How to end a friendship?

I have a friend that I don’t enjoy spending time with. I’ve been doing the models, stuff around the manual, unconditional love etc. and am now able to feel love, acceptance and compassion for them (and myself), but I still don’t actually want to hang out with them!

I’ve tried not responding at all/ delaying responses/ making polite excuses, but this person continues to want to spend time with me. I’m at the point where I’m wondering whether to just say “Sorry, but I don’t really want to spend time with you”. That feels so harsh and I’d prefer to not hurt them, but it feels dishonest to keep making excuses and I don’t feel good about ignoring them.

Previously I could just see them at group events which felt like less of an investment of my time/energy, but with social distancing, that’s not an option and one-on-one time feels like it takes up more time than I want to spend on this ‘friendship’.

I’ve realized this is part of a bigger theme for me around people-pleasing, time management and prioritising my own needs – some things that I’m getting much better at honouring. But this friendship continues to test me! We’ve been friends for around 4 years through a mutual friend and I was never drawn to becoming closer to them, but when they lost their parents in an accident they turned to me as I had been through something similar. Looking back I ignored my boundaries (and misgivings) at that time, but now don’t know how to make it right (i.e. honor myself now in a relationship that was formed through some dishonesty on my part).

They message on average once per week suggesting meeting up and I’m running out of ideas!

PS We are both still friends with the mutual friend and I’d like to keep her in my life.