Toxic Friendships

When it’s time to say goodbye…

Toxic friendships can be tough to deal with, and even recognise at times. Whether it’s the inability to connect on a level you once did, or perhaps you’ve merely grown apart and they treat you differently as a result. Recognising when people are taking more from you than they’re giving is a valuable skill.

However, at times it can be clear as day that things aren’t working out. And in those instances, it’s very similar to a romantic relationship in that you might be aware that this friendship is no longer serving you. But doing something about it can be the hardest part.

Each of our friendships serve a purpose, and we each desire a sense of connection with those around us. We may recognise those that centre us, that guide us, that make us laugh…and even someone that is capable of all that and more. But keeping around people in our lives that only serve as a drain on our resources: our energy, attention and time, can become incredibly draining over time.

Luckily, there are some helpful tips that aim to help in the decision around letting a friend go or sticking with them.

Female sitting on a swing, watching the sunset

Each engagement feels particularly one-sided.

Every relationship should be two-sided. Whether it be romantic, work-related, amicable or even familial. But if you notice yourself consistently forced into situations that you aren’t comfortable with, or always outing energy into maintaining the relationship, it might be time to consider moving on. Especially if you don’t feel that the other will put that same energy into you in a moment of personal hardship.

You no longer trust them.

As we all know – trust is massively important in relationships. If you lose it, it can be very difficult to get it back.

Clearly there are instances in which trust is more important, yet in friendships, it can be particularly devastating. Certain disloyalties such as cheating, lying and stealing can leave you feeling unsure of yourself or if you’ve done the right thing in the past. However, serious red flags shouldn’t be ignored, and it is worthwhile considering moving on from the friendship.

Your private life is no longer private.

This relates to the above point, but you feel that your friend is unable to keep a personal secret secret. It may be worthwhile to consider the impact that it had on you, and how likely you are to trust them with something as important in the future.

Immediately dismiss you and your concerns

Male upset with his head in his hands

It’s unrealistic to assume that every friendship is perfect all the time, but you should feel comfortable in being able to relate to your friend important or conflicting experiences. Especially if there is a problem you want to disclose. If you are constantly noticing your friends over-react or complain that you should deal with issues on your own, that should be a major red flag.

Instead focus on whether those close to you will hear out your opinions. Even if they don’t agree with them. People who can have a balanced opinion on what you’re saying and feeling, are worthwhile keeping around.

They make you feel worse, not better.

Ideally, when you’re with a friend, they’ll make all the difficulties feel less complicated. However, if you’re noticing that your friends are actually making you feel worse, it may be worth cutting ties.

If every time you’re with someone, you leave feeling awkward, uncomfortable or unhappy, it’s worth considering other factors. Namely, if you’re constantly being compared to others, and always come out worse, or they’re constantly making you aware of your flaws, these are the situations that require more reflection.

two fists touching

Recognising that people will come and go in your life is an important step in this process. Some will be in your life for a long time, others will be involved far shorter. Look for those that won’t look to push you down to pull themselves up. But look for those that support you and your growth and aim to inspire you to reach your full potential are vital. If someone makes you feel like you aren’t being your true self, it’s time to consider whether those people belong in your life at all.

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