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Characteristics of a toxic friend: She's too needy, you dread seeing her and you don’t like how you act when you’re around her. It’s a bummer, but toxic friendships happen, and sometimes the best way to deal with one is to get out of it. That’s easier said than done, unless you follow these five simple steps to end a damaging relationship.

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toxic bridesmaids
Universal Pictures

Be honest with yourself
The first step to getting out of a toxic friendship is admitting you’re in a toxic friendship. Make a point to notice how you feel when you’re around this person. If your interactions are consistently bad, it’s time to reevaluate whether or not she’s necessary in your life.

…And be honest with them
When breaking up with a friend that’s toxic, you don’t owe her a long explanation. Tell her you’d like to end your relationship—end of story. Be firm and don’t leave anything up for debate.

Go cold turkey
Go for the Band-Aid approach. Don’t phase out a friend that’s bringing you down—end the relationship in one fell swoop. It sends the wrong message to drag her along, and the sooner you can get on with your life, the better.

toxic meangirls
Paramount Pictures

Unfollow her
Think about how many times you’ve checked Instagram/Twitter/Facebook this week. Now imagine having to see someone you want out of your life every time you log in. After cutting ties with someone, unfollow her. If you don’t want to see her IRL, keeping up with her online is counterproductive and unnecessary.

Don’t feel guilty
Depending on how your friend reacts, you might find yourself feeling really guilty about ending things—especially if there’s a lot of history between you. It might be tough, but remember how much extra time you’ll now be able to spend with people who make you feel great about yourself.

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