Female friendships are the best. Girlfriends are fun to go on adventures with, they鈥檙e supportive when we鈥檙e going through hardships, and they鈥檙e our biggest cheerleaders when we鈥檙e following our dreams. 鈥 Until they aren鈥檛, that is. Sometimes, no matter how much we loved a person or how well (we thought) they understood us, certain friendships can become toxic relationships. Realizing that a friend shouldn鈥檛 be in our lives anymore is confusing, heartbreaking, and stressful, but letting go of a bad friend is just as necessary for your well-being as breaking up with a bad S.O. If you have a friend in your life who just has to go, read on for our tips on breaking up with them the adult way.

A bored woman sits in a coffeeshop as her friend uses a tablet

1. Define expectations for the friendship. Both yours and theirs. Before you sit down for 鈥淎 Talk,鈥 figure out if a formal friendship-ending declaration is even necessary. If you鈥檙e still acting like besties who do everything together, you鈥檒l definitely need to have a major convo 鈥 but if your relationship is more casual, it鈥檚 perfectly okay to just stop initiating plans and start turning down their offers to hang to let things slowly fizzle out. Either way, it鈥檚 important that you鈥檝e thought realistically about this relationship and what it means to 鈥渂reak up鈥 鈥 there鈥檚 no use causing unnecessary drama if you can help it.

2. Remember honesty is always the best policy. With that said, if your friend asks why you鈥檙e suddenly MIA, you have to 鈥榝ess up and be honest about where you鈥檙e at. Of course, you still want to be mindful of their feelings too: Now鈥檚 not the time to start a fight or play the blame game. Sure, you鈥檝e kept a mental scorecard of every passive-aggressive thing they鈥檝e said to you and any time they鈥檝e made you feel insecure, but rehashing those moments with her now won鈥檛 help you heal. Instead, a simple 鈥淚 need to move on鈥 and being clear about your intentions should be enough. If it鈥檚 gotten to this point, we鈥檙e betting they know what鈥檚 up, even if they don鈥檛 want to admit it.

3. Set healthy boundaries. However you鈥檝e decided to deal with your toxic friendship, make sure you follow through on your initial intentions. If you鈥檙e cutting someone out of your life completely, that means unfollowing (and probably blocking) them on social media, steering clear of social events you know you won鈥檛 be able to avoid them at, and turning down attempts at reconnection without resolution of their toxic behavior. Moving on only works if you actually move on. You鈥檒l feel so much freer and more confident if you鈥檙e not constantly going down the rabbit hole of Instagram tags or prying pals for gossip. We can鈥檛 emphasize this one enough!

4. Keep it between you two. Speaking of those other pals, unless your friend鈥檚 behavior has actually been abusive, don鈥檛 put pressure on your mutual friends to choose sides. It may be awkward at first, but you鈥檒l find a way to coexist peacefully, and those around you can make up their own minds how they handle your new arrangement. Often, breaking up (whether it鈥檚 a friendship or relationship) means disrupting more than just your own lives, so you can expect awkwardness and maybe even losing other friends in the process. Just trust that your instinct for self-preservation is leading you to a healthier, less anxious life on the other side of the initial mess.

5. Don鈥檛 let guilt get in the way. It鈥檚 so easy to feel like you鈥檙e the 鈥渂ad guy鈥 when you鈥檙e the one officially initiating the end a relationship, and none of us like knowing someone is mad at us 鈥 even when they鈥檝e been bringing us down. It鈥檚 easier said than done, but try not to feel guilty for following your gut. Just repeat after Kourtney Kardashian: 鈥淚 don鈥檛 need this kind of negativity in my life.鈥

Have you ever had to 鈥渂reak up鈥 with a friend? Tweet us @BritandCo to let us know what you learned through the experience.

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