Breaking Up With Your Toxic Friends

If she's gone from friend to frenemy, how and when is it time to say goodbye?
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Friends arguingMaybe we do. Most friendships don’t exist in a vacuum; they’re intertwined with other friendships and relationships. So who gets whom “in the divorce?” Will your breakup divide other friends? Will people take sides? Or can you break up “quietly?”

Should you tell a toxic friend why you are breaking up with them? To this day, I have only broken up with a friend once and she doesn’t understand why. Did I do her an injustice? Jack Welch says if you don’t give people honest feedback and critiques in the workplace you are doing them a disservice because they keep moving along as if they are on a good career path without being told where they need improvement and eventually, one day, they get a serious “kick in the ass.” So should I have told her why she was toxic to me? At least, even if she thought I was completely off base and out of line, she would have another tool with which to evaluate her future friendships.

When is it okay to break up with a friend?

I don’t know the answer. Okay, maybe I know what my tolerance level is or when it would be OK for me but I’m not telling you.

What do I know?

I know that the beauty of aging, if you can find any beauty in aging … NO, there’s no beauty in aging … let’s call it “growing up,” … is the “process.” As you go through the “process” you learn … so that if you had a toxic friend in your past you could file away in the recesses of your mind the qualities you’re sure you don’t find attractive in a friend and do your damn best to avoid them in the future. Eventually then, you find your place, your “home,” with your true friends.

May you find your “home.”

May you embrace the idea that sometimes letting go takes more strength than holding on.

Leslie Adler is a mother, lawyer and “friend-proclaimed humorist.” She blogs at

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0 thoughts on “Breaking Up With Your Toxic Friends

  1. Ug breaking up with a friend is hard. But as I get older I realize that the time is precious an dI need to spend it with people who lift me up, not bring me down. I’m a fan of the slow fade though — no confrontations!

  2. it’s harder to break up with a friend than with a boyfriend…and certainly harder to confront them, but as i get older, i dont think i would have problem telling someone that they no longer are worthy of my time or friendship.

  3. This is a dilema I am have been faced with on more than one occasion. You just don’t jive with that friend anymore, or worse, there are severe problems. I usually just let it fizzle out. Or go into hibernation. I am not good at confrontation. I would rather just close my eyes and pretend it isn’t there.

  4. What a unique point of view! We all have had this problem at some point and it’s one of those topics that people don’t like to be honest about. Thanks for the humorous insight on a delicate subject.

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