- Comments from Bri, Jessica and Emilie
What makes you hold on to a toxic friendship?
For me, friendships are like a string that connects me to the world and lets me feel comfort and happiness, while I give a part of myself over to someone as well. I could never easily let someone who had been a part of my life leave me. The attachments I would make to others would be so strong and would hurt me so deeply if I let them go. This is where the trouble would begin…
Whenever I would see a “red flag” or hear others close to me warn me about my toxic friend, I automatically responded with either…
- A defense for my toxic friend saying that since he/she is my friend, that person would never do anything to hurt me.
- An internal battle within myself thinking that if the friend was toxic, as long as he/she stayed with me for even just a moment, then I could put up with the poison. I convinced myself that my attachment to others was so important that it would allow their toxicity to stay in my life just so they wouldn’t leave me.
I was so afraid of losing someone who I had spent time on, made many memories with, and with whom I had shared my life stories. That person had touched my life, so how could I let them leave me? These are the thoughts that kept me from holding on.
Of course, toxic friendships should be let go of, and we shouldn’t defend them in any way, but this is one of those cases of “easier said than done.” Getting rid of a friend who is toxic and causing pain to you is not simple, but after you have let go and time goes on, you will see how much better and productive your life is without that person. You come to see the extent of their poison and how your life had taken a turn for the worse when you were in that “friendship.” At least, that’s what had happened to me.
How did toxic friendships affect your life?
When I was in my toxic friendships, I didn’t realize how their actions and words truly affected me. I didn’t realize how rude, harmful, and damaging they were either. But, I do admit that looking back on it now, I did see that something was not right in the way they behaved towards me. But like I mentioned, I defended the “friends” and it didn’t click in my mind that they were toxic. So, before I realized that they were not true friends, I had been scarred by them and my thought processes actually changed. These “friendships” did affect me, and not in any positive way.
I began to dedicate all of my time and resources on them whenever they would message me. I was afraid they wouldn’t like me if I stopped acting so kindly, so I thought I had no choice but to be their “servant.” And when I did deny them of a favour for the first time, I was confronted with swears and blame that I suddenly changed, didn’t care about them, and that I should just stop talking to them if I couldn’t help them with even “just one small favour.” And guess what, I apologised to them and “admitted” to my mistakes asking for forgiveness. I began to feel pressure to act and speak in a certain way, and so even now, I have a hard time denying others for fear that I will be “in the wrong” and be blamed.
How do you recognise a toxic relationship?
Usually, I just do the blocking and removing them from my circle of friends. But sometimes it doesn’t work out well. The best way to establish how to know that your friendship might not be healthy is to be honest with yourself about how you feel when you’re with that person. How do you feel when you hang out with them?
Do you feel like all of the energy and time you spend time with them makes you feel good about yourself?
Toxic friendships are bad for our mental health and wellbeing. If that makes you feel like you can’t improve the relationship with your “friends”, you should think about letting it go of them
Normally toxic friends wouldn’t want to bother about what you are saying or they just keep saying that you are doing something wrong and they end up ”blaming” you for something that you haven’t done.
What’s one of the most difficult things about ending a Toxic Relationship?
It can be difficulty but you need to accept that the friendship is unhealthy, and being with that certain person makes you uncomfortable and unhappy.
Nobody wants to lose a friend either a real friend or a toxic friend. At the end of the day, there will always be other people who will come at the right time to be friends with you. You can meet toxic people in all walks of life in romantic situations , at work, and in friendships. Toxic friends are energetically draining, hypocritical, and not worth your time. But it can sometimes be difficult to pick up on the fact they are causing damage. There are signs that your friendship is toxic.
Wanting to cut ties with people doesn’t make you a bad person or a cold person. I’ve been told that I’m cold or I’m boring and I make everything from really fun to really uninteresting. Removing yourself doesn’t make you wrong in that situation. Do what you think is best for yourself and your mental health.
What is your definition of a toxic friendship and how do you know when a friendship is becoming toxic? What are some red flags?
To me, a friendship is positive and makes you feel good. It’s two people building each other up, not dragging each other down. The moment it starts making you feel bad often or consistently, it becomes toxic. As simple as that. If it makes me a worse person, if it makes me want to be mean towards the friend, if it’s invading my mind constantly with negative thoughts or if it makes me feel bad about myself, then to me, it’s toxic.
In addition to that, if you’re keeping counts, it’s not a good friendship. Except for maybe money debts, there’s no debt in friendship. You don’t count how many times you helped a friend and how big the help was, versus how many times they helped you. You just help and help and help when needed, and they do the same. No questions asked. No grudges held. No tabs kept. I think the moment you start holding grudges, feeling resentful or feeling guilty or sad, it starts being toxic.
How do you deal with a toxic friend or friendship?
Life’s too short for toxicity and I’m not someone who needs to have many friends around. So if there’s someone bringing negativity in my life, they can just go, because I definitely don’t need them. If it’s someone I’ve been friends with for a long time, it’s a bit more complicated though. First, I’m going to question myself as to what changed in the friendship and why it’s not like before. Then, I will try to change things and see if I can make the friendship healthy again. I don’t have many friends, but I love the ones I have and I’ll always try my best to keep them. However, if I tried to fix things and nothing worked, well I’m sorry, but that friend will have to go, because no one and nothing is worth more than my well-being and I refuse to make myself miserable over anyone else.
Jessica: Everyone is human. Everyone has different issues with different types of people and some people make you feel bad others make you feel better about yourself. The world is currently changing and is growing to be a different thing from the past. You’re past friends and future friends will still be there for you at the right time. Take time to understand yourself and that relationship. Be honest to yourself and the past will be the past. You’ll forget it eventually. Be positive about the future.
Emilie: No amount of “friendship debt”, good memories, guilt or past love could make me keep a toxic friend around. It took me a long time to get there, but I finally have enough self-love and self-worth to realise these things and stand my ground, and that’s more than a little victory to me.
Bri: Toxic friendships, and even any toxic relationships for that matter, can change you. Holding on just for your own comfort is not what you need either. Coming to terms with the signs of toxicity and your own feelings and changes are crucial. I hope that by reading stories like these, you also find strength to leave what is bad for you.