When Your Friend Cuts You Off

A couple of years ago, I was cut off by a new friend.


He gave me the full on silent treatment.


I did something that clearly hurt his feelings.


I was pissed.


Sometimes we can hate the person that cuts us off. “How freakin’ rude right? Are you really going to slam the door like that?” I mumbled to myself…


Yet, in these moments of upset, it can be hard to understand the true motives of another human being.


I mean, when someone cuts you out of their life, it can be beyond intense, embarrassing, and hurtful.


friend cut off

You can feel betrayed.


You can feel so unseen.


In this particular case, I had enough self-awareness to know there was a lesson in it for me. I just didn’t know what it was…


I paused…


…I peered into his life…

…I imagined what it was like to be him.  I imaged what he was going through…

…and then?


I did what I always do.


I looked in the mirror. I did my inner work to uncover the hidden lesson for me, that is about me…




I begin to see why he made the choice to sever our ties.


I started to see how my way of living life deeply challenged him enough that he hit the eject button.


Who I am, or “How” I am challenged him, big time.


And one of the ways he responded to challenge was to lash out, shut down, or cut off. It’s just another version of our fight, flight, freeze response in the central nervous system. That’s his primitive brain doing its job– protect him at all costs. I have that part of me too.


Believe it or not, a ‘relational threat’ registers the same as a threat from an alligator that is about to attack us.


As if that’s not enough, we all carry whatever allostatic load we are carrying from whatever we went through in our childhood. If we grew up in an intense environment and don’t ever deal with it, we “compound” the stress in our nervous system as adults. 


It’s like another more bricks in the lego fortress of our defended sense of self.


Then as adults, whether we like it or not, we are super sensitive and hyper vigilant to the relational threats that mimic our childhood experience. 


Add on chronic stress (money, marriage, work, etc), high anxiety, and minimal internal resources on the pile…

…and you now have the preconditions that set the stage for a relational cut off.


Now, it’s no surprise why someone can go silent on us and never look back.


They really believe that by going silent, the issue is dealt with.


But us smart folks know, that’s just another popcorn trail on the path to our huge pile of unprocessed baggage.


This type of compounded stress can feel overwhelming, right?


That’s why we ‘check out.’


Since this stress becomes elevated in these moments of challenge, TV, alcohol, facebook, porn, the internet, and our phones become reliable friends to us.


“Friends” that won’t abandon us. “Friends” that would never “cut us off.”


You have your ways you check out, yes?


I clearly did an action that caused my friend to feel justified in cutting me out of his life. That was him doing his best to take care of himself.


And yes, even he has within him the ability to face the very conflicts that come his way in life. But he didn’t want to. That’s his choice and I honor it. 


But, you might be a different kind of person. If you get cut off by a friend, consider this relationship dynamic is playing out so you can grow and heal.


In other words if a cut off happens to you, you are just the person to meet it.




Because it’s “happening” to you.


When my new friend cut me off, he did so for a number of valid reasons that I will probably never hear about.


But the key for me was to uncork the lesson for me.


Why me? Why was I, master of relationships, getting cut off?


“Dude, I have the tools to work through anything!” I murmured to myself countless times with an edge of anger.


But, once I went and “did the work” to see what this was about for me, I found some beautiful nuggets.


I found that I had been “cut off” my entire life in a number of obvious and not so obvious ways. Then…

…I found that I too had cut people off. Many friends, old and new, over my entire life.


I saw how rude I was to others. How I didn’t communicate. I just bailed. 8th grade, 9th grade, high school, college, and all through my twenties with friends and girlfriends.


I saw how scared I was to confront the real issue with friends, how scared of conflict.



…I saw the divinity in all of it and how it really served me, and them. I saw the value of cutting people out of my own life so that I could go to the next level. 


Pow!!…I finally got to a place of appreciating myself for leaving friendships that no longer served, which then allowed me to love my friend who had cut me off.


Once I “got it” I popped and had tears of gratitude streaming down my face.


I could finally thank this guy for cutting me off.


