Breaking up with a significant other and ending a romantic relationship is a form of heartbreak that is covered by the mass: we have movies that depict the kind of situation and songs that tell of the pain. Yet there’s another kind of end to a relationship that is less covered and equally as agonizing — the end of a friendship.
You’ve most definitely heard of toxic romantic relationships, but toxic friendships are often overlooked. We tell ourselves that it’s just a part of life, that sometimes friends hurt us and sometimes we fight. We find ourselves forgiving these people, despite the consistent pain that they put us under.
Toxicity is common within friends. A toxic friend feeds off of your hurt. They leave you out intentionally or create group chats without you. They’ll constantly make you feel bad about yourself and make you believe that you are the one who’s in the wrong. They utterly lack empathy and don’t care whether or not you are hurting, nor will they ask if you’re okay. Typically, they love drama and will generate it at any given moment. They are pretty self-centered and only care about their own problems, never asking or listening to you about your own.
When a friend is causing you more stress than happiness, more harm than good, then they are not worth it. Friends are the people in your life who are supposed to be there for you and help you through this crazy, mixed-up world and if someone is doing the exact opposite, you need to walk away.
The first step to letting these people go is to confront them for the last time. Try and discuss the situation with them. Generate conversation to see if there is an underlying problem that could be helped. If this person is still displaying toxic behaviors, you’ll know that you’ve done everything you can to make it work and that this person is just someone who is never going to change their ways.
And the only thing left to do is to let them go.
It’s not easy. In fact, it’s nearly the furthest thing from it. It can alter your entire life, whether it be changing the dynamics within your friend group or distancing yourself from this toxic person. A lot of the times, the task of detaching yourself from a toxic friend seems so complex that we give up and forgive them.
Don’t. As hard as it is, it will get easier. While one door closes, another one will open. You may find yourself open to new people and opportunities that you had never had when you were caught up with your old friend. You’ll have time to learn to love yourself more, because once you start to love yourself, you’ll be able to more clearly differentiate between toxic and healthy treatment.
Some friends aren’t forever. And that’s okay. They come into your life, teach you lessons, provide memories and leave. You are better of without that pain in your life. Know that not every person that comes into your life is going to be this way. You’ll find people who are undyingly loving, supporting and kind, who will be there for the rest of your lives. They will fill the void of what your toxic friend will never be able to be.
Photo: Roberto Nickson