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Therapist's 'Robotic' & 'Corporate' Method For Ending A Friendship Leaves People Slack-Jawed

Photo: @answeranxiety/TikTok; @PeteBlackburn/Twitter
Screenshots from Dr. Arianna Brandolini's TikTok with a tweet reaction overlaid

Friendships can be challenging to maintain—and even more challenging to end if they become toxic or simply run their course.

In today's culture, ghosting is the way most of us would probably choose to handle a friendship break-up, as unkind as it may be. It's certainly easier than trying to have a conversation!

Social media is full of advice on how to cut off toxic or distant friends.

RELATED: How To Know When It's Time To End A Friendship (& 4 Ways To Do So Appropriately)

But none of them have generated as much response as TikTok therapist Dr. Arianna Brandolini's approach to ending friendships.

Her account @answeringanxiety is full of helpful tips for managing anxiety, depression and lots of other mental health issues, but her method of breaking up with a friend?

That has left people utterly slack-jawed.

Brandolini's video showed her role-playing a friendship break-up with someone from whom she had grown distant.

In the video, titled "Here is how you break up with a friend," Brandolini tells a friend that while she's "treasured our season of friendship" she doesn't "have the capacity to invest in our friendship any longer."     

   

She goes on to say that while she understands this may be difficult for her friend, she's been "reevaluating many areas of my life recently including my ability to be a good friend to you." 

She finishes by saying she has chosen to be blunt and honest so that she doesn't "disappoint your expectations," and closes by telling her friend "I wish you all love and success."

RELATED: 30 Friendship Breakup Quotes To Help You Cope When Ending A Toxic Friendship

Most people felt Brandolini's friendship break-up method was cold and patronizing.

And they hated it right from her first line. As one TikToker put it, "Omg I would rather the friend try to gouge out my eyes than say season of friendship to me."

Another TikToker joked that Brandolini's video is punishment for all of us complaining about ghosting—we end up with people who say they "treasure our season of friendship... like a damn demon."

   

   

Others called Brandolini's speech "sterile and avoidant," and said they would be deeply hurt by a conversation like this. One user joked, "This hurt my feelings and it wasn’t even directed at me."

To others, Brandolini's speech felt more like it came from a robot.

One TikToker joked, "How to know your former friend is actually a replicant," while a Twitter user wrote, "I will admit 'pretend to be an AI chatbot' is a surprising...piece of advice [for] someone asking how to end a friendship."

But more than anything, it reminded people of the rehearsed, patronizing corporate HR speak one often hears when being fired or laid off.

One person quipped, "does the friend get a severance package and COBRA after?" while another cracked, "I too speak to my friends like an HR rep."

Others mocked Brandolini's video as a corporate-speak version of the Colin Farrell film "Banshees of Inisherin," which centers on a friendship break-up gone wrong.

Despite the blowback, Brandolini wasn't without her supporters, with a handful of people praising her approach as simply that of someone who understands boundaries.

RELATED: How To Get Over A Friendship Break Up

But even many therapists seem to feel Brandolini's approach was insensitive and way off-base.

A friend of this writer's who is a therapist didn't mince words when I asked her about the video, joking "that woman is encouraging sociopathy!"

Asked if other therapists she knew on social media were debating whether Brandolini's approach was off-base, she responded, "Oh there's no debate—there's consensus."

That may be why Brandolini posted a follow-up video addressing the uproar. In it, she explained she intended her approach to be used in cases where gentler attempts to part ways were ineffective.

   

   

But her follow-up left most people unconvinced. As one put it, "You can literally just say you were wrong."

Of course, even therapists are humans who make mistakes now and then.

And Brandolini's right about one thing—being up-front and honest is almost always a more mature and caring approach than simply ghosting.

But in this case? Well, as one Twitter user put it, "I've had good friends who completely ghosted me. Still hurts. But I'd rather that than whatever the hell this was."

RELATED: I Didn't Realize I Was A Toxic Friend... Until My Best Friend Ghosted Me

John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.

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