Q: What if you don’t want to be friends with someone but don’t want to hurt their feelings?
A: Ending friendships is difficult for both you and them. You can choose the direct approach by talking to them honestly, respecting their feelings, and setting new boundaries.
You can also choose an indirect approach by avoiding them and staying busy with other things.
Either way, make a clean break. Stay off their socials and avoid drama at all costs. You wanted to end the relationship, so don't make it awkward and linger around their life. You'll be better off in the long run.
Ending a friendship does not have to be hostile. Be honest and mature about it and be the bigger person if things start to go sideways.