How to end a toxic friendship

This lesson supports students in taking the next step, if necessary, to end a toxic friendship. It can work as a follow-up activity to the ReachOut Schools lesson When friends aren’t friendly, which helps students to identify when a friendship might be toxic and the strategies they can use for dealing with various situations.

Year Level



5 minutes


  • In class activity

SEL Competencies

  • Relationship skills

Learning Intention

Students learn different strategies they could use if they are thinking about ending a toxic friendship.

Key Outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify and categorise strategies they might use for ending a toxic friendship, based on their personal preferences.
Activity 01

Instructions 5 min

  1. Students read the article 3 ways to end a toxic friendship.
  2. Students create a three-column PMI (Plus, Minus and Interesting) chart in their notebooks.
  3. In pairs, or individually, students write down which strategies they would use or think are useful in the ‘P’ column, any they wouldn’t use or wouldn’t find useful in the ‘M’ column, and any they think are interesting or that are new to them in the ‘I’ column.
  4. As a class, discuss the strategies suggested in the article. If comfortable, ask volunteers to discuss the following questions:
    • Which strategies do you think are effective or relevant, and have you ever tried any of these?
    • Which strategies would you feel uncomfortable using? If so, why?

Debrief: Ending a toxic friendship is never easy. It can be an emotional and difficult decision to make. It’s important for students to understand that if they, or a friend, needs extra support, they could speak with their school counsellor or engage in self-care activities. For more information, direct students to: