Friendships are difficult.

If no one has told you, let me be the first to say that building a friendship isn’t easy. It’s a work in progress. But what happens when a friendship becomes toxic? What do you do when you’ve been hurt countless times by the same friend or group of friends?

I was recently on the phone with my sister after having a pretty emotional call about this topic, and in my own reflecting of past situations, I came up with five healthy ways to leave a toxic friendship.

Now, what do I mean about healthy? Does that mean leaving the friendship won’t hurt? Of course not.

I think no matter what type of friendship/relationship you have, ending it will always leave some sort of void. Nonetheless, I call these healthy because, although I know pain is inevitable, there are always ways to handle a situation that leaves you emotionally and mentally at peace.

Five Healthy Ways To Leave A Toxic Friendship

1) Explain Yourself (3) Times Only.

I give this “(3) times only” rule because if you’re like me, you have a tendency to give fourth, fifth, and sixth chances, while also trying to explain yourself several times until you feel like a broken record. By experience, I know how frustrating this can be because you start to conjure up so much anger during the process.

With this “(3) times only” rule, it gives the person a chance to clean up their behaviour while also giving you a chance to see what you can do better within the friendship, as well. By the third explanation, you know you’ve done your best to make the friendship work. If that’s not enough, then it’s obvious they’re not doing their part to keep the friendship alive.

2) Talk in the first person when expressing yourself

This might seem silly, but let me explain.

Have you ever tried to tell someone they hurt you and they became so defensive and didn’t even try and listen to what you had to say? Words are powerful, and there’s a grave difference between “ You did this to me” and “I felt hurt when you did this..” or “ I understand you probably did not mean to but..”.

When starting your conversation with “I”, it verbally takes the finger off of them, so they don’t feel like they’re being attacked.

3) Mute/block the person from social media

Unfortunately, we spend too much time on social media.

It only makes sense, then, that the place you spend so much time contains contacts you don’t necessarily enjoy communicating with. But, by using the mute and block buttons, it will bring you peace because it forces you to not look at the other person’s life.

Always looking at who they’re with or what they’re talking about can be draining, both mentally and emotionally. So block and mute when you have to and save yourself some grief.

4) Surround yourself with friends who support your decision

This is important.

You need people who have witnessed the pain you went through and will keep you accountable to not continue associating with that person.

You’ll need friends who can take you out and keep you uplifted and busy when you start to feel upset.

5) Ignore the drama/ do not talk badly about the person

This is the main thing that causes huge clashes and bitterness.

During the process of leaving a friendship (and even after), I always say “ keep the person’s name out of your mouth”. Avoid being caught up in “she said .. he said..” it only makes this whole process much more difficult.

Be at peace knowing that, at the end of the day, you handled the situation in a mature way and with integrity.


Nikki Opara is a 23-year-old recent college graduate and mental health/lifestyle blogger. You can connect with her on her blog, Her Daring ThoughtsInstagram, or Twitter.