Breaking up with friends

Nina Fridman, Staff Writer

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Graphic by Nora Smith

So, I know this guy.

And like a lot of guys, he says things that irk me. He gets under my skin. When I hear him speak or get a notification from him on my phone, it kind of sounds like a glorified toilet flush.

I tried being nice and tolerating him. I tried ignoring him. I tried explaining to him that I really didn’t want to talk to him.

He cracked another joke.

I blocked his number.

He bypassed the block and messaged me on Instagram just to make fun of me for blocking him. He told me I was overreacting.

I said some things that I probably shouldn’t write here. And then I blocked him there. Again.

It amazes me that more people don’t take the approach that I do. Some people seem to have “Please walk all over me!” plastered to their foreheads. They just sit there and let people anger them. It’s like standing in the middle of a busy street, spreading out your arms and yelling “Hit me!”

Here’s a secret that I’ve discovered: breakups aren’t just for your boyfriend or girlfriend. You can break up with anyone you want.

Do your friends keep ditching you? Do they frequently upset or frustrate you? Do they talk behind your back or cause you unnecessary stress?

Break up with them!

And I don’t mean the “I’ll just slowly drift away from this person over the course of several months” kind of breakup. I mean end it. Tell that person that you think he or she is a bad friend. Or just a bad person in general. Say that you’re mad. Break up.

Not only are you relieved of stress, but the conversation can also promote beneficial communication between you and your friends. Instead of keeping your thoughts and opinions bottled up, it’s sometimes better to just be honest — even if the truth is ugly. Speaking up for yourself doesn’t have to be “mean,” especially if it’s what’s true. If it relieves you of anxiety or stress, then it’s worth it.

Some people probably think this is really bad advice, or think that I’m being mean or unnecessary. Or even more importantly, some probably think that going around and breaking up with friends left and right will cause tension with other people that you care about. My advice isn’t meant for all those people who mildly bother you. It’s meant for that one menace that keeps you up at night boiling with anger, that one person who you have made various attempts to work out issues with rationally, yet have failed each time.  

Obviously it’s unrealistic to expect that you can go around dropping all of your friends like flies, but if putting up with that person causes you more stress and anxiety than the ramifications of ending your friendship would, then just end it.

Stop wasting your time trying to figure out how to deal with difficult people when you don’t have to. It’s true that there are some circumstances in which you will unavoidably have to tolerate those who you don’t want to but it’s not always necessary. There are only so many of those difficult people that you can handle, and taking on a larger, unnecessary load of bad friends will only end up hurting you in the end.

Because it’s not me, it’s you.

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Breaking up with friends