As we get older, we make new friends and gradually drift away from some old friends, but some people stick around for years, even if they aren’t good for us. It’s hard to cut ties with someone who feels like part of our past, but there are some clear signs when it’s time to cut a friendship off.
At some point, you may feel that you and a friend don’t connect anymore, whether you find you have less in common or feel they’re treating you differently lately and are subtracting from your life more than adding to it. Just because you’ve known someone since you were toddlers or you were best friends in college doesn’t mean they’re serving you now, and as painful as it is to have to end a relationship, sometimes it’s for the best.
Friendships are supposed to add to your life, not detract from it. It might be hard to acknowledge, but here are 6 signs it’s time to cut a friendship off — you’ll thank yourself later.
- The friendship is one-sided
Any type of relationship should be a two-way street, whether it’s a platonic, familial, or romantic one. But if you find that a certain friendship is consistently one-sided, it may be time to say goodbye.
If you’re pouring energy into someone who isn’t giving you the same treatment, it’s not a mutual friendship. If you are finding your friend only pops up when they need something or they are going through a hard time — but often go silent or provide very little in your time of need — it’s time to say bye to this friend.
- They are rarely there for you
Friendships should be based on equality, and the expectation of a give-and-take is an important component of a healthy relationship.
If a friend repeatedly expects us to be there for them (e.g., for emotional or practical support), but doesn’t give us anything substantial in return, it’s a sign the friendship is unhealthy and might need to be re-evaluated.
- They drain your energy
If you feel weighed down more often than you feel uplifted after interactions with them, that is typically a sign that your energies are no longer compatible. They aren’t healthy for you anymore. You are no longer benefitting from the friendship. All it is doing is sucking you dry.
Your energy is being drained and is honestly doing you no good. If this continues to happen to you, it’s a big sign you need to disconnect from this friendship.
- They betray your trust
Trust is a big part of any kind of relationship, and once it’s gone, it’s hard to recover. In friendships, there are minor and major betrayals that injure trust.
If it’s a minor incident and the injuring friend shows regret and a plan to regain trust, the injured friend may give them another chance — with caution. However, major betrayals — like seducing the friend’s significant other, cheating, or stealing money — are red flags. That friendship may not be worthwhile to reexplore at all.
- You no longer feel like you’re growing with them
You have to stifle your own growth just to be able to continue to relate to them. You have to dull down your vocabulary and limit topics of conversation around them so they won’t make fun of you or call you pretentious. You water down who you are so that they won’t feel bad about themselves, or make you feel like you should be ashamed of yourself.
Moreover, a toxic friend doesn’t spare your feelings and their goal is not to tell you the truth but to humiliate you.
- They are overly negative and pessimistic
Although everyone has good times and bad times, if your friend tends to be more pessimistic than optimistic, it may be a sign to end the friendship.
If you have a friend who is consistently negative without making efforts to change, it may be time for some distance. Most people are compassionate and empathetic of others, especially friends, but you must take care of yourself first and foremost. If a negative friend is bringing you down, it’s reasonable to spend less time with them or take a break from them altogether.