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How to Positively End Friendships That Go Out of Balance

Friendships are important for our social and emotional wellbeing. However, there are times when a friendship becomes unbalanced, and one person is struggling more than the other. It can be challenging to end these types of friendships when we care about the other person, but it’s necessary to protect our energy and mental health.

When someone is not looking after themselves, it can be challenging for them to provide friendship or support to others. This is because they may be struggling with their own issues and have little energy or capacity to help others. In some cases, they may even be unintentionally toxic towards others, as their negative behaviors or attitudes can bring down those around them.

In a one-sided friendship, one person is doing all the giving, while the other person is doing all the taking. This can be emotionally draining for the person giving and can lead to feelings of resentment and frustration. It can also prevent the other person from recognizing that they need to change their behavior and take responsibility for their own life.

If you’re in a friendship or partnership where the other person is not looking after themselves, it’s essential to ask for more. This means setting boundaries and communicating your needs and expectations clearly. It may also mean walking away from the relationship if the other person is unwilling or unable to change.

It’s important to remember that we all have a responsibility to take care of ourselves and our own wellbeing. If we don’t prioritize our own needs, we won’t have the energy or capacity to provide support and friendship to others. By taking care of ourselves, we create a strong foundation for healthy relationships and positive interactions with others.

Why is it Hard to End a Friendship When We Care?

When we care about someone, we don’t want to hurt their feelings or make them feel rejected. It’s natural to feel guilty or responsible for their wellbeing, even if it’s not our job to fix their problems. Additionally, we may feel like we’re giving up on the friendship or abandoning them when they need us the most.

Repeating Patterns Can Enable Change

It’s essential to recognize that repeating patterns in a friendship can enable the other person to continue their dysfunctional behavior. When we consistently ignore their negative actions or enable them, we’re not helping them in the long run. Setting boundaries can encourage them to reflect on their behavior and make changes that improve their mental health and relationships.

How to Put Down Kind and Fair Boundaries

Setting boundaries is critical when dealing with an imbalanced friendship. Here are five ways we can inadvertently enable someone else’s dysfunction:

  1. Constantly offering help without any reciprocity
  2. Ignoring or downplaying negative behavior or actions
  3. Sacrificing our needs or boundaries to make them happy
  4. Not holding them accountable for their actions
  5. Allowing them to manipulate or guilt-trip us into doing what they want

It may seem unfair to set boundaries, but it’s necessary for our mental health and wellbeing. Here are five ways good boundaries may help a friend even if it means walking away:

  1. Encourages them to take responsibility for their actions
  2. Protects our energy and mental health
  3. Shows them what healthy boundaries look like
  4. Allows us to focus on our own needs and goals
  5. Opens up the opportunity for them to make changes and improve their mental health and relationships

Setting boundaries in a one-sided relationship is an important step to protect your energy and wellbeing. Here are five examples of what you might say when setting boundaries:

  1. “I need to take a break from this friendship/relationship for a while. I feel like I’m always the one giving, and it’s draining me emotionally and mentally.”

  2. “I can’t keep rearranging my schedule to accommodate your needs. I have my own priorities and responsibilities, and I need to focus on them.”

  3. “I don’t feel comfortable discussing this topic with you anymore. It always ends up being a one-sided conversation, and I need to feel like I’m being heard and understood as well.”

  4. “I’m not okay with the way you’re treating me. Your behavior is disrespectful and hurtful, and I need you to acknowledge that and work on changing it.”

  5. “I’m sorry, but I can’t continue to lend you money. It’s putting a strain on our friendship, and I don’t feel comfortable with the situation.”

Remember that setting boundaries can be difficult, but it’s necessary for your own wellbeing. Be clear, firm, and respectful when communicating your boundaries, and be prepared to follow through with consequences if the other person continues to ignore them. Ultimately, setting boundaries can help create a healthier and more balanced relationship.


Ending a friendship can be challenging, but it’s necessary when the friendship becomes unbalanced, and the other person is struggling. We must set the example of how to live a good life and not feel responsible for others’ wellbeing. By setting boundaries, we’re not only protecting ourselves but also enabling the other person to make positive changes in their life. Remember, it’s not selfish to put ourselves first; it’s necessary for our wellbeing.

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