Ask The Expert
Q: Dear Andrea: I've outgrown a friend who I've known since high school. How do I end the friendship without hurting her?
A: It's common to outgrow friends from another chapter of our lives. The things we value in high school may look quite different from what we value today.
It's tough to end a relationship with someone you have a history with. Having a "breakup" conversation with your friend may make her defensive and uncomfortable and going MIA and avoiding her calls may be confusing and hurtful. The reality is that no matter how you approach it, there's a good chance you may hurt her feelings (unless she also feels that you don't relate to each other anymore, which is entirely possible).
If you're going to have a talk, frame it in terms of your needs and try not to attack her character or blame her for the reason you're not available to be her friend. You can say, "My schedule is so busy these days, I don't feel I have the time to give enough attention to this friendship. Of course I wish you the best but need to be honest with you that I'm not really available to spend time with you..." Or you can tell her that as hard as it is to admit, you realize that you're in a different phase of your life and feel that you've grown apart.
Show don't tell.
Your other option is showing her through actions, and not words, that you aren't available. She may take the hint if you never initiate plans or take a while to get back to her.
The bottom line is that a relationship must be reciprocal. It won't work if one person doesn't want to be there.
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Andrea Syrtash is an on-air personality and author of He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing) and Cheat On Your Husband (With Your Husband) (Rodale Books, 2010 & 2011). She's shared relationship advice as a contributor to numerous popular sites including OPRAH, Rachael Ray, Yahoo!, and MSN. And she's a frequent guest on shows including The Today Show, CBS This Morning, The View, On-Air With Ryan Seacrest, VH1, and CNN. She also co-hosts "Life Story Project" currently airing on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network (Canada). For more information, you can find her at www.andreasyrtash.com or follow her on Twitter at @andreasyrtash.