Shuffle the deckDo you have a toxic friendship in your life? Our friends are the people we choose to be around because they lift us up, make us laugh, understand our quirky ways, give us honest opinions and lots more good stuff, and we do the same for them. As we grow and our life changes, and our friends go through the same thing, we’ll stick with many of our friends, but some might not have the same fit they once did. In fact, they can become frenemies that simply bringing us down. So what do you do?

Is it really a toxic friendship?

If you’re not certain that a friendship is bad for you, consider these questions:

  • Are you continually feeling hurt from the person’s words or actions?
  • Do you get a bad, uneasy or nervous feeling when you think about the person?
  • Do you feel tired, emotionally drained or stressed after being with the person?

Answering yes to any of these is a sure sign the friendship is no good for you anymore, so it is time to move on, it’s time to shuffle the deck.

How to break free from old friendships

Sometimes old friendships can just slip away without you even realising it, but usually a toxic friendship continues to fester and negatively impact your life. So if it’s your time to break free, time to shuffle your deck of friends, here’s what to do.

  1. Do it in person – Let the person know you are ending the friendship face-to-face or over the phone. You’ll have to be brave, but it will make for a clean break.
  2. Timing is everything – Pick a time that you’re feeling confident but also have access to other more supportive friends following your frenemie break up.
  3. Be prepared – Be ready to say why you are ending the friendship and be honest, although not hurtful – for example, ‘I often feel hurt after we spend time together, so I feel it’s best to end our friendship’.
  4. Show sympathy – Treat this friend the way you’d like to be treated if you were on the receiving end of a friendship break up.
  5. Forgive – It’s important for your own wellbeing that you forgive the person, you don’t have to tell them, but know in yourself so you can move on.

Shuffling the deck of friendships isn’t always easy, and saying goodbye to old friends isn’t either, but remember that your life is to be lived, it’s meant to be full of happiness and you deserve to give that to yourself.

Of course if you want help in navigating your friendship and planning a better future, you can contact me today.


Sally-Anne Blanshard is the founder and Director of Nourish Coaching and helps people reinvent their careers, businesses and life through structured coaching programs.  She has been featured on TV, Radio and is often quoted in newspapers and magazines.