I currently have a friend that I’ve been talking to for many months. I find that it’s become draining on my emotional health to continue seeing them.

In this case, I have developed feelings for them because of their own flirtatious nature. They don’t intend to lure people in and have expressed adamance against a relationship since the beginning. They do however appreciate our friendship.

My belief is, that in order to recover, I need to avoid their presence altogether so I can begin to move on. I don’t see myself losing feelings for them being in this situation.

How can I tell them I don’t feel it’s in both of our interests to continue socializing without devaluing anything we had?

My goal is to leave the friendship as gracefully possible and to let us both move on with the least amount of hurt.

  • 1
    Just to confirm, is it your goal to sever contact with this friend permanently?
    – user8671
    Dec 14, 2018 at 9:28
  • Yes, that is the idea. Edit: The goal is to conclude things and to leave ‘permanently’. However that doesn’t necessarily mean that later in the future things could kindle back again (in my case after I’ve healed). I just won’t particularly be searching for it.
    – Anilla
    Dec 14, 2018 at 13:34
  • How long have you been friends with this person and how close are you to them? This will likely determine how open and truthful you should be when confronting them.
    – scohe001
    Dec 14, 2018 at 14:40
  • 1
    I have been friends with them for about 8 months. We both have invested ourselves in the friendship. I believe I should try to be as truthful as possible as I know they’d expect it.
    – Anilla
    Dec 14, 2018 at 14:52
  • Do you have a group of mutual friends, or other connections to this person? Could you easily avoid them in the future (assuming the break-up works as planned)? Dec 14, 2018 at 17:02

2 Answers 2


You say in a comment that you "believe [you] should try to be as truthful as possible" and I can't tell you how much I respect that. It's no easy task to deliver tough news like this to someone close to you, but I really admire that you've chosen to be honest here. So how can you tell the truth without hurting your friend?

In a lot of ways, this feels similar to a breakup, so I'd treat it like one. When telling him that you don't want to be friends, I'd try for an "It's not you, it's me." kind of message. Focus on using "I feel" statements to prevent your friend from closing up and getting defensive. You've been feeling drained lately. You feel like you need some time away from the friendship. You feel like they've been an amazing friend and you want to come back to them, but you just need some time first.

In addition to the above, I'd strongly advise against bringing up your attraction to them. This is already a messy situation and it would likely only complicate matters if you brought that into the equation. You want your friend to know that you love them in your life but you need a break for now. Adding the fact that you may or may not have developed feelings for them would only distract from this message and likely send the wrong one.

Best of luck!


Why is it emotionally draining to be around them? Is it because this other person has been flirting with you while telling you they're not interested in a relationship?

What do you mean they don't intend to lure people in? That's what flirting is all about!

I think there's something being left out, and you said it above, "They do however already know I have feelings for them. To add to the complication, they don’t wish to address the issue.."

It sounds to me like it's emotionally draining because they're playing with you. If that's right, you've already said, "Oh!" to yourself. They're guilting you out.

With this new piece of the picture puzzle, you should know what to do. Head for the exit and don't worry about what you leave behind, because there was never anything there.

When your feelings tell you a relationship is more pain than pleasure, you should listen.

  • 2
    This answer seems to be making a lot of assumptions about what's going on. Also, the OP already stated in the question they know what their goal is (ie; exiting). The question is how to do it, which you do not address.
    – Erik
    Jan 4, 2019 at 9:41
  • Ah. How to leave? Stop asking the OTHER person to let you leave. Take responsibility for yourself, say something if you want, and go. The other person (as described) won't be a partner in this. You have to do this yourself. Just go. youtube.com/watch?v=K4xoHjNjxus
    – VWFeature
    May 17, 2019 at 5:58

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