Breaking up a friendship with civility

by Amy Devito

Chelsea Massey / Staff Photographer

Breakups are oftentimes unpleasant for both parties and tend to leave those involved fearful of how to go about breaking off the relationship. Most people have experienced the dissolution of a romantic relationship, but terminating a friendship presents different complexities.

So the question becomes: When a friendship has run its course, what is the most appropriate way to break up with a friend?

There are several avenues to go about handling a breakup, and it is essential to cogitate before taking any initiative. Luckily, today’s generation has technology to make the thorny situation less prickly.

Although the Facebook empire seems to keep people interlocked with one another, it can actually grease the breakup wheels. Sending a private message, chatting or “defriending” someone can be the stern and distant friendship ax. Those who choose to deliver their severance packages electronically risk offending the opposing party. The other parties may take umbrage and view the sender as cowardly. However, this situation does mitigate the possibility of a face-to-face altercation.

Texting reigns supreme in the digital communication world and manages any conversation, proving that few words can go a long way. Shooting a text cuts to the point and can ease tension. If a solution is to be found via texting, it is only fair to explain everything and be mindful of the friend on the other end.

“When I had to break up with a friend recently I handled the matter by texting, being upfront with them in the most polite possible way,” sophomore Supi Bhullar said. “It’s definitely hard to not come off rude, but sometimes there’s not much that can be done when a friendship is coming to an end.”

Facebook and texting may facilitate some breakup situations, but conversing directly proves to be an appropriate approach for several occasions. When pursuing the matter in person, it is imperative to maintain a mature and polite demeanor.

The conversation has significant potential for emotions to erupt, and it could easily escalate into a hostile confrontation. To prevent war from breaking out, it’s important to remain composed and respectful, and make sure to explain everything thoroughly. This will make the breakup go as civil as possible.

“When it comes to breaking it off with friends, it’s crucial to get everything out there and to talk about it all, especially if two people are disagreeing,” junior Ariel Warstadt said. “When my friend and I weren’t getting along too well anymore, I called her up and explained why I was upset with her and made sure to leave no room for interpretation.”

It’s important to see what can be done to reconcile any unresolved issues and let both voices be heard while expressing points of view. Acting with civility will lessen the possibility of smear campaigns.

Asking a mutual friend or another third party to help mediate the process may be a wise decision. However, it is important not to force mutual friends to choose sides. This will only lead to lasting resentment.

Breakups are most always problematic. By ending a relationship with a friend respectfully and amicably, all parties will walk away without feeling they were treated poorly.