Is There a Nice Way to Stop Being Friends With Someone?

Take an honest approach to ending things with your friend.
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Just because you spent your grade school days or high school years with a friend doesn't mean that you will always have a close relationship with her. While you'll keep some friends for a lifetime, you may need to lose others. Whether the two of you are growing apart or she did something to wrong you, letting her down in a nice way shows that you are a mature, caring person.

1 Growing Apart

Ending a friendship isn't always abrupt or sudden. Sometimes, friends grow apart because their interests differ, their lives change or they are miles apart. For example, if your art club friend can't accept that you want to hang with your new basketball teammates, your changing interests may make your friendship end. During the teen and young adult years, you're exploring your identity and who you want to become. This includes making new friends and -- on occasion -- losing old ones. When you grow apart from a friend, typically, there's no need for a big scene or angry discussion. Instead, you two may drift apart over time.

2 Not for You

You wouldn't date every guy who asked you out, and you wouldn't become friends with every person who ever showed a friendly interest in you. Friendships involve an attraction that -- while not of a romantic nature -- includes a connection between two people. Ending a friendship nicely includes letting that person know that although he isn't the "right" friend for you, he is the "right" friend for someone else. If your friendship is truly fizzling, chances are that he already knows that the two of you aren't a match.

3 Passive Rejection

Whether you want to avoid conflict, are scared to face your former friend or you've simply stopped caring, a passive approach to ending your friendship requires very little effort. Instead of telling your friend that you're done, a passive rejection includes not returning calls, emails or texts and declining any social invitations, according to the article, "How to End a Friendship" on the "Psychology Today" website. This approach isn't for everybody or for all circumstances, as some may view this as a less-than-courageous way to end a friendship. It is better to be direct, caring and honest when ending a friendship, rather than taking a passive approach. Sometimes, however, this approach might be the better route. Be aware, however, that even though you aren't necessarily hurting your friend's feelings or being mean outright, she may not view being blown off as "nice."

4 The View From Inside of You

Although you may have found a perfectly nice way to end your friendship, you'll probably feel guilty about ending it. Unless the breakup was completely mutual, letting a friend go never feels good. You may feel badly about hurting the other person -- even if it was unintentional -- or worry that the demise of the relationship was completely your fault. Keep in mind that guilt isn't a reason to stay in a friendship that should end.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.