Friendships can be made in the most unlikely of places. Sometimes what you are first attracted to, may not always be the real person. Unfortunately when you create friendships with people, you may sometimes get “stuck” with toxic friends.
The thing is you don’t need to have any negativity in your life and you should not feel obliged to be friends with those who do not truly care about you.
So you ask, how do I identify toxic friends and what are the steps to kindly get out of such harmful friendships.
How to spot a toxic friend
During my 20’s I could never distinguish between the two: healthy and toxic. I was blissfully unaware of such a thing being in existence. It is only when you get ‘burnt’ that you take the time to reflect and examine how such ‘toxicity’ came to be in your life. I believe that so many of you reading this have put up with toxic friendships because you do not know how to identify toxic friendships, let alone how to deal with them. Here are a few insights to enable you to identify being part of a “toxic” relationship.
- A toxic friend, if you have wronged them in anyway, will never forget and more so will hold a grudge. They are resentful and it will show up if you have made a mistake, as like a dog with a bone they will never let it drop.
- When you approach a toxic friend for advice they will be way too critical of you. Their advice will come across as more critical than helpful and they may even choose to give you their advice in front of others, to make you feel less, ultimately embarrassing you.
- A lack of empathy for you and being judgmental are real ‘warning’ signs. If you share your day with them and express your feelings, they will act mean towards you and act as if they do not care about you. When you make a decision and share it with them, they will make you feel bad for it, every time.
Let go of a toxic friend – it is in your best interest
I remember having to do exactly this. It made me feel very sad, as I did not want to give up on a friendship, especially one where we had been through so much. Also, it is not in my nature to give up on anything, so I found it tough to do so. However, toxic friends have no place in your life and you have to learn to let them go! I did, and in turn I was able to focus on the friendships that were encouraging my growth and lifting me up to achieve. Strengthening friendships and relationships that matter, whilst letting go of toxic ones will add a positive spin to your life. I encourage you to ‘step out’ and make those positive changes.
How to ‘let go’ and walk away
This can be easier said than done. I have noticed that the way in which this will happen will be very individual. You can try and slowly move away, by telling the toxic friend concerned that you are busy. In doing so, you will not be hanging out with the ‘toxicity’ for long periods at a time and in turn will be looking after yourself (along with your sanity). Slowly removing yourself from the ‘toxic’ situation, in this manner, can be kindest way. However, you can choose to be more direct and communicate to the toxic friend why you cannot be friends. I personally cannot be as harsh as this, it’s not in my nature but it may be what you need to feel at ease and quickly remove yourself from such draining friendships.
At the same time as removing those who are toxic, it would be a good idea to spend more time with the friends who love to build you up, who are sincere and who really do care about you. Care about yourself a bit more, spend time thinking of affirmations to help you to grow and believe in yourself more. Become a better friend to yourself and learn to dismiss any negative words your toxic friend(s) has said to you, as what they have said reflects more on them than it does on you. Say the mantra “You are perfect in every way” as often as possible until you personally begin to believe it yourself. Upmost, remember to shield yourself with positivity.
Always consider your needs
You do not owe anyone anything in this life or an explanation for what you decide to do and when. What you do need to do in your life is to look out for yourself and keep yourself ‘balanced’ and well when dealing with ‘toxicity’. You do not have to accept anything less, than the best. You are worthy of this, so please make a choice to always surround yourself with those who deserve your love and friendship. Never let a toxic friendship take over your life. Choose, sooner rather than later, to remove yourself in the best possible way for you; as this will be better for you in the long run.