There are times when you’ve had enough of someone and they have gotten on your last nerve.
Maybe you gave them enough second chances to count on two hands, and now it’s time to put your foot down.
They won’t take no for an answer and it seems like your attempts to tell them off go unheard.
Don’t worry, there’s still a way to get rid of them.
If you’re ready to cut someone out of your life for good but not sure how to do it, I’ve got your back.
1) Pick your place
Whatever your reasons for cutting this person out of your life, remember that it’s a process and it has to be done carefully.
Do not just randomly text them and say you never want to see them again. This is likely to lead to a drawn-out argument and possibly even more fighting down the road.
Once you’ve decided to cut someone off totally, it’s best to meet in person, and meet in a public place.
Tell them you need to talk to them about something important and choose somewhere like a cafe, food court or chill park.
Speak to them calmly, explain that you are very busy, stressed, preoccupied or whichever issue and that you no longer are able to keep seeing or talking to them.
Let them know that you wish them all the best and hope for only good things, but that you are making big changes in your life that unfortunately will not be able to include this individual going forward.
Harsh? Maybe. But honesty is always better than dragging it out.
As AJ Harbinger notes, keep it public:
“It’s not unheard of for toxic people to get belligerent or even violent.
Talking to them publicly can significantly diminish the chances of this happening.”
2) Explain, but don’t elaborate
As you explain to this person why things have reached this point, be honest about how you feel but not excessive.
If you’ve fallen in love with someone else, tell them you’ve met someone new without going into all the juicy details.
If you need to cut off a family member who’s been verbally or psychologically abusive, tell them that you are really struggling and need to tell them that you can no longer be in touch for the foreseeable future.
If you are cutting off a friend who’s an addict and has been using you for drug or alcohol money, refer them to a treatment facility and tell them that you love and care about them but you need to draw your boundary firmly at this time and not shift it.
Tell them you will always care but you can’t be that person for them anymore.
“Having to end a relationship isn’t a bad thing, and sometimes, it’s essential,” observes Kimberley Truong.
“We all deserve to live our best lives without anything weighing us down — but preferably without a trail of broken people in our wake.”
3) Listen to them, but stick to your goal
Give the person a chance to express themselves and tell their side.
In a best-case scenario, they will accept what you’re saying, wish you the best and move on.
In a medium or worst-case scenario, they will become angry, blame you, resist being cut off or even try to harm or blackmail you in some way.
For as long as they are not doing anything extreme or being personally insulting, however, hear them out.
It can help for this person to “get it out of their system” and tell you all about how they feel.
You want to make it clear that while you respect their feelings and perhaps their desire to remain part of your life it’s not something that’s possible at this point in time.
As Truong said, you don’t want to hurt people unnecessarily, but at the same time, you need to respect your own boundaries.
Sometimes, sadly, the only way to get this individual to accept it and move on is to tell a fib.
In other words:
4) Lie if necessary
I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but sometimes it is absolutely necessary to lie when cutting someone off.
A well done lie can save you mountains of trouble and even worse drama and possibly even violence.
If you have reached the point that you need to cut someone off, it may be necessary to have an explanation that goes beyond your own feelings or why you don’t want them in your life anymore.
What I mean is that you may need to tell them that you’d love to keep seeing them, being friends, being lovers or being connected in some way, but you simply can’t.
- You’re moving to another state in a week far away and will be completely focused on work for the foreseeable future.
- You’re dating somebody new and it’s starting to get serious. You hope they understand, but you just can’t talk to them anymore.
- You have a very serious problem with drugs or alcohol and are going to a rehab facility. You won’t be allowed a phone in there during your six weeks of treatment and you’re not sure what will happen after.
Now, obviously all of these have potential downsides and could still lead to this person pestering you afterwards or demanding infinite details.
But if they are delivered well, these lies buy you time.
Time to move on with your life, become firm in cutting them off and later letting them know that you’ve fully moved on after your “move,” your “rehab” or into your new relationship that’s going very well…
5) Create physical distance
In some cases, it is necessary and advisable to create physical distance if you want to cut someone out of your life.
For example, it would be very hard to cut a cousin out of your life who is a very toxic influence if he or she were living next door to your apartment and was accustomed to often dropping by for a drink.
It would be difficult to cut off an ex if they go to your gym or live literally on the same block as you.
In some cases, you may be advised to move further away if possible. In other cases, a move to an entirely different place may be a good idea depending on the feasibility of that.
Granted, it’s not always possible to move or shift locations, but if you can do it: do it.
Cutting somebody off is much easier when you live far away from them and the routine and duties of your day are far divorced and differentiated from theirs.
If it comes down to it, you can also move to a place that you simply do not inform them of and which they have no way to find out.
6) Create emotional distance
Creating emotional distance is also a real necessity when cutting someone out of your life.
Emotional distance means respecting your decision and no longer being a shoulder for this person to cry on…
Nor to cry on their shoulder if that’s been the pattern…
Whatever codependent or healthy pattern you may or may not have with them, it’s time to end it. Stop texting and calling, stop seeing them, stop spending time with the same circle of friends or relatives.
Cutting them off means you are orienting yourself in new directions in your life.
If this is the end of a long relationship or something like that, it may feel almost impossible to do and it may hurt badly.
But in order to truly turn the corner in your life and move on to better and healthier people you will really need to stick to your decision.
