Ask VICE, friendships, advice - Illustration of two human figures sharing a drink, one glass marked with a toxic logo.
Illustration: Djanlissa Pringels

I Don't Trust My Friend. Should I Cut Them Off?

"Sometimes I wonder if she actually cares about me or if I am just a convenient person to party with."

This article originally appeared on VICE Netherlands.

Ask VICE is a series where readers ask VICE to solve their problems, from dealing with unrequited love to handling annoying flatmates. Today we’re hoping to help a reader who can’t work out exactly what a new friend wants from their relationship.


Dear VICE,

I’ve never had trouble making friends. In fact, I’m still close to the friends I made in primary school and hopefully, we’ll stay that way for life.

That said, things have got trickier as we’ve grown older. The girlfriends I left behind when I moved to Amsterdam to study are settling down. They’re buying houses and starting families while I’m still filling my days with events and nights with parties. Our lives are very different.

I’ve also made new friends here, including with a specific group of people who I see at least once a week to do something fun. One girl in particular, Mira, takes the lead in these situations. My social connections outside of the city have fallen by the wayside a little over the last two years, so I’ve been clinging to these newer friendships more and more.

Recently, I’ve come to wonder how genuine they actually are, especially my relationship with Mira. Sometimes I wonder if she actually cares about me or if I am just a convenient person to party with.

Not too long ago, I broke up with someone who was mentally and physically abusive. Mira saw how terribly my ex-partner had treated me, and she knew how difficult it was for me to cut him out of my life. When I found out that she’d been hanging out with him, I was hurt. I confronted her about it, and she didn’t seem to understand why it bothered me so much. It wasn’t her problem, she said.


If that wasn’t enough, an hour before we were supposed to meet up on New Year’s Eve, she told me there actually wasn’t room for me at her party after all. At no point did she consider the fact that I was already ready to go out and suddenly, I had no one to celebrate with.

Friends have told me to end things. It’s difficult, because Mira can also be personable, adventurous and sweet. I worry I’d feel lonely without her in my life. Would it be best to put this friendship to bed? Why is it so hard to cut the cord?



Hi A,

For most of us, maintaining friendships is a necessity. Research has shown that people who have a bestie have better mental health and appear to be better equipped to deal with stress. On the opposite site of the spectrum, a friendship that’s not going well can be cause for distress, and ending one can be just as difficult as it when it comes to romantic break-ups.

Psychologist Ariane Faas, who specialises in issues experienced by millennials, including burnout, is of the belief that your friendship with Mira doesn’t necessarily have to end. She suggests that you should first examine the other relationships in your life.


“The first question I’d ask is, ‘Have you encountered a friendship like this before or is this situation unique?’” she says. If this is the first time you’re in this predicament, it’s entirely possible Mira is the sole cause. “But if this is a repeating pattern, it might be useful to work out what your role is within these friendships.”

In your letter you talk about your abusive ex, which would suggest that you have, through no fault of your own, found yourself in situations where your boundaries have been disrespected or ignored. While you can’t completely avoid meeting people like this in life, it is important to learn more about those boundaries, and to tell others about them.

In your case, you can’t stop Mira from hanging out with your ex. But it is OK to be angry about it and it is OK to tell her that you think it is a rotten thing to do and that she’s crossing a boundary by doing it.

Faas said there are many reasons why you might have a hard time breaking things off with someone who ignores your boundaries. “Do you have trouble communicating clearly, or do you have negative thoughts about yourself that make you feel like you’re not worthy of respect?” she asks. “Are you afraid of hurting others, which causes you to erase your own experience? Or do you have a hard time bonding with people, making it hard to trust them?”


When it comes to your issues with Mira, you’ve got to think properly about why exactly you want her in your life. In practice, you need to consider how much you simply enjoy her company versus how afraid you are that you’ll miss out on doing fun things by cutting her out of your life.

“Young people often feel it is important to them to belong to a certain group,” Faas points out. “But once they’ve broken into that coveted scene, they may find out they can still be lonely.” Faas says that being young means trying a lot of different things and making choices. That’s why, sometimes, you’ll end up with people who still don’t really suit you.

But another way to approach your dilemma could be to redefine your relationship with Mira. She could simply be someone who is great to spend a night out on the town with, but not a friend you rely on or feel comfortable sharing a large part of your life with.

According to Faas, many of the people who come to see her wonder why they’re staying in a relationship even though they’ve known for a long time it is unhealthy. After talking to her, “they often come to the conclusion that it is better to end the relationship or friendship,” she says. “This is striking: as soon as you start taking better care of yourself, you might lose some people. But that’s important, too.”

The crucial thing to remember in all this is that you deserve friendships that feel safe, pleasant, and ultimately good for you. Realising and accepting that will have a positive effect on all your relationships – whether that includes Mira or not.