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How to Know if a Friendship is Ending (and Do it Well)

How to Know if a Friendship is Ending (and Do it Well)

True-blue friends are hard to find, which is why it feels so difficult to end a friendship. Most people hang on too long to friendships that are not only not serving them, but may actually be toxic. Continuing some friendships in recovery from addiction can only hurt some people in the long run. In an effort to revive or repair a broken relationship, it may end up breaking that person or land them in a relapse situation. To maintain healthy sobriety, it may be better to end the friendship.

When It’s Time

How a person knows it is time to cut friends loose depends on many factors. It helps to watch for the following characteristics and make some appropriate changes:

  • The friend does not want them to change. If a friendship was built over drug or alcohol use, there is little reason to think it can continue in sobriety. That person may not even be excited about their friends getting sober. If a friend encourages others to keep being friends in spite of using drugs or alcohol, it may be time to run the other way, fast, before they drag everyone around them down.
  • A friend is hyper-critical. Friends need to be honest with each other. This means sharing honest opinions and being open about feelings. It does not mean criticizing what that person does. If nobody does anything right in their eyes, that person is no good. While in recovery, encouragement and support is necessary to build others up, not tear them down. Someone who does this is toxic for everyone they meet.
  • The person is self-absorbed. If everyone always seems to listen to this friend’s problems, looks for a shoulder to cry on and leaves everyone feeling used up, it may be time to change. It may actually be time to kick that person to the curb.
  • The person is a boundary thief. To maintain sobriety, it helps to establish new rules about boundaries. A good friend respects these boundaries. If a friend continually pushes them, or crosses them, they don’t have others’ best interests in mind. They may invite others to a bar even after sober friends have said they are not interested. Whatever the boundaries, they ought to respect them or get gone.

Finding friends can be challenging, but having the wrong ones around will only bring down recovery into the pits. It is not worth risking recovery for a friend who is not willing, or ready, to get sober and respect others on a different journey. Sometimes people’s pathways shift and it is time to let them go. That is more a personal choice than waiting for the other person to finally cross a line that went too far. There are more healthy friendships out there to be had, so don’t wait to go out and find them.

People who respect your sobriety will respect you and your journey. If you have friends who are struggling with addiction, Serenity can help offer a place of solitude and healing to get well.  Call us 24/7 at our toll-free number to find out how to seek help for addiction: 866-294-9401