How to Know When to Walk Away From a Friendship

Finding a new group of friends may mean walking away from an old one.
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Knowing when to walk away from a friendship can save you time and peace of mind. From acting out against you -- such as lying or spreading gossip -- to simply growing apart, the reasons for ending a friendship are often as complicated as the actual split itself. Knowing that the time is right to cut your losses and move on can help to minimize this painful process.

1 Pressure from Peers

Even though your friends can positively influence you -- think of how your BFF encouraged you to try out for the school play or get an A on your chem final -- they can also put on negative pressure. When a friend pressures you to do something that you know is wrong or don't believe in, it is time to quickly reevaluate the relationship. Real friends won't make you feel uncomfortable or bad about yourself for not following their lead. If a friend says you are "lame" for not smoking or "stupid" if you don't dress like him, it is time to walk away.

2 Once a Cheater

While your friend isn't going to cheat on you in the same way as a romantic partner, her dishonesty can break your trust enough to end the relationship. Although deciding whether your friend's behavior warrants ending the relationship would seem simple, sometimes it is hard to know if she's truly dishonest. There isn't just one type of lying. Your friend may lie by purposefully omitting information, exaggerating what she tells you to manipulate a situation or blaming others for her dishonest actions, according to clinical psychologist Bill Knaus in his article "Protect Yourself from Liars and Deceivers" on the Psychology Today website.

3 Dating Dilemma

You walk by the local coffee shop or stroll into the school cafeteria to see your best bud and your girl hanging out. Finding out that your friend and girlfriend are sneaking around behind your back is a betrayal that you can't tolerate. Instead of fighting over a girl you can't trust, consider letting both your relationship and your friendship go. If your friend doesn't have a reasonable explanation -- such as they were secretly planning a surprise birthday party for you -- it is time to walk away. While it is unlikely that your friend was purposefully trying to hurt you, someone who deceives you isn't worth your while.

4 The Rumor Mill

Your utmost enemy isn't the only one who could spread nasty rumors about you. Friends can also get the rumor mill going by gossiping about what is going on in your life. This behavior is hurtful and can become a form of bullying if your friend is purposefully trying to turn others against you, according to the article "Someone is Spreading Rumors About Me. What Can I Do?" on the TeensHealth website. If your "friend" intentionally starts mean-spirited rumors about you or sits by and does nothing to stop the gossip, ending your relationship is essential. True friends will stand up for you -- not put you down to other people.

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.