29 Signs You Should End a Friendship (Know When to Quit!)

Friends are the family we choose for ourselves—they make the good times better and the hard times easier. We cherish them. But what if being around them starts to feel, well… not so great anymore?

We’ve all been in that spot—holding on to a friendship that no longer feels right, still hoping things will change, or maybe because the idea of walking away feels too painful. However, turning a blind eye to the issues might just end up making us feel more drained and unhappy than ever.

So then, how can you tell it’s time to move on? Let’s find out how to spot those moments when saying goodbye might be the best step forward.

They Are Frequently Dishonest With You

If you begin to notice that your friend is not telling you the truth time and again, it’s something to take seriously. Friends should be the people you can count on to be real with you.

Being lied to repeatedly is hurtful and, quite frankly, disrespectful. Everyone deserves to be treated with honesty, and it’s one of the things that should never be compromised in a friendship.

You Feel Consistently Drained After Spending Time With Them

Healthy friendships energize and inspire—they are supposed to fill your “happy tank” to the brim. But if you’re ending every coffee date or outing feeling empty or stressed, that’s a big warning signal.

Ask yourself these simple questions:

  • Do I usually feel happy or sad after we meet?
  • Do I feel full of energy or totally empty?
  • Do I have a sense of peace or am I worried and tense?

If you find that the answers are more negative than positive, this might mean the friendship is not good for you. It’s okay to put yourself first and look for friendships that make you feel positive and full of life.

They Don’t Respect Your Boundaries

Everyone has limits on what they’re okay with, like personal space, how much time you want to spend together, or sharing what’s going on in your life. When a friend doesn’t listen to or care about these limits, it shows a lack of respect.

Signs of a boundary issue:

  • Pushing you to do things you’ve already said you don’t want to do.
  • Not stopping when you say “enough” or “no.”
  • Sharing things about your life with others without your okay.

Boundaries keep relationships healthy. It might be tough, but talking about what makes you uncomfortable is vital. If you see that your friend keeps ignoring your needs, it might be time to think about letting that friendship go.

You’re Always the One Apologizing

In any friendship, both friends will make mistakes sometimes. Usually, both should say sorry and move on. But if you’re the one who is always apologizing, even when it’s not your fault, that’s not fair.

You shouldn’t always have to be the one fixing things. Apologizing when you’ve done something wrong is good, but you shouldn’t have to say sorry for everything. If you’re the only one trying to keep the peace, this isn’t a true friendship.

They Use Your Friendship for Personal Gain

Sometimes, a friend might only call you when they need something. Maybe it’s a ride to the airport, help with moving, or they want to borrow money… again.

It’s great to help out a friend, but if it seems like that’s the only time they pay attention to you, it could mean they value what you can do for them more than your friendship itself.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Do they only reach out when they need help but aren’t there when you need them?
  • Do they often ask for favors without offering anything in return?
  • Do they show interest in your life only when it benefits them?

Keep an eye out for this pattern, and don’t be afraid to set limits on what you’re willing and not willing to do.

Your Instincts Tell You Something’s Off

Sometimes it’s hard to put a finger on what exactly is wrong, but if you feel uneasy, anxious, or just not right about a friendship, it’s worth paying attention to those feelings.

Trust yourself. You know you better than anyone else. If your intuition tells you something’s wrong, allow yourself to step back and think it over. It’s possible that your inner voice has picked up on signs you should be careful about this friendship.

They Constantly Spread Negativity

While everyone has bad days, a friend who is always negative can have a draining effect on those around them. If every conversation is filled with complaints, criticisms, or pessimistic views, it can become a heavy burden to carry.

  • Their outlook brings down your mood or outlook.
  • They find fault in everything and struggle to see the positive side.
  • They dampen your enthusiasm with their gloom.

Being supportive doesn’t mean you have to accept constant negativity. Encourage them to seek a brighter view, but also ensure your own well-being isn’t compromised. If the negativity continues to be overwhelming, it may be necessary to distance yourself for your own peace of mind.

You’re the Only One Putting in Effort

Friendship is like a dance—it takes two to tango. If you’re the only one making plans, sending messages, and trying to keep the friendship alive, that’s a lot like dancing alone.

Take note of these patterns:

  • You send texts, and they rarely text back or take days to respond.
  • You suggest meeting up, but they never do the same.
  • You feel like if you stopped making an effort, you probably wouldn’t hear from them again.

Friendships require effort from everyone involved. It’s important to be with friends who also choose to invest time and energy into being with you. If that’s not the case, it might be time to look for more balanced relationships.

