How to Break Up With That Friend Who Isn’t Really a Friend

You never call this person—they’re always the one to call you. You’ll see their number come up and you’ll hesitate. They’re like the guy trying too hard on a date. You know, the guy who is awkwardly pandering to the girl, un-charmingly bumbling around and sweating. He’s completely unlike Hugh Grant in a romantic comedy but a lot like Hugh Grant on the defendant's stand. It’s a painful sight to see; everyone besides the nervous guy is in on the fact that the best he’s going to do with this girl is a pity handjob in a parking lot. Confidence is attractive no matter what the nature of the relationship.

It’s decision time. Do you take the passively Swiss approach, non-confrontationally tolerating this jerkoff’s presence, living in cripplingly fear of hurting their feelings, until one of you dies or moves? Conversely, do you take the German approach, attacking the problem head on no matter how uncomfortable the position you’re taking seems to everyone else? It’s your choice, do you rip the Band-Aid off and tolerate the sting for a second, or do you leave it on, letting it disgustingly fester for unbearable year after unbearable year?

Society wants us to be nice to each other all the time. But what about if a huge amount of future anguish could be avoided by committing one quick rude act? Think about it, you quickly tell them off and from there there’s no more resentment, no more elaborate balls of fake excuses to keep track of, and no more hangouts where you’re counting the minutes until it’s socially acceptable to go home.

Despite it being rude, the breakup option is for the best. It’s like when George shoots Lennie at the end of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men or when the kid in Air Bud tells Buddy to go away. Sure, sending your dog away or killing your mentally-disable best friend seem like pretty big social faux pas, but in both cases they were done to avoid gigantic amounts of potential future tension.

This “friendship” isn’t a union job; it’s not going to get better the more time you put in. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Short of suffering a closed-head injury, you’re not going to wake up and be a new person one day. Being an adult means recognizing when you don’t want something in your life and doing your best to rid yourself of it.

So set the wheels in motion on the Friend-Break-Up-Express. Sometimes you can just move away and grow apart without hurt feelings, but sometimes you’ll have to be more direct and bite the bullet.

Bottom line: you don’t want to wake up one day to find out you’re the best man at a wedding for a guy who hasn’t taken the hint for the last nine years.

Justin Gawel is an adult baby from Michigan whose articles appear on BroBible most Thursdays and some Tuesdays usually. Look for more of his writing, his archive, and his updates at or follow him @justingawel on Twitter.