"Breaking Up" with a Friend

Dear Ms. Demeanor

I have come to the conclusion that a girlfriend of mine is not good for me. She is manipulative, controlling, nosy and vengeful. How do I get her out of my life without being too obvious and without hurting her? Or will she eventually pick up on the fact that I don't want to be her friend anymore?



Dear Tammy

You sound pretty hot under the collar, so perhaps it's a good idea to let some time pass before you do anything. You can have "prior plans" to help you keep a temporary distance. Or, if your friend knows you're upset, you can be honest and tell her you need to take a break until you regain balance.

However, if you're absolutely certain you want to end the friendship, here are a few ways to go about it:

Letting things drift is a possibility. When she asks you to do something, you can say you have plans. You can decline to make future dates by saying you think you'll be busy and can't make any time commitments.

Be ready for the possibility that she'll want some explanation for why you're backing off. Then you owe her the truth, but without being accusatory. You can say something like, "It just feels like we're not clicking lately and it might be a good idea to go in different directions for a while." Or you might say, "I just don't see things the way you do lately."

Keep a lid on your opinions about her character flaws. Reciting a list of her shortcomings (as you see them) will solve nothing. Trust me on that. You only will hurt her. Should you be tempted to tell others, remember that it would only make you, not her, look bad. Instead, wish her well in your heart and with your words.

Friends become part of ourselves because of all we share. Never disrespect that fact. We all change and grow. Our needs and interests change. And although it's sad to call a friendship quits, it's a fact of life.

What matters most is that we never cheat friends or ourselves of the dignity, respect and kindness we deserve.

Ms. Demeanor

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