All friendships ebb and flow—one month you're Snapchatting each other your every movement, the next, you're relying on Facebook to find out anything that's going on in their lives. It's natural.
But sometimes, as we grow and change as people, we realize that there are some friends that, for whatever reason, our lives might be better off without.
It's not an easy decision to come to, and is definitely not one that should be made in the heat of the moment. But as difficult, upsetting or downright awks it may seem at the time, your life is precious and shouldn't be wasted with people that don't deserve you. Here, 12 signs it might be time to break up with a friend:
1. They make you feel bad about yourself. Whether it's your clothing choices or life choices, they're always on hand with a snarky comment or put-down.
2. They're horribly competitive. They can't enjoy your success without turning the conversation back onto this thing they did that was totally the same, if not better...
3. You feel worse after spending time with them. Spending time with a good friend should leave you in a happy mood, anticipating your next hang. If you feel drained, it sounds like your friend is an energy vampire you'd be better off without.
4. They take advantage of you. Whether they're expecting you to drive them round all the time, or they only get in touch when they want something, it's take take take with this friend.
5. There is always drama. Some friends attract or actively instigate drama. You can never just have a good time, because you're constantly counseling them through whatever the latest dramz happens to be.
6. The effort is always one-sided. If it feels like it's constantly you making the effort to make plans and keep the friendship going, it might be time to re-evaluate.
7. They bail on you. There's always a new excuse for this person to duck out of your plans, and they don't even seem that sorry. Why prioritize someone who treats you as Plan B?
8. They're constantly making the same mistake over and over. You've brought up a certain behavior in the past, and yet they keep doing it again and again.
9. They spill your secrets. Trust is the key foundation of true friendship, and that trust doesn't exist if your friend is dishing the dirt on your behind your back.
10. They are a bad influence on you. Whether it's drinking or drugs, some friends can't accept it if you've outgrown a harmful behavior, and insist on dragging you back down with them. Real friends respect your life choices.
11. They aren't there for you when it really counts. Being a good friend is about being there during the hard times as well as the fun times. Did they call when they knew you were going through a rough time..?
12. They talk shit about their other friends. If they're slating their other friends and giving you the scoop on their lives, imagine what they're saying behind your back.
How to actually do it
Depending on the type of friend you're dealing with, there are two main paths you can take.
1. Let the friendship naturally fizzle out.
Stop trying to make plans with them, and limit your engagement with them on your phone/social media. Decline invitations politely, and keep interactions at a light level—deep and meaningful ones are for real friends only and you don't want to give mixed messages. Eventually, hopefully quite naturally, you'll have distance from them. It's like gradually growing apart, just more deliberately...
2. Confront them.
Confrontation is HARD but it'll save you more guilt in the long run. Explain the reasons you're not happy with your friendship and why you don't feel it's a good idea for you to be around each other anymore. Maybe they'll surprise you and explain their actions, which could change your mind. Or maybe they won't. Either way, they'll know where you stand.
It's not easy and it's not a nice experience, but ultimately your happiness and integrity are more important than saving the feelings of someone who doesn't care about yours.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.