Knowing When to Say Goodbye to a Friendship


I sat there staring at my phone. Should I text her? Maybe if I call her. Or should I just not do either? I found myself feeling torn and not knowing what to do. I probably stared at my phone for a good three minutes before I finally put it down on the counter and walked away.

It was the moment I decided to walk away from our friendship. 

She and I used to be very close once. We shared our lives with each other; helped each other through difficult times. We cried together over lost pregnancies, supported each other through times of confusion and feeling lost, rejoiced together over new pregnancies and new life opportunities and exciting moments. It was wonderful.

But somewhere along the way, something changed.  

One summer a few of our mutual friends moved away. Our tribe was dispersing across the country. This was the start of her and my breaking point. 

We still saw each other almost every week at church. There would be hugs and small talk and some laughter. This was always followed by, “Let’s get together soon!” So, I’d text her during the week to check in and ask her when she was free.

At first, we would get together but soon she stopped responding. Or, she’d respond with “I’ll get back to you,” but then never would. She’d tell me she was busy with her baby and classes (she had recently gone back to school) but that she still really wanted to get together. Always making me promises. Always saying we’d “figure something out soon.” I longed to keep our relationship alive and so I kept saying, “OK” and hoping that at some point she’d say yes and we’d actually plan a date for an outing. 

Just like me, she was a stay-at-home mom. She only worked on the weekends. That’s why I kept pursuing our friendship. I knew she wasn’t working all week and had time to get together. And yet, we didn’t. Not because I didn’t want to but because she’d never commit, for some reason.

Then one day it hit me like a ton of bricks. As I scrolled through my Facebook feed I saw pictures of her at the zoo with her baby and … someone else. A different friend. Soon enough I saw more pictures of her out and about with other friends. Coffee dates, the zoo, the playground. It was then I realized that while she insisted she “really wanted to get together soon” (something she’d frequently say at church or via text), that she really didn’t want to. 

And so, the moment above came where I finally decided it was time to walk away. I wasn’t going to be lied to anymore. I didn’t want to have a fake friendship. It was time to cut her loose. There wouldn’t be any more texts or calls from me. If I were to see her on Sunday at church, I would be friendly and polite, but there would be no more talk of getting together. Why should I try to keep a friendship going that was only one-sided? So I let our friendship go and I haven’t looked back since. 

Friendship can be wonderful. But sometimes you also have to know when to walk away from a relationship. What is it Marie Kondo says? “If it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it.” Sure, she’s talking about stuff, but I’ve found that this statement can also apply to the friendships in our lives. If one of your friendships isn’t bringing you joy, it’s time to let it go. There’s no need to stay in a one-sided toxic relationship. 

Recently I’ve taken stock in the friendships in my life. I’ve come to realize something. I really only have about three people in my life I consider true (close) friends (outside of my husband). And you know what? I’m OK with that. The funny thing is that none of them even live in the same state as me. Yet, my friendships with them are better than with those who live in the same city as me.

Yes, I have girlfriends here I enjoy spending time with. We have playdates with our children, cookouts, celebrate birthdays together, and have date nights and moms nights out. But, sometimes I can’t help but feeling like they are “surface” friendships. I don’t share my deepest hurts and struggles with them. There are things I don’t tell them that I tell my best friends. I even discovered that one of them was bad mouthing me to her husband. So, I’m not even sure how long these relationships will last. But when they end, I will let them go knowing that it’s alright to do so. 

Sometimes you just need to walk away.

Have you had to walk away from a friendship? What was the breaking point for you?


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