12 Non-Confrontational (Peaceful) Ways to End a Friendship

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

casual chat
Shutterstock.com

Have you ever found yourself deeply ensconced in a friendship when you suddenly realize that it’s toxic? Yup, many of us have! The reality is that as we grow as individuals, our friendships need to grow and change too. If they don’t, we can find ourselves in friendships that no longer add value to our lives. But what can you do about it? How can you end the friendship in the nicest possible way? Believe it or not, there are non-confrontational ways to end a friendship!

It’s hard to end a friendship without hurting someone’s feelings. In fact, it’s a given that feelings will be hurt when ending any sort of relationship in any manner. Even the nicest of letdowns can be hurtful, so prepare yourself for hurt feelings regardless. If you really want to set yourself up for the least possible upset, you need to be non-confrontational about it.

Ending a friendship is tough, even if it’s become toxic. There’s bound to be emotions and opinions from both sides, so the best thing you can do is go into it prepared. Prepare for a non-confrontational end to your friendship by following these tips:

How to end a friendship: 12 non-confrontational ways

1. Let it fade out.

Sometimes things can happen naturally. Instead of putting too much effort into the friendship, let it naturally fade away. It’s all about gradually and slowly putting less and less effort into the friendship. In a few months, your friendship won’t be a feature in your life anymore.

2. Have the talk.

If you don’t see any way around it, just have the talk with your friend. Bring up the reasons why you are unhappy, but do so in an empathetic way. Don’t attack or sound antagonistic. Rather be calm, friendly, caring when you talk about it. Then when you stop spending so much time with your friend, they will at least know why. 

3. Be the kind of person your friend doesn’t like.

This might seem a little sneaky; however, it really can help you get out of a friendship, but on your friend’s terms. This basically puts the ball in your toxic friend’s court, so to speak. If your friend doesn’t like a “morning person”, become one! If your friend doesn’t like someone who only ever wants to stay in and watch horror movies, become that person for a bit. Chances are that your friend will get tired of the person you have become and do a bit of backing off on their own terms. 

4. Confront the situation without casting blame.

How you go about talking about the problem can be a big influencing factor. You can just tell your friend outright that you don’t want to be friends anymore, but that might turn into a fight. If you are going to confront the situation, prepare for your friend to feel attacked or on the defense. Absolutely never cast blame. In fact, if you want the friendship to end in the most non-confrontational way possible, accept part of the blame yourself, even if you have to bite your tongue throughout the entire confrontation. 

5. Incorporate new friends into the circle.

Are you perhaps ready for some new and interesting friends? If you and your friend have been spending a lot of time together, chances are that the friendship is close and intense. This could be what’s keeping your friend close. If you want to “dilute” the friendship, and little and gradually spend less time together, start introducing new friends to the group and make a point of spending more time with them. This will break the bonds you have with your friend while giving them the opportunity to seek out new friendships of their own.

6. Stop being too available.

If you jump at the opportunity to hang out with your toxic friend every time he/she asks, chances are that you aren’t going to escape the friendship too easily. If you want to end the friendship, you need to start being unavailable. Say “no thanks” to invites and make excuses where you can. Avoid mid-week burgers and drinks because you have “too much work” and generally are just be too busy to go to all the usual occasions you would attend together. This will fade the bonds you guys have and encourage your friend to make friends with other people.

7. Pick up a few hobbies your friend isn’t a fan of.

Man running in park
Shutterstock.com

Have you ever thought about getting a hobby? It might help you right now! Getting a hobby will be good for you and also help you to escape an undesirable friendship. Perhaps your friend loathes running – you could join a running club and spend a lot of time training. Maybe your friend would rather spend the day in the bar than drinking tea and scrapbooking…so perhaps that’s the kind of hobby you need to pick up for a while. 

8. Change the way you communicate.

If your toxic friend sends a text or calls you and you respond immediately, you will be encouraging him/her to remain in touch. Instead, don’t answer texts and miss the majority of calls that are made to you. If you use to stay up all night texting, slow down on that gradually. If you start communicating differently, it can change the friendship naturally. 

9. If you want to talk about it, don’t talk to others.

Are you the type of person that gossips and discuss other people? If you are, it might not work in your favor when it comes to ending a friendship. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to end a friendship in a non-confrontational way is to gossip about your toxic friend with other people. It doesn’t matter if the gossip is true; simply avoid it as that is a surefire way to welcome an aggressive, confrontational response. 

10. Change your socializing habits and places.

If you were close friends with a toxic person, chances are that you hang out at and socialize at the same places. If you start to fade away from your friend, it’s going to be hard to maintain that way if you are going to the same hangouts. If you really want to end the friendship, take the time to recreate your social life. Go to a new coffee shop, find a new local bar to go to, choose alternative gym classes, and just generally make sure that you won’t be at the same place at the same time anymore. 

11. Take time off the social scene, and don’t make a reappearance.

friends bonding outdoors
Shutterstock.com

Let’s talk about the social scene and what you can do to ensure that it helps you get out of a toxic friendship. If you want to get away from a toxic friend without being sneaky about it, perhaps it’s time to take a break from your regular social scene. Look for new friends, take up new hobbies, and start building a life that is surrounded by people who are wholesome and good. There’s no need to return to the toxic social scene again if you have something more valuable to do with your time. 

12. Ghost your friend.

Ah, ghosting. If you have ever been ghosted before, you know what this is and how it can feel. This is always a last resort, but an option nonetheless. Ghosting is when you completely cut all forms of contact with a person. You don’t text, you don’t respond to calls and messages, and you literally just vanish from their lives. Beware, though, ghosting is non-confrontational, but it can really upset a person.

Last Word

Ending a friendship is hard, but it isn’t something that you should fear doing. After all, we only get one life on this earth, and we should spend it with people who mirror our life view and add value to our life experience. If you want to end the friendship non-confrontationally, use the above 12 tips. Take your time before you choose to end a friendship, though – acting emotionally could bring about the end of meaningful friendships. Either way, there’s only one thing left to say: good luck!

+ posts

This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who share their experiences and knowledge about the "Seven F's of Life".

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.