selective focus photograph of gray metal chains

Removing Someone From Your Inner Circle

Part II of Circle Series

Removing someone from your inner circle can be a rough experience. Maybe one of the members isn’t behaving normally, or you can just tell that things have changed, and they aren’t going back. Identifying a “Weakest Link” in your circle is difficult on a couple of levels. One is just taking the blinders off and recognizing the weakness. The other is taking action.

Once you know that it’s not just a situational change, but something deeper, you need to make the decision to remove the person from your inner circle. But how do you do that without hurting feelings? Sometimes, unfortunately, feelings will be hurt, but it’s in your best interest to simply be honest about the friendship and that it no longer serves you.

First of all, be present when breaking off a friendship. Schedule a time where you can both meet on neutral ground, at a coffee shop or café, or somewhere similar.  Your friend deserves more than just a text message or an email, and you are a bigger person than to do that, right?

If there’s no way you can get together, at least give them the courtesy of a phone call. But don’t get into details when attempting to schedule a meeting… just say you’d like to meet. Now isn’t the time to get into why.

When you do meet, or call, know exactly what you want to say. Be confident, both inwardly and outwardly, and clear about what you’d like to happen to the friendship – whether you want to cut off all contact, or whether you’d like the friendship to simply have different boundaries and expectations.

Be prepared to listen to your friend, and entertain ideas you possibly hadn’t thought of. Though, if you’re set on ending the friendship altogether, be clear about that, and stick to your guns.

Honesty truly is the best policy when you’re dealing with ending a friendship or cooling it off for a bit. Approach your friend with love, if you are able, because that will make the words you say kinder and gentler. State the facts – that the relationship has changed, and that you’ve been thinking about what to do about it. Make it more about you than blaming them for anything.

If you do need to get into specifics (and you very well might want to – that’s okay), don’t do it from a blaming perspective. Turn things around so that you’re making a lot of “I” statements.

Be thoughtful and conscious of your friend’s feelings when talking about what went wrong. Be honest, talk about facts, but be ready for your friend to feel hurt and defensive. This is where kindness will pay off. Still, as we’ve said previously, stick to what your plan is for the friendship.

Finally, take some time to yourself, if needed, to mourn the loss of the friendship.