I previously shared that I don’t like one of my son’s friends very much. This friend was not very nice to my daughter, and his attitude towards me was mildly irritating. I found this friend annoying because he’s loud, destructive and obviously had never been taught to say please or thank you. It also made me worry that this friend may be a bad influence on Cohen.

Choosing Quality Over Quantity

Less than a year later, Cohen has realized that he doesn’t want to be friends with this boy anymore. When it comes to friends, I believe in the cliché that quality is better than quantity. While it’s cool to have an entourage of people you can share special moments and have crazy adventures with, the truth is that not all friendships are meant to last through thick and thin—especially if one of them is harmful.

Balancing Honesty & Sensitivity in Unhealthy Friendships

Cohen finally started to experience the negative attitude of this person that others warned him about. He wanted to stop hanging out with this person, but I don’t know how to kindly explain to his mother why Cohen is distancing himself from their child.

Over the last couple of weeks, his friend’s mom kept asking if Cohen was available to hang out. I kept making up excuses about why he was busy. I didn’t want to have a conversation or a confrontation, but do I continue to make up excuses until she hopefully realizes that Cohen’s not interested? Or do Cohen and I choose to ghost him and his mother?

In a perfect world, my son would be able to confront anyone, at any time, to tell them how they offended him. In a perfect would, I’d chat with his mother without her getting offended.

In the real world, his parents might be upset and Cohen truly feels that talking to this person wouldn’t improve the situation. He recognizes that their friendship isn’t worth saving. So why waste the time and energy?

Relationships of all kinds can be messy, weird and complicated, so I’m not here to judge what you decide is best if you’re in a similar situation.

How to Kindly Break Up With Friends

During the school year, Cohen has a different friend group and soccer friends. But during the summer, the boy he wants to distance himself from lives in the neighborhood. It’s convenient for them to hang out. Considering all this, here’s how I kindly removed ourselves from the friendship by acting like Casper and ghosting away.

First, Cohen and I had a long conversation about this friend. I told him to remember that he’s never required to be anybody’s friend but that he still needs to be kind to everyone. If a friend is being too demanding without showing up for him when he needs it, he needs to set boundaries. He should never sacrifice his comfort or get stressed out to “prove himself” as a real friend. The trick is finding balance by having a healthy, trusting friendship.

Then, after my conversation with Cohen, we stopped replying to texts, calls and comments. Getting rid of an unhealthy influence will help him to identify similar people in the future. Unfortunately, he’ll most likely have to go through a friendship dump multiple times in his life, but at least he’ll know how to deal with it better the second time around.

Embracing Selective Friendships as Self Care

While we both feel guilty after ghosting him and his mom, the truth is that my son needs friendships, just not all of them. Some friends are there for a certain time, while others will stick around forever. I told him that he can appreciate the good things about the person while freeing himself from the bad things at the same time.

Again, I reminded him to send love and light to the person and let them go. I want Cohen to surround himself with good people who will lift him up and support him. Ghosting can be an act of self-care.

Mallory Connelly

Mallory Connelly

Babies & Toddlers

In addition to the time I devote to being a mom, I also work full-time outside the home, which means my day is hardly ever as simple as nine to five. With an all-too-established schedule, as soon as I walk through the door, my day doesn’t end, but rather just begins. It’s a balancing act, especially with two children, but being a mom is one full-time job that I never want to quit!

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