3 signs it's time to break up with your friend — and how to have the difficult conversation

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Queer couple

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  • Insider spoke to Dr. Rachel Hoffman, head of therapy at Real, about 3 signs it's time to end a friendship and how to approach the conversation. 

  • Moving to a different city as your friend doesn't have to be the end of the world, but it can make it harder to maintain your relationship.

  • If you feel like your friendship is no longer fulfilling or benefiting you like it used to, it might be time to have a hard talk. 

  • The talk doesn't have to be a breakup. Instead, make it an opportunity for closure. 

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Romantic breakups can be heart-breaking, but friend breakups can be devastating in an entirely different way. 

Sometimes, it's hard to gauge when to call it quits with a childhood friend, college mate, or drinking pal. It can be scary to feel like you're indefinitely ending something that was once important to you. 

But getting closure and bringing a friendship to a peaceful end rather than letting it fizzle out or continue to stress you can save you and the other person a lot of tears, anxiety, and confusion.  

Insider spoke to Dr. Rachel Hoffman, head of therapy at Real, on the best ways to tell your friendship may no longer be benefiting you and how to approach the difficult conversation. 

A long-distance friendship is getting too hard to maintain

Moving away can take a heavy toll on a friendship. While we have plenty of technology like texting, video chatting, and social media to keep up with people, sometimes this isn't enough to replace what was lost. 

Bonding time spent together can feel completely different than time spent on Zoom. 

"The friendship does not need to end simply because of long-distance," Hoffman told Insider. "However, it is possible that the environment that fosters that relationship, [like] going out together and drinking, taking walks together, has ceased to exist."

Their primary emotional focus is on their romantic life, career, or elsewhere

Life is filled with different phases whether it be going away to college, moving to a city to start a career, or settling down with a partner (or partners). While plenty of people maintain their friendships through changes in their life, sometimes their attention my shift.

If you start to notice you or your friend are no longer putting the same energy into the relationship, it might be time to reevaluate. 

"Naturally, people grow apart and may begin prioritizing different areas of their lives depending on their stage in life," Hoffman told Insider. "Their focus might be on their romantic relationship, career, family, or even new friendships. Additionally, the energy that one might want to put into that friendship may change."

You feel like the friendship is no longer rewarding

Healthy friendships can do a great deal of good in our lives like bringing us joy and giving us support when we need it. 

"Different friendships serve different purposes," Hoffman said. "One friendship might be a safe space to disclose intimate details while another might serve as a fun distraction from day to day struggles." 

But when a friendship has run its course, you'll notice you no longer feel fulfilled by it in the same ways as you once were.  

"When the friendship no longer meets those needs, it is time to rethink putting energy into that relationship or it is time to redefine the expectations of the relationship," Hoffman said. 

The conversation doesn't have to be a break-up, it can just be a way to get closure

If you come to the conclusion that the energy you're putting into the relationship is no longer worth it, it's time to have the conversation.

According to Hoffman, this doesn't have to be a somber one. 

"The goal of the conversation is to express how the needs of the relationship are not being met," Hoffman said. "The
emphasis of the conversation is that the relationship was at one point meaningful and served a purpose for both parties. At this point in time, the relationship is not serving either party and therefore it is probably best for both individuals to go their separate ways."

Read More: 

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Read the original article on Insider

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