They Talk About You Behind

Trust is a key part of any relationship. When your friend talks about you to others in a not-so-nice way, it’s a direct hit to that trust.

In solid friendships, friends speak highly of each other, especially when they’re not together. A friend should protect your secrets and personal stories, not share them with others. So, it’s perfectly okay to end friendships that hurt your reputation and your feelings.

Your Back They’re Overly Critical of You

Feedback from friends can help you grow, but there’s a big difference between helpful advice and constant criticism.

Helpful AdviceConstant Criticism
It is specific and actionable.It is vague and often personal.
Comes with genuine intentions.May have a tone of superiority.
Helps you grow and improve.Makes you feel defensive.
It is offered with kindness.Comes off as harsh or mean.
Invites a positive discussion.Leaves little room for dialogue.
Makes you feel respected.Leaves you feeling belittled.
It is given at appropriate times.Is given without considering your feelings.
You feel good after receiving it.You feel worse after hearing it.

Friends are meant to support and encourage each other, not make each other feel small or inadequate. If the encouragement is missing and the negative comments are taking over, it’s okay to rethink if this kind of friendship is healthy for you.

They Dismiss Your Feelings and Concerns

Your feelings are a big part of who you are, and a true friend will listen and take them seriously. Friendships should make you feel supported, not dismissed.

Notice these moments:

  • You open up about something bothering you, and they ignore it or change the subject.
  • They belittle your emotions, making you feel silly for feeling that way.
  • When you’re upset about something, they tell you you’re overreacting or being too sensitive.

Your feelings deserve to be heard and respected. If this doesn’t happen in your friendship, think about whether this person truly values you.

You Feel Obligated, Not Excited, to Spend Time With Them

Friendships should bring joy, not a sense of duty. If spending time with a friend feels more like a must-do chore than something you look forward to, this is a sign of trouble.

Consider these points:

  • Meet-ups with them are marked on your calendar out of habit, not happiness.
  • You’re relieved when they cancel or when plans fall through.
  • Instead of having fun, you often feel stressed about getting together.

Remember: Your friends deserve a friend who wants to be with them just as much. It’s not fair to either of you if you’re sticking around out of a sense of obligation.

It’s okay to recognize that people change and sometimes grow apart. Admitting that a friendship isn’t working anymore is a brave and honest step, as it allows both of you to find relationships that are more fulfilling and joyful.

Your Values and Beliefs No Longer Align

As we go through life, we grow and change, and so do our values and beliefs. This growth is natural and important. However, when you and a friend grow apart to the point where your core values clash, it can create tension and discomfort in the friendship.

Friendships don’t require identical beliefs, but mutual respect is essential. If you can’t see eye-to-eye on important matters and it’s causing stress, it could be an indication that the friendship has run its course.

You Dread Seeing Their Name Pop Up on Your Phone

A text or call from a friend should be welcome, not something you dread.

If you get a sinking feeling every time their name shows up on your phone, you’re experiencing the kind of stress that friendships are not supposed to bring.

Reflect on what you feel:

  • Does your heart sink or do you feel anxious when they contact you?
  • Are conversations with them usually negative or demanding?
  • Do you often wait to respond, hoping they’ll forget or lose interest in connecting?

It’s vital to recognize when the mere thought of interacting with someone is consistently negative, as this could be a sign that the relationship is doing more harm than good.

They Make You Feel Guilty for Spending Time With Other Friends

Friendship isn’t about keeping score or making someone choose who they can see or spend time with. If your friend makes you feel guilty for having other friendships, that’s not fair.

Consider these points:

  • When you mention other friends, do they get upset or change their demeanor?
  • Do they make negative remarks about you enjoying time with others?
  • Do they try to make you choose between them and other friends?

You have the right to spend your time with whoever you want. No one should make you feel guilty for having a wide circle of friends. Being made to choose is a form of control, and healthy friendships are about freedom, not control.

They Compete With You Rather Than Support You

A bit of friendly competition can be fun, but it’s exhausting when it feels like every interaction is a contest. Your wins should be their wins, too, not a battleground.

Notice if this is happening:

  • Do they always try to one-up your achievements?
  • Are they more focused on being better than you than on being happy for you?
  • Does it feel like they are keeping a tally of who’s ahead in life?

Supporting each other is what friends do. They celebrate your wins as their own and lift you up—not push you down to make themselves feel better. If the relationship feels like a constant battle to stay ahead, it might not be the supportive friendship you need.

You Have More Bad Times Than Good With Them

Friendships, like all relationships, have their ups and downs. But it’s a problem if the bad moments outweigh the good ones. If you’re often upset, hurt, or angry than you are happy when you’re with a friend, that’s a sign the friendship might not be healthy.