Stop confiding in them and stop being around them. Cutting somebody off only works if you actually cut them off, not if you reestablish contact every week or two.
Which brings me to my next point:
7) Believe in yourself
It’s absolutely crucial that you believe in yourself here:
Your reasons for cutting this person off may vary from them being abusive to you liking someone new to them trying to involve you in criminal or damaging behavior or actions.
It may be that they were holding back your dreams, financially leeching off you, sabotaging your reputation or even blackmailing and threatening you in a professional context.
There are, unfortunately, many very valid reasons to have to cut somebody off.
Sometimes they were simply becoming a black hole in your life and making you lose your confidence and optimism.
You have a right to make the decisions that are best for you. Some would say that you actually even have a duty to yourself to do this.
It’s crucial that you believe in yourself and your reasons for cutting this person off. If you don’t, then you are going to double back and take them back.
Whatever brought you to the point of saying enough you need to believe in yourself.
You have and you had a valid reason to reach that point. You continue to be legitimate in your desire to keep this person out of your life.
Believe in your value. Believe in your decisions. Believe in maintaining this separation.
To that end, it’s a good idea to get very serious about this…
8) Have a block party
Get your fingers ready and start clicking and swiping every place you can.
Block them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, the dating application you met on, your text messaging inbox, your call block list.
Block them on Reddit and Steam if it comes to it. Discord, Signal, Telegram. You get the picture.
Block the hell out of this person in every imaginable place.
This is not a joke and it’s not supposed to be fun, nor are you necessarily going to feel great about it.
But if you’ve reached the point of having to cut off this person then you have to do it for real.
Block their address on your email, block alternate accounts, block their friend’s number that you keep getting texted from.
9) Get a restraining order
In the previous point, I recommended blocking this person everywhere possible online and in your text messaging and social media.
This doesn’t always prevent this individual from physically following you, accosting you in public or literally coming to your door to harass and pursue you.
In these cases it may become necessary, unfortunately, to go to the police.
If an ex or other individual will not take no for an answer and is literally stalking you then you may begin to feel unsafe or threatened in a significant way.
If this is what’s happening, it may become necessary to get a restraining order on them, which will be physically delivered to this individual.
If the harassment is happening online via fake or alternate accounts they are creating then it may also be necessary to go to police and have them charged for cyber-harassment and issuing threats.
Let’s hope it does not come down to this, but it certainly can in some cases.
What to avoid when cutting someone off
1) Having an endless debate
Listen, cutting someone off is hard and it may hurt. It probably will.
But if you’ve made this decision then you do need to stick to it.
Having a big argument or debate with them is not a good idea and is likely to lead to a disturbing thing happening:
It’s likely to lead to an ongoing pattern of cutting them off, changing your mind, arguing more, cutting them off, taking them back again, and so on…
This will deplete your energy, time and self-respect.
It’s exactly the type of thing that tends to happen, for example, in on-again-off-again relationships.
They almost never end well, and they almost always end in off again for good, but with both individuals emotionally destroyed.
When you cut someone off, stick to it.
2) Outsourcing it to others
Cutting someone off should be your decision. Don’t let friends, family or even a therapist or other person tell you what to do.
You can take heartfelt and smart advice into consideration.
But that final decision to cut someone out of your life should be entirely up to you.
Even worse, do not let someone else deliver the news like “Paul no longer wants to talk to you again.”
Even in the case of say a physically abusive spouse or partner, deliver the message from yourself.
If it requires staying physically away from them, send it in a voicemail or email and make it absolutely clear that it comes from you.
You are cutting this person off.
You are putting your foot down.
You are doing what’s best for you.
And that is just that.
3) Second-thought sabotage
All too often, cutting someone out of your life is ruined by having second thoughts and doubting your decision.
Maybe you think “wow I was being too harsh there…”
Or maybe you even think that you made a mistake and miss their company.
We all have lonely times in life when we just wish we had someone to hold or talk to.
It’s during such times that you may think back to this person and wish you were still with them or had them in your contacts, or were still friends and could go out and grab a beer or have a girl’s night out.
This is especially likely to occur when you have cut off a romantic partner or ex.
You may miss them and who you were with them.
You may think of your best moments and wish they would come back and you could relive those times.
When this happens and you’re about to hit “unblock” and send them a “long time no talk,” remember that you are going to almost definitely regret the hell out of doing this.
As relationship expert Natasha Adamo says:
“Your mind will try to bring them back to life by remembering who they were in the beginning.
Extinguish it on the spot by reminding yourself of who they are NOW and who the f*ck you are today:
Someone they can no longer mess with because they no longer have access to.”
Hey hey now, goodbye…
Cutting someone out of your life isn’t easy.
This is particularly true if it’s a family member or somebody you’ve known for a long time such as a best friend or an ex romantic partner.
Sadly, in some cases, it is absolutely necessary.
Just keep in mind that the feelings of sadness and frustration you may have won’t last forever.
Instead of thinking of this as the loss of someone you may have once been close to, think of it as the opening up of new opportunities.
This goes for both you and them.
You can free yourself from the toxic things that have been going on, and they can be course corrected into leaving you alone and getting themselves in order as well.
Change is hard, and cutting somebody off can be brutal, but sometimes it’s truly best for all involved.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
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