He was helping me clear out some old guilt and shame I was carrying around.


So, if you are on the receiving end of a relational cut off, consider that the cut off is happening to you and for you.


It’s your life.


Mine the gold in there.


There is a lesson for you that is about you.


Milk it. Get it.


Your goal is to get to loving the person that cut you off.


If you choose to stay stuck in blaming them or carrying hurt or resentment toward them, your missing the boat that is setting sail for a more empowered life.


So, I’m pretty sure you can meet this one.


You’ve got a warrior somewhere inside that can, and will, meet it, should you choose to say YES to a more fulfilling life with more fulfilling, nurturing relationships.




Want more on how to clear this? Click the button below or sign up for my next course, where I will teach you how to get complete with any cut off in your life.




photo by Zechariah Judy. & Katelyn Kenderdine


  • Robert Roberts

    Reply Reply June 9, 2016

    This was an interesting perspective, but doesn’t help those of us who have been cut out without cause. I used to be friends with a person who I was once so tight with that we could almost read each others thoughts. Over the course of time, that changed to the point where I was all but shunned openly on front of peers. It took another friend to point it out and ask me what was going on. I had no answer, so I approached my friend and asked how things were, what was going on, are you alright, etc.I got a stone cold dismissal for my trouble, and a matching emails to boot. I gave space, left the door open to a possible clearing of the air. My overtures were not well received and did not pan out for the better. I was hurt bad by this. For those of you going through this, I can only offer you this advice: Rather than sit around blaming yourself or questioning what you did our could have done differently to prevent this, I would encourage you to stop. Loss is a natural part of life, as it does when it comes to aging, your career, your material things and yes, with people too. Odds can be very high that you did not do anything to make it happen. Friendship has nothing to do with what you do for others, what you say or how you behave. It is all about how you make others feel, and you cannot compensate for how someone feels about you in a genuine way if you have to be anything other than yourself to achieve it. It feels like a loss as if I experienced a death, but like any other great loss you experience, it will hurt and continue to hurt, but it will hurt less every day and you will endure it when you accept it.

    • Lochlainn

      Reply Reply June 30, 2016

      Hey, I’m sorry that happened to you, but there definitely was a cause/reason that happened to you. You might not have caused the relationship to fail purposefully or knowingly, but it seems something had to. You sound like a nice person, so I feel like the trouble might’ve been on their end. Believe me I’ve experienced the same exact thing and I came to realize it was a mixture of envy, stress and irresponsibility on their part. However, hopefully you can learn to forgive their actions so you can move on and fully heal. You’ll feel so much better in the long run.


    • Jayson

      Reply Reply July 1, 2016

      Robert, it doesn’t matter the cause. YOu may never find it. If you keep looking for the “cause” you won’t find peace in you. There’s a clear path to burn through this. Your advice for others is slow. Your basically saying to just give it time. You could do that, or you could just get the job done and clear the issue and even be grateful for it happening. But you gotta do the work to get there.

      • Ali

        Reply Reply September 7, 2016

        People who cut you off, generally have felt that you have been insupportive, they are and have been through a tougher time than you and can just about function, they have hit rock bottom, so the other person can’t relate until it happens to them.So they need a support system that helps them.Real friends stick by someone less fortunate,but self centred ego maniacs don’t.

      • Maya

        Reply Reply June 8, 2019

        Dear Jayson,
        You say to robert that cause doesn’t matter but even you in your article attempt to understand or explain your friend’s behavior. I think the reality is that the human brain seeks to understand and while understanding the reason why something happened isn’t necessary to healing, acknowledging that one has a wound around wanting to understand and not being able to fully understand in the absence of the other person’s input. I think there is truth in both what you and Robert say. It’s true that with time and distance from the situation the nervous system can settle, the charge may dissipate, and one may situation in a different light that bring some healing. And, as you say time alone only postpones doing the work of looking at one’s own pain and doing the internal work of meeting oneself with curiosity, compassion, and inquiry so that one may meet oneself fully and give oneself exactly what one needs, beyond what the other person is not able to give, to heal. And, yes. Usually when we work with a wound to completion we are left with acceptance, gratitude, and forgiveness.

