Breaking up is hard to do. But not all breakups are of the romantic sort.
Last week, we offered you six tips on how to be a great wingman at a gay bar. But what happens when you’re great wingman turns out to be not-go-great after all? There comes a time in every gay man’s life when he must cut ties with someone from his past.
It could be a former bar buddy whose drinking habit has gotten out of hand, or a college friend whose personality turned toxic after graduation. It might be an old co-worker who needs to grow up, or an ex-roomie who needs to get a clue.
In any event, it’s someone you were once close to, but who no longer serves a positive purpose in your life and, therefore, must go.
Here are five steps to breaking up with your gay best friend…
Step 1: Arrange a get together
While it may be tempting to simply delete him from your phone, block him on Facebook and Grindr, and avoid him every time you see him out at the bar, that’s really not a very grown-up way of handling things, especially when the two of you have a history. Take 20 minutes out of your life to meet for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and have a grown lady conversation. You might not want to at first, but you’ll be glad you did in the end. Going the passive-aggressive route by giving him the silent treatment means you’re still going to have to deal with ignoring his texts and dodging him at parties until he finally gets the hint, which could take weeks, months, or even years.
Step 2: Explain why you’re calling it quits.
Has he been flirting with your boyfriend? Did he hookup with your ex without running it by you first? Is his constant late-night drunk dialing getting to be too much? Has he gone all negative? Or have the two of you simply grown apart? Whatever the reason, let him know why you’re breaking it off. It will make you feel better getting it off your chest and it just might make him think twice about his behavior in the future.
Step 3: Give him a chance to explain himself.
After you’ve said your piece, he’ll likely respond one of two ways: With an apology or by getting defensive. Either way, give him an chance to explain himself. Even if you’re still not interested in being BFFs afterwards, it will help bring you both a sense of closure, or at least offer you an opportunity to fling wine in his face–or provide him the same.
Step 4: Set your boundaries.
OK, so you’ve explained why you’re dumping him. You’ve heard what he has to say. Now it’s time now to establish the terms of your breakup. Is this goodbye forever? Or are you willing to remain casual acquaintances? Could you possibly be friends again in the future? We recommend the six month rule. Spend six months ignoring each other, then reconnect to see if you have miraculously grown back together or whether he has matured. Whatever, figure out what you want, tell him in clear terms, and then stick to it.
Step 5: Enjoy your newfound freedom.
Now that you’ve been released from the chains and fetters of this poisonous friendship, twirl off into the sunset, pour yourself a glass of Chardonnay, and catch up on those Real Housewives reruns. If he tries calling or texting you a week later, don’t feel as though you have to respond. Just like when you break up with a boyfriend, breaking up with a friend means you’re no longer obligated to that person anymore.
Enjoy your newfound freedom.