship after a long pattern of poor behavior. When you do make the decision to let a friendship fade, spend time thinking about your decision and consider if you could solve the problem another way. Having a conversation about the problem, choosing to spend a little time apart or spending less time together could be other solutions, according to psychologist Irene S. Levine in her article "How to Gently Let Go of a Toxic Friend" for "Psychology Today." If you do go ahead with ending things, practice your excuses ahead of time in order to avoid saying anything that you may regret.

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.