In the age of social media and rampant navel-gazing, it’s almost impossible to avoid coming in contact with a narcissist. I’ve personally had three friends, who were at one time very close friends in my life. Although each girl was fun in her own right, I started to realize they were narcissists over time.
You know your friend is a narcissist when you spend 95% of the time talking about her and her life. She needs you to puff up her ego and makes you feel bad to assert her dominance. Yet with women, it’s all very subtle. It’s a mind game that you can’t escape until you realize you’re hanging out with a self-obsessed psychopath.
The worst part about narcissists is that it is arguably harder to break up with them than boyfriends. Boyfriends come and go, but friends are supposed to last forever, right? Sure, you’ll cry over a breakup, and it will be tough for a few days or weeks, but the emotional damage of longtime friendships with narcissists could do more harm than a lifetime of breakups.
So, here are three steps on how to break up with your narcissist friend:
Step 1: Identify your friend as a narcissist
This sounds like it should be obvious, but it’s trickier than it sounds. Narcissists will keep you around only to make themselves feel important, and you’ll be treated as a friend so long as you’re feeding their egos. Some people can be dramatic or hyper-confident, but that doesn’t make them narcissists. Your friend is a narcissist if she feels entitled to superior treatment and expects everyone to cater to her needs and desires.
The narcissist will always talk about herself and control the conversation. You’ll find yourself going on auto-pilot and allow her to go on and on about her life and problems, but she’ll never ask you about your feelings or life.
She will make decisions on your behalf to stay in control and spread negative emotions to keep you feeling insecure, whether you realize or not. The narcissist wants to keep you dependent on her friendship so she feels powerful.
Step 2: Slowly ghost
Ghosting is a horrifying modern practice that I do not normally condone, but in this case, it’s the best course of action.
Your narcissist friend wants to keep you around as her entourage, not as a friend. Once you realize that you’re being used, you have to slowly extract yourself from the relationship. As hard as this may be, especially if it’s a long-term friendship, you have to look out for yourself first. It’s more important to spend time with people who care about you than with those who use you.
Start to hang out less and make more excuses to avoid your narcissist friend. Most of the time, narcissists won’t even waste a breath on a fight because, to them, there’s nothing worth fighting for—you’re replaceable. It will be easier to let the friendship go if you gradually ghost over time, as opposed to cutting her off without an explanation.
Step 3: Block her and completely cut her out of your life
There are some narcissists who care so little about their friendships that Step 2 would’ve been sufficient enough for them to leave you alone. I once had a fight with a narcissist friend by calling her out on her manipulative tactics to put me down. Unfortunately for me, I cared way more about the friendship than she did, and I was tormented for days wondering about her. I talked to that friend every day, and we even had plans to go on vacation together the following week. I hadn’t heard a peep from her up until the day before our vacation. Naturally, I had to reach out to her first, and she acted as if nothing was wrong.
You know your friend is a narcissist when they exhibit behavior that demonstrates how little they care about you and your friendship. They only have “friends” in their lives to stroke their ego. The second you stop catering to their needs, they will drop you without a blink and move onto someone else.
As emotionally painful as it is to cut out a person who you once thought was a best friend, you have to get past it and push forward. This is why breaking up with narcissist friends is harder than romantic breakups—at least you know that your boyfriend meant well and loved you (in most cases). When you break up with a narcissist friend, you realize that your friend never really cared about you at all. The best thing to do for yourself is to block all of their social media, their number, and devote your time to cultivate healthy friendships.