You should feel good about your friendships the majority of the time. It’s okay to let go of relationships that bring you more sadness than joy. Look for friendships that make you smile more than frown.

They’re Only Around During Your Successes

When something great happens to you, like getting a new job or winning a prize, everyone seems to be your friend. But you might notice that some people disappear when things get tough.

A real friend is there for you all the time, not just when you’re celebrating a win. They care about you when life is ordinary and even more so when it’s hard. If someone is only interested in the fun parts, it might mean they’re not as good a friend as you thought.

They Bring Out the Worst in You

Some friends make us better—they encourage us to be kind, motivated, and happy. But others might make us act in ways we don’t like.

Look out for these signs:

  • Do you get mad or mean when you’re with them?
  • Do you do things that you don’t feel comfortable with?
  • Do you feel like you’re not being yourself?

This is important because who you’re with can change who you are.

Being around people who make us feel good and encourage us to do the right thing is essential. If a friend makes you act in ways you’re not proud of, it may be a sign that the friendship isn’t good for you. You deserve friends who help you to be your best.

You Feel Pressured to Change Who You Are Around Them

True friends celebrate you for you—quirks, eccentricities, and all. If you feel like you have to act differently or be someone else when you’re with a friend, it’s a sign that something isn’t right.

Are you experiencing this?

  • Altering your wardrobe choices, speech, or behavior to please them.
  • Feeling a sense of discomfort with the changes you’re making.
  • Catching yourself nodding along to views that don’t resonate with you just to avoid conflict.

Nobody should make you feel like you are not good enough as you are. If a friend pressures you to be different, it’s important to ask yourself if this is what you really want from a friendship.

You deserve to feel free to be yourself with your true friends.

They Don’t Make Time for You

We’re all juggling life’s demands, yet we carve out moments for those who matter. When your friend’s calendar has no room for you, it sends a clear message about priorities.

Simple checks to gauge the situation:

  • Count the number of times ‘busy’ is their go-to excuse.
  • Keep tabs on how often they initiate contact with you.
  • Notice if it always seems like your time together is sandwiched into their convenience.

Remember: Your time is just as valuable, and it should be treated that way. If your friend can’t show up, not just in the big moments but the ordinary ones too, you may need to question how much room they truly have for you in their life.

Your Conversations Are Always Surface-Level

Conversations with friends should sometimes dive deeper than just chatting about the weather or the latest TV shows. These deeper talks where you share thoughts and feelings are where real connections are made.

  • Your chats loop around to the same trivial topics.
  • Attempts to discuss something important to you are deflected or ignored.
  • You know very little about what’s really happening in each other’s lives.

Real friends can talk about real life—not just the easy things, but the hard things, too. If you don’t have that with someone, the friendship might not be giving you what you need.

They Try to Control or Manipulate You

In any friendship, you should feel free—free to make your own choices, speak your mind, and live your life. If you’re experiencing manipulation or control, it’s as if you’re being held back or pushed in directions you don’t want to go.

You might hear them say things like:

  • “If you really cared about me, you’d do it.”
  • “I’m only telling you this because no one else will.”
  • “You’re going to regret it if you don’t listen to me.”

Friendship is about supporting each other, not one person calling all the shots. If you feel like your friend is trying to control you, it’s important to think about if this is the kind of friendship you want. Everyone should feel free and respected by their friends.

They Constantly Cancel Plans at the Last Minute

Making plans with a friend and having them cancel without a good reason can be really disappointing. If a friend often cancels plans right before you’re supposed to meet, you might feel like you’re not a priority to them.

When you make time for a friend, you’re giving them something valuable—your time. If they don’t respect that, it’s worth talking to them about it or finding friends who value your time as much as you do.

You Feel Like You’re Walking on Eggshells Around Them

When you’re with a friend, you should be able to relax and be yourself. If you’re always worried about upsetting them or saying the wrong thing, it can be very stressful. This is not how friendships should work.

  • You’re scared to say something wrong because they might get upset.
  • You’re always anxious about how they’ll react.
  • You can’t relax and just enjoy being with them.

If you can’t be yourself or speak your mind with a friend, then the friendship might not be working. Everyone needs friends around whom they can feel at ease.

You’ve Outgrown Each Other But Cling to the Past

It’s normal for people to change over time, and sometimes, this means growing different from a friend you used to be close to. If you find that the only thing keeping your friendship together is memories of the past, it might mean you’ve outgrown each other.

Consider these points:

  • If you really enjoy your get-togethers or if you meet up out of habit.
  • Whether your conversations keep going back to the “good old days” instead of current events.
  • If you feel like you’re different people now but keep pretending nothing has changed.

