I didn’t know what a true toxic friendship was like until this year. Sure, I had read about it in books. That one friend who turns on you or the one who hurts you, but you still stay friends with because you didn’t have anyone else. But I didn’t know what it actually felt like until this year when I found out what toxicity exactly is and why and how it can hurt so many.
A toxic friendship can infiltrate the mind and the heart.
It can make you do things you never thought you would do and think things you never thought you could think. Toxic friendships make you feel trapped- as if there’s no way out. There’s no more trust involved; it’s simply you giving and them getting. And there’s no end to it. Even when you know they’re talking about you behind your back, even when you can’t be yourself around them, even when you feel used, even when you don’t know why you’re friends with them in the first place, it feels like there’s no way to get out. But there actually is.
Five tips to get rid of toxicity
Will this person really help you in the future? If they’re hurting you now, will they stop hurting you later? Are they going to ever stop using you and become a genuine friend? In most toxic friendship cases, the answer will, unfortunately, be a hard ‘no.’ You have to not only face this person head on, but yourself. You need to remind yourself that toxicity will not help you in any way now, or in the future. Admitting to yourself that you are in a toxic friendship is the first step in letting go of one.
Stop caring about what others think.
Even if you know they’re going to talk about you even more behind your back if you cut them off, getting rid of that toxicity is more important. It’s either losing your integrity or having others gossip about you? You can take your pick, but in the end, will it really matter if other people gossiped about you for a couple days. Knowing you did the right thing and ended a toxic relationship will have a bigger effect on your life than a couple false things one person spread about you.
If the friendship isn’t working for you, you have the right to end it, like any relationship. Who you talk to and associate yourself with is your decision in the end because those are the people who are going to be there to support you when you need it. Those are the people you will have late night meaningful talks with and those are the people who will come to you when they need you. Those are the people you will love and talk to every day. Put your own needs of a proper, loving, fulfilling friendship before all else.
If you don’t want to cut them off completely, limit the friendship.
You don’t have to tell them everything going on in your life, especially if you know they’re just going to tell someone else what you tell them. If you feel uncomfortable straightforwardly ending it, like I did, just lean off of it.
Surround yourself with less toxic people and more positive, uplifting people.
You are who you surround yourself with. Instead of becoming friends with people who put you down and destroy your self-esteem, it is critical to avoid toxicity. Become friends with people who will truly love and support you for who you are. This might be hard and you could feel lonely at times. However, in the end, it will be worth the effort to make the right friends.
We all need to create space for more valuable people in our life who will reciprocate the same love and attention we give them. Everyone deserves better than a person who only has the ability to spread gossip and victimize themselves. They are not the true victims in a relationship like this; you are.