The Difficult Decision to End an Unhealthy Friendship

Most of us vividly remember the joys and pains of adolescent friendships, and the dramas inherent in them. Thankfully, as adults our friendships with other women are deeper and richer, influenced and enriched by the shared experiences of navigating life as a woman. The depth of these wonderful friendships is difficult to describe, and it is even more difficult to describe the comfort found within them, within a cocoon of support, understanding, encouragement and love.

And so it shocks us when a dear friend begins to criticize our life choices, to question our commitment to growth and personal evolution, fearing that the person we are becoming is so very different from who we have always been.

It is painful to contemplate ending a friendship, of “breaking up” with someone who knows us well and who has held a significant place in our life. We are generally reluctant to unravel the threads of friendship that have been woven together over years of conversations, shared meals, phone calls, and requests for help in sorting out the complexities of day-to-day life. In fact, it is so painful to walk away from a friendship that we sometimes choose to avoid doing so. I must admit that avoidance was the path I followed over a period of three years or more, while a dear friend consistently and emphatically attacked (and I choose this word carefully) my beliefs, my other friendships, and virtually all of the decisions in my life.

Ending a friendship can be as difficult as ending a marriage, so it is not for the faint of heart. But when someone you love refuses to accept any change in you, wants you to remain the version of you to whom she can easily and effortlessly relate, I urge you to ask one question – “Is it best for me to sacrifice myself and my choices in order to be this woman’s friend?” For me, that answer was a sad but resounding “no.”

p.s. I also posted this story on

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Sharon K. DAgostino