Some friendships go up in flames. There’s a massive fight (or fights) where you yell at each other for being a shitty person or doing a shitty thing. You death stare each other from across the room in Maths and bitch about them behind their back to your other friends. You decide that no matter how hard you try, you’re just incompatible with each other and the best thing to do is end the friendship.

Other friendships, however, can break down slowly. You get tired of the way they treat your other friends, or get sick of all their complaining. You slowly stop having fun when you hang out with each other and struggle to find things to talk about until it gets to the point where it feels like the convenience of seeing each other everyday at school is the only thing holding you together. Things just aren’t the same as they used to be. So… what do you do?

How do you know when it’s time to end it?

When you’re over fighting all the time. When they take up so much of your time and energy that you have nothing left for yourself. When they talk down all your achievements rather than supporting you. When you always feel like you are doing something wrong when you are around them, or that you can’t be yourself. When you don’t want to spend time with them anymore or you’re struggling to find things to talk about. When you just don’t want to be friends anymore.

All of these are perfectly valid reasons for wanting to end a friendship. People change and the person you’ve been friends with since kindy might not get you like they once did. You might outgrow them or they might outgrow you, but the important thing is that things aren’t like they once were and you don’t want to continue being friends with the; fair call.

How do you end it?

It’s tough when you’re in high school because you will still have to see them nearly every day. It’s almost impossible to just slowly drift away from someone because no matter what happens you’ll have to spend Friday afternoons with them in Maths, or Wednesday morning doing PE.

The only way to do it is to be upfront and honest. Have a chat to them about it and tell them you’re not feeling it and want to spend some time hanging out with other people. You don’t need to be a dick, even if they have been a toxic friend. After all, there’s a reason you’ve been joined at the hip for most of your school life and at some point, you two were inseparable.

It might be a bit awkward. Suck it up and deal with it. You know what’s more awkward than breaking up with a friend? Staying friends with them even though you don’t want to. This is one of those situations where you have no choice but to push through and get it done.

It’s okay to be sad

You’re probably going to be sad, no matter how much you wanted to end the friendship. Break ups, of any kind, hurt like a bitch and it’s hard to let go of any person that has had a major impact on your life. Especially since you’re going to be seeing them so often, it’ll be hard not to think about all the good times you had. Focus on your other friends: you’ve never alone and they’ll help you through it. Regardless of how shit you feel now, you will get through it.

What next?

You’re going to have to get through the confusion that comes with still seeing someone you’re not really friends with anymore. Do you invite them to your birthday? How about when the rest of the group hangs out? Should you be angry if they hang out with someone else? Are you meant to still talk to them in roll call?

Especially if you’re from the same group of people, there will probably be times when you hang out with each other and have a lot of fun. Sometimes, without the pressure of having to be best friends, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to be around the person. Don’t over think these interactions, if you have fun when you hang around them, it doesn’t mean you immediately need to go back to being joined at the hip. Friendship breaks are totally a thing, and in a couple of weeks, months or years you might be back on the same page and be besties again.