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How To Unfriend A Friend

Culture

no ghosting, like, ever.

Out of all the things you learn in school, basic human relations is not one of them. Sure, you can recite the Pythagorean Theorem, but can you break up with a friend? Unless you've had to deal with it first hand, those life lessons fall by the wayside until, well, you’re face to face with a friend breakup. We’re taught to plan, but no one ever plans to end a friendship—at least not from the start.

“When I was younger, I thought friendships were supposed to last a lifetime,” Jodyne L. Speyer, author of Dump 'Em: How to Break Up with Anyone from Your Best Friend to Your Hairdresser, tells us over email. “I had a childhood friend I stayed friends with long into my adult life, even though she was awful to me!” For years, Speyer, like many, made excuses for remaining friends with an individual who was toxic to her life and, in her words, she simply didn't like. So, she did what anyone would do: She dumped them.

Making the decision to break up isn’t easy, though. Like a romantic relationship, you often flirt with the idea while consciously repressing the negative feelings you might have toward your former friend. For me, it took years of eye-rolling and imagined conversations with myself before deciding enough was enough and ended it with a friend. “Friendships entail give and take, and the equation balances out over time,” Irene S. Levine, psychologist, friendship expert, and producer of The Friendship Blog, tells us. Sometimes, though, the equation gets unbalanced and the friendship turns toxic. It’s then that you must decide where you’re going to go and what you’re going to do. “Unlike our family,” Speyer says, “we chose our friends and we do so because we share a common interest.” Life happens and interests change, and people grow apart. That’s not necessarily a sign of a toxic friendship; that’s just life. “If a friendship stops making us feel good,” Speyer adds, “that’s a pretty good indicator that it’s time to go our separate ways.”

The first step in doing so is identifying whether your friendship is toxic. Both Speyer and Levine stress knowing how you feel when your friend’s name pops up in your Newsfeeds, phone screens, etc. Levine says you’re in a toxic relationship when you “feel emotionally drained” when you get together—if you’re motivated to even do that. Speyer echoes that and says you’re in a toxic relationship when the other “expects way too much of us” and hardly takes the time to listen to your life. More importantly, though, Levine stresses whether you can trust your friend anymore. If not, it’s time to move on.

If you’ve reached a point where you’re ready to break up with your friend, heed Speyer and Levine’s advice and sleep on it. Speyer suggests giving your friend the heads up that something’s wrong: “This simple step is important because it allows the friend to potentially fix the problem—if it’s fixable.” Levine gave the option of maybe cutting down the amount of time you spend with someone. Afterward, list one or two main reasons why you and your friend don’t gel. Both Speyer and Levine urge folks to rehearse what they’re going to say. Levine called it a “script.” According to Speyer, “Your goal when breaking up with someone is to get out of the conversation as quickly as possible.” To follow that, Levine suggests taking “responsibility for the decision to end the friendship by framing your remarks in terms of ‘I’ rather than ‘You.’” Then, allow for the other person time to respond.

As for the medium? Speyer and Levine had different opinions on the digital route: The former said never, because “this is someone you once called a friend” and you want to be the respectful, bigger person. The latter said it depended on the type of friendship you had and your reasons for ending it. Though, Levine did said it was best to do it in person because leaving a paper trail—whether digital or not—“can be misconstrued and shared with other people.” This is, to harp back to some middle-school quip, an A and B conversation and everyone else can “C” their way out of it.

One thing you shouldn’t do? Ghost. Sure, it’s easy, but it’s not beneficial to any party involved. Speyer says it’s “one of the most disrespectful things you can do to someone. We all deserve closure.” Both of you might slowly stop talking each other, but that’s not really ghosting. “It takes a big person to be able to articulate why you are exiting a friendship,” Speyer continues. “If someone is making an effort to see what happened to you and if they did something wrong, tell them.”

There will be a sense of loss afterward. It happens with romantic relationships, too. Depending on how you treat your digital friendship—either purging them completely or, as Speyer suggests, hiding them from your timelines—you may still be inundated with their day-to-day life. You know your limits and how you go about that aspect of the process is up to you. Levine suggests not wallowing in it, but taking your time to “get over the experience and learn from it.” Taking the time to figure out how to be a better friend is key. “Friendships require nurturance,” she tells us. “Not all friendships last forever—even very good ones.” At the end of the day, it’s your well-being that needs the most tending to. Burn bridges as you see fit, but do it with kindness, honesty, and a strong sense of heart. You want to be able to say you’ve given it all you can, and with a sense of absolution, move on.

Cara Delevingne, Ashley Benson, and Agyness Deyn also star

Elisabeth Moss is trying to keep it together as punk rock artist Becky Something in the trailer for forthcoming movie Her Smell. She's surrounded by iconic faces who make up her band Something She, Gayle Rankin as Ali van der Wolff and Agyness Deyn as Marielle Hell, as she grapples with the fact that her musical prowess just doesn't draw as big a crowd as it used to.

In addition to the wavering fame, Becky is "grappling with motherhood, exhausted bandmates, nervous record company executives, and a new generation of rising talent eager to usurp her stardom," according to a press release. "When Becky's chaos and excesses derail a recording session and national tour, she finds herself shunned, isolated and alone. Forced to get sober, temper her demons, and reckon with the past, she retreats from the spotlight and tries to recapture the creative inspiration that led her band to success." And what's clear from the trailer, Moss is absolutely meant for this role, transforming into the punk on the brink of collapse.

Rounding out the cast are Ashley Benson, Cara Delevingne, and Dan Stevens. Watch the official trailer, below. Her Smell hits theaters on April 12 in New York and 14 in L.A., with "national expansion to follow."

Her Smell | OFFICIAL TRAILER HD www.youtube.com

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Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

In an acceptance speech at the BRIT Awards

As The 1975 accepted the BRIT Award for Best British group, outspoken frontman Matty Healy shared the words of journalist Laura Snapes as a way of calling out misogyny that remains ever-present in the music industry. Healy lifted a powerful quote from Snapes' coverage of allegations against Ryan Adams for The Guardian: "Male misogynist acts are examined for nuance and defended as traits of 'difficult' artists, [while] women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don't understand art."

Snapes reacted almost immediately on Twitter, saying she was "gobsmacked, and honoured that he'd use his platform to make this statement." Snapes had originally written the line for an interview she published with Sun Kil Moon singer Mark Kozelek back in 2015, in response to Kozelek publicly calling her a "bitch" who "totally wants to have my babies" because she requested to speak in person rather than via e-mail, which she brought up in the more recent piece on Adams. Kozelek's vile response, and the misogyny that allowed it to play out without real consequences, it could be argued, could have easily played out in the same way in 2019, which makes her reiteration of the line, and Healy's quoting it on such a large platform, all the more important.

It should be noted that back in December, Healy caught a bit of heat himself on Twitter for an interview with The Fader in which he insinuated that misogyny was an issue exclusive to hip-hop, and that rock 'n' roll had freed itself of it. He clarified at length on Twitter and apologized, saying, "I kinda forget that I'm not very educated on feminism and misogyny and I cant just 'figure stuff out' in public and end up trivializing the complexities of such enormous, experienced issues."