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No Contract in This Friendship

I told my friend I would sign a lease with her but I’ve realized I can’t live with her. How can I let her know without hurting her feelings?

You need to be honest with your friend. Both of you are lucky that you realized your change of heart before you signed the lease. Tell her that you gave a great deal of thought to the idea of living together and believe it might compromise your friendship — which you want to keep intact. If you let her know some of the reasons why you feel this way, without blaming her, that would help her get over what she might initially perceive as a personal rejection.

Dr. Irene S. Levine blogs as "The Friendship Doctor" on the Huffington Post and Psychology Today, where she provides readers no-nonsense advice and guidance. Her own blog, The Friendship Blog, has become a unique watering hole for people who want to better understand their friendships. She writes a bimonthly mental health column called Mind Matters for AAAS Science Magazine's online publication, ScienceCareers. Irene’s career straddles two worlds: Trained as a psychologist, she is also an award-winning freelance journalist and author. She spent the major portion of her career as a senior manager and policymaker at the National Institute of Mental Health in Rockville, Maryland. She currently holds a faculty appointment as a Professor of Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine. Her writing—focused on health, lifestyles, travel and relationships—has appeared in scores of newspapers (including the Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, New York Times, Newsday, and USA Today) and national magazines (such as AARP Bulletin, Better Homes and Gardens, Bottom Line Health, Health, Ladies Home Journal, Prevention, and Reader's Digest). Her latest book is Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend. Offering tools for personal assessment, case stories, and actionable advice for saving, ending, or re-evaluating a relationship, Dr. Levine shows that breakups are sometimes inevitable---even between the best of friends. She is a widely sought-after speaker on the topic of friendship.
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