I honestly believe that loosing a friendship can be just as heartbreaking as a romantic relationship, sometimes even more heartbreaking. Your friends know everything about you, you talk to them about all your troubles, you have weird inside jokes and ultimately, you have a great time together. But what happens when that friendship becomes more mentally exhausting than it does fun? It’s time to move on. It might seem selfish to some to pack in a friendship when the going gets tough, but I’m a huge believer in ‘if something is truly worth it, it won’t destroy your happiness in the process’.
You may think of a toxic friendship as being similar to a toxic relationship, but that isn’t always the case. Toxic friendships can include: you always having to help your friend with their problems while they never help you back, they never reach out to you even though you always reach out to them, they are forever cancelling your plans together (not just once or twice, I mean cancelling more than they actually meet up with you), you feel like you are always walking on eggshells with them, the stress of the friendship is negatively affecting you and they are super self-centred. More severe cases of toxic friendships can include: they are bullying you, they are over critical of you, they purposely exclude you and/or they steal from you. Not all friendships that end are toxic though, there is a huge difference! Some friendships just naturally come to an end and you drift apart.
I’ve found it hard in the past let go and heal from a few toxic friendships, I’m usually the more sensitive one in the scenario so I end up getting the most hurt from the fall out. So I thought I’d write some self help tips on how to leave a toxic friendship and begin heal from it.
Try and talk to your friend about how you feel:
This isn’t always easy as some people don’t respond well to criticism, especially when you are explaining to them about their part in the downfall on your friendship. It’s best to keep a level head though, don’t come across too aggressive as it can get people’s backs up and start another argument, just explain how you feel and it might actually make you feel like a weight has been lifted.
You and your friend have spoken and have agreed to give it another shot, great! Sometimes people just need a metaphorical kick up the arse to get their priorities in check. Start a fresh with the friendship, take it slow and don’t bring up the past.
Still not working out? Time to create some distance:
This is a hard one, you’ve talked to your friend and they still aren’t sorting their shit out so it’s time to put some distance between you two. It’s easy to get sucked back in to the Best Friend bubble when you meet up face to face, so start distancing yourself from them in person then slowly phase the friendship out online too.
Phase out communication online:
In my case it was easy to phase out some friends online as they basically ignored me online anyway, but for others I can understand it’s a tough one. Just slowly stop liking, commenting on all their posts and stop tagging them in posts too. Keep it civil if they initiate communication, especially in a group situation. I found it easier in the past to just unfollow them, out of sight.. out of mind.
It’s okay to be sad:
Loosing anyone from your life sucks, but just like with relationships, when the storm is over you will see the sun again. Cry it out, buy loads of tubs of Ben & Jerry’s, have some relaxing bubble baths and watch films until you get sick of them, self care is important.
Surround yourself with friends:
One good thing of getting rid of a bad friendship is having time to grow your existing good friendships. Meet up with them, go on adventures, make some happy memories. Confide in your trustworthy friends and ask for help if you are struggling, I good support network will make this easier.
Learn from this situation:
Everything we go through in life is a learning curve, we go through hard times so we learn and grow. I know I learnt a lot from my situations and I think it showed me what a true friendship really is. It’s best to see the positive in this situation, it will also teach you to make healthier choices in the future when it comes to your peers.
I really hope these tips helped someone, I wish I had this advice when I was going through a similar situation. In the end, I’ve learned that you have to do what is best for you, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says.. if you are unhappy you have to help yourself.