You think your friends would never hurt you. That your friends would always have your back no matter what. While many of us do have those friends, there are times when we encounter fake and toxic friends who don’t have the best intentions for us. Hell, I was a toxic friend. Yeah, that’s right, me.
I was selfish, jealous, and, honestly, just a bad friend. However, I would treat other toxic people around me with the love and kindness my other friends deserved. But why am I talking about this? While I focus mainly on relationship writing, friendships are also important relationships aside from romantic ones.
Your friendships matter. Who you surround yourself with matters. It reflects who you are as a person. For myself, I didn’t have the self-worth and awareness to understand that I wasn’t a good person.
I sought validation and an ego-boost wherever I went and used people at my expense. Of course, that said, I also had many toxic friends that I spent time with. Did I know they were bad for me? Of course. So why did I stick around?
Why It’s So Hard to End Toxic Friendships
In all my experience with relationship writing, it’s a question I get asked a lot. Why is it so hard to end a relationship that you know isn’t serving you? Why do we hold on to toxic friends? Well, there are a couple of reasons why.
- You have history together. You two have gone through years of ups and downs, tears, laughter. You know each other well, very well. It’s hard to let go of years of memories and first-time shared experiences.
- When they’re good, it’s great. When everything is going well for them, you have a great time together. But, that’s the thing, what goes up must come down. When things aren’t working out in their life, they take it out on you.
- You think you deserve how they treat you. You justify their actions, thinking that you actually deserve their toxic behavior. This is directly tied to your self-esteem and self-worth.
- You’re scared to be alone. This is your go-to person, someone you spent a lot of spare time with. If you end the relationship what’s going to happen to you? How will you spend your time?
- Ending the relationship feels like a failure. You invested time and energy into the relationship. Seeing it end can feel like all that work went to waste.
- You don’t want to lose your mutual friends. You two all hang out with the same people, and you’re scared if you end the relationship, things will change. People will choose sides and you won’t enjoy spending time all together with your friends.
How to Spot a Toxic Friend
Not sure if you have a toxic friendship? Here are the signs to look out for:
- They put you down, through obvious or subtle comments and insults.
- They gossip about you behind your back, spreading rumors and secrets about your personal life.
- They may say sorry, but it’s not genuine.
- You feel nervous around them, you’re worried about upsetting them over meaningless things.
- They compare you to other people, hinting that you’re less than the other person.
- They’re always the center of attention – always. If you get some spotlight, they’re quick to steal it away.
- You don’t enjoy spending time with them. It feels more like a chore.
- You don’t really trust your friend. You don’t believe they have your best interests in mind.
- You invest more into the friendship than what you receive.
- They don’t accept you for everything that you are. Instead, they tell you what you should do and how to live your life, but not in a supportive or encouraging manner.
- You don’t like who you are when you’re around them.
How to Let Go Of a Toxic Friend
Tired of hanging onto a toxic friendship? No one said you had to. Here are some ways to help you move on.
Accept that it’s okay to part ways: Not all friendships are meant to last and that’s okay. You’re growing, they’re growing and the friendship simply isn’t the same anymore.
Don’t wait around for an apology: If your friend is toxic, the odds are they’re not aware or aren’t going to admit their wrongdoing. While it would be amazing they came to you to express their feelings, that’s probably not going to happen. And that’s okay.
Get the support from your other friends: Remember your other friends? I know you do! Yes, you’re going through a break-up, but you also have a supportive group of friends and family by your side. If you’re struggling to move forward, consider relationship counselling to help you through this time.
Allow yourself to grieve the loss of your friendship: Your friendship is ending. You’re going to feel sad and upset – this is someone you shared your life with. Think of this as a break-up because that is what it is. Give yourself the space and time to grieve. Let out all your emotions so you can move on.