Memories are precious, but they shouldn’t be the only glue in your friendship. If you’re mainly looking back, it might be time to gently let go and make space for new friendships that fit better with who you are now.

They Pressure You Into Uncomfortable Situations

A good friend might encourage you to try new things, which can sometimes be positive—it’s okay to be nudged out of your comfort zone every now and then if it helps you grow.

However, there’s a clear line when this ‘encouragement’ becomes pressure and makes you feel uncomfortable or anxious. No one should force you to do things that you really don’t want to do.

Healthy EncouragementUnhealthy Pressure
Suggests trying new foodForces you to eat something you don’t want
Invites you to a social eventInsists you attend, even when you don’t feel up to it
Celebrates when you face a fearTeases or shames you for being scared
Respects your decision if you say noKeeps pushing even after you’ve said no
Checks in to see if you’re okayIgnores your discomfort

There’s a balance to be found, and true friends will find it with you—keeping your well-being in mind always. If your friend can’t respect your boundaries and continues to pressure you, it could be a sign that they don’t have the respectful approach that is essential in a healthy friendship.

You Have Repeated Unresolved Conflicts

Disagreements happen in any relationship, but what matters is how they’re resolved. If you have the same fights over and over with no solution, it wears down the friendship. It’s like having a leak that never gets fixed; eventually, it’s going to cause more damage.

  • How often arguments happen and if they ever get sorted out.
  • If each of you is willing to listen to the other side and find a middle ground.
  • Whether you’re both committed to improving things or if it feels one-sided.

A friendship should help you grow, not keep you stuck in a loop of arguments. If conflicts keep coming up without resolution, it might be time to question if the friendship is right for both of you.

You’re Happier When They’re Not Around

If you notice a sense of relief or happiness when a particular friend isn’t around, this is telling. Friends are supposed to make your life better, not worse. If the opposite is true, it’s an important sign that something is off.

  • The sense of freedom or peace you feel when they’re not there.
  • Whether your mood generally improves when you don’t have plans with them.
  • If the thought of seeing them doesn’t bring a smile to your face.

Enjoying time away from someone more than time with them is a clear sign. If this is how you feel, it may be that the friendship is not positively contributing to your life. You should spend more time with friends who bring you joy, not relief when they leave.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I’m unsure about ending a friendship?

Take some time to reflect on the friendship. Consider how you feel before and after interactions with this friend. Try discussing your concerns with them directly. If issues persist despite attempts to resolve them, ending the friendship might be the best option.

Can a friendship be saved after noticing several of these signs?

Yes, in some cases, open and honest communication can address issues and save a friendship. Both parties must be willing to listen, understand, and make necessary changes. If efforts to improve the relationship are one-sided, it might be difficult to salvage.

Should I try to resolve issues before ending a friendship?

If you value the friendship and believe misunderstandings or conflicts can be resolved, it’s worth trying to address the issues directly. Communication can sometimes mend the rift, but both parties must be willing to listen and compromise.

What’s the best way to end a friendship?

The best approach is often a direct and honest conversation. Express your feelings calmly and clearly without placing blame. Respect their response, and try to end things on amicable terms.

Related: How to End a Friendship (30+ Graceful Ways to Break it Up)

How can I cope with the loss of a friendship?

Allow yourself to feel sad, but also remember the reasons behind your decision. Seek support from other friends or family, and take this as an opportunity to invest in relationships that are more fulfilling and reciprocal.

Related: How to Get Over a Friendship Breakup (40+ Ways According to Experts)

Final Thoughts

Pay attention to how you feel after you hang out with them. It can tell you a lot.

Letting go of a friend is tough—no doubt about it. You might feel sad, guilty, or unsure. Yet, sometimes it’s the rightest thing to do for yourself. Hanging on to a friendship that doesn’t feel right anymore can wear you out over time.

Life is too short to be around people who don’t lift you up. If being with a friend doesn’t make you happy or help you grow, it’s fine to part ways on good terms. It’s about taking care of yourself and making space for the good stuff in life.

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Clariza is a passionate writer and editor who firmly believes that words have great power. She has a degree in BS Psychology, which gives her an in-depth understanding of the complexities of human behavior. As a woman of science and art, she fused her love for both fields in crafting insightful articles on lifestyle, mental health, and social justice to inspire others and advocate for change.

In her leisure time, you can find her sitting in the corner of her favorite coffee shop downtown, deeply immersed in her bubble of thoughts. Being an art enthusiast that she is, she finds bliss in exploring the rich world of fiction writing and diverse art forms.