How to Break Up with Toxic Friends
A Guide To Ending Your Friendship with A (Toxic) Female Friend
Dear April Masini,
I've recently realized that I just can't be friends anymore with a girl who I've known for many years. She's a toxic friend and I know my life will be so much better and less stressful without her in it. I have some experience breaking up with boyfriends, but have no idea how to break up with a girlfriend! Do you have any girlfriend break-up advice?"
April Masini's Advice :
Dear We're Through,
It's very healthy that you're realizing the friends you no longer need in your life. Friends should help to enrich your life, not create more stress. Of course all break-ups are hard, but the ones between two females can be the most difficult of all.
When female friendships break up there are several ways in which they do break up:
1. An all out blow out. An all out blow out is great if someone has a lot of unexpressed anger and wants to unload it. A friend on the outs is the perfect place to dump -- for them.
2. Benign disconnect. Benign disconnecting is the most mature way -- and most common way that friendships dissolve. When one or both friends in the relationship decide that they no longer have common values or goals, there is no need for releasing anger or even for explaining themselves. Just moving forward with their own lives in the direction that they feel is best to go in, is a peaceful way to move on and leave what isn't necessary behind -- even if it is a friend.
3. Passive aggressive disappearing act. Passive aggressive disappearing acts are the most common dysfunctional way to end a relationship because they avoid any conflict. For many women (and men for that matter), having strong feelings, expressing them, and getting feedback and reaction from a friend, can be overwhelming and even frightening. As silly as that may sound, emotions are powerful, and many people do whatever they can to avoid them. This is one reason that alcoholics and other addicts practice destructive behavior -- because they don't want to feel their feelings. Passive aggressive avoidance is one way of avoiding feelings -- by avoiding the person who incites the feelings.
Male friendships have a different dynamic than female friendships because men and women are so different. Men don't have as many and as intense relationships with other men as women do with each other. Male friendships with other males are less intimate. Therefore, "break ups" between male friends do not trigger intense feelings the same way that "break ups" between female friends do.