  • Scott

    Reply Reply July 1, 2016

    These words were very soothing and helpful to me in a time of deep pain. Thank you!

  • Protective

    Reply Reply May 12, 2017

    Bear in mind that sometimes a person cuts you off for protection.

    I had been distancing myself from one friend for ten years, unbeknownst to him. I had seen him only once, but he called to drone on and on periodically. He started becoming annoying, and I asked him to stop talking about that topic. He wouldn’t. Finally, he exploded at me. Then he left a negative message about an employee of mine that she could have heard, but I was fortunately able to delete it before she did.

    He kept calling, and I finally picked up the phone,and told him that I was very upset with his temper explosion and with the message he had left. He told me that he didn’t remember what he said, because he had been drinking for pain management purposes.

    I told my employee not to talk about work with him, and warned her that anything she said about her personal life would come back to me as well.

    I cut him off.

    He now claims to have stopped drinking, is still calling my employee to get info, and is still a gossip. I need to protect myself and my business, so I’m keeping him out of my life.

  • Marla

    Reply Reply November 3, 2017

    I had a friendship wit her a girl for about 7 years
    I loved her dearly, we were both overweight and then I started loosing it instead of being happy for me she became envious rude and mean
    I tried to cope with it trying to motivate her to lose weight she was also very ignorant school as she had a street life that didn’t matter to me I’m s very talented I can sing I can draw and very outgoing. Anyhow i got fed up with her negativity and so I ghosted on her it hurt me so much to do so but FOR MY well being I decided to let her go.. she unsuccessfully tried contacting me… 8 months later I heard by mutual friends that she was saying I was HIV POSITIVE and that why I had lost so much weight… clearly she was hurt I ghosted on her but it just goes to show and made me love my decision. Moral of the story never feel bad for doing what good for you..some people are just toxic carry on without them 🙂

  • Vika Korotayeva

    Reply Reply April 15, 2018

    The worst shit about not hearing back is not even WHY the person has cut you off but WHETHER they’ve actually done it at all. Because, sometimes, silence means that the text was not even RECEIVED… So many people have just disappeared, that I can trust only my damn pillow… Am so exhausted and numb after it all, that I take “ages” to reply, because I don’t want to get too attached to someone again and to experience that pain again… Actually, my wounds keep bleeding, and I don’t know whether they’ll ever stop… For all the damned ghosters, I wish to know how it feels to not even know whether you’re actually ghosted on… But I don’t wish anyone pain… I wish people to know it gently: to imagine, to see a film, to read a book, to hear a story… If you never hear from me, it doesn’t mean I ghost, but rather that am not sure whether YOU don’t… Because I don’t want to be mistakenly taken as a chaser/stalker… I worry whether people receive my texts to them, but am afraid to just send them 2nd texts and even to open their timelines, because I don’t know who of them actually ghost… But, to those who don’t, I thus risk to seem indifferent or a ghoster myself… It sucks…

  • Matthew

    Reply Reply September 6, 2020

    Sorry to be a critic here (actually, not really sorry), but this screams of narcissistic behavior. Ok, so the cutoffs happened…but did you ever notice how you were writing? You go over how scared of conflict you were ok..but then you say you appreciated YOURSELF for leaving friendships that no longer served (YOU). YOU couldn’t deal with someone rejecting YOU. You missed the lesson entirely. That OTHER people are just as valuable as you. YOU made YOU important at the expense of OTHER good people. YOU did this so that YOU could get to the next level. That is the epitome of selfishness. Besides this, in most cases, your bond with another person has nothing to do with your “next level.” What you’ll find if you reach the “top level” is that it is mighty lonely. You felt guilt because you know what you did was wrong. Humans need love and acceptance, it is a fundamental need of human life, and your friends gave you their trust, and you betrayed it. THAT’s the lesson you need to have learned. Still, my post worries me, because if you truly are a narcissist, I don’t think you’ll even take my critique seriously.

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