Towards the end of last year, I made a decision to review myself and my life as a whole and get rid of anything that wasn’t going to bring me positive vibes in 2018. I wanted to make this year about nurturing relationships, those being my relationship with money, the blog, self-care and friendships, to name a few. Mainly, getting rid of a toxic friendship in my life.
I don’t think there’s one person who can say they’ve never had to deal with a toxic friendship. I mean, we were all teenagers, right? That was a total minefield for toxic-crapiness! And yet, I think that if you have a similar personality to myself, it’s harder to recognise in our older age. Sure, if it was a love interest/ toxic relationship, we would be dumping them faster than you can say ‘see you never!’ But recognising this behaviour in friends? Not so easy.
I have an amazing friend who has a great ‘no fuck’s given’ to what people think about her. I stand in awe of how she does it and literally doesn’t blink an eyelid at anything. Imagine my shock when she revealed she wasn’t always like this and it took time to train her brain to start thinking this way (read her version of this post here.) And I decided I wanted to do the same.
Fresh new starts
Last year was a catalyst to switching my brain over. No longer really caring or being able to put any effort into what this person thought about me, I decided that enough is enough and dare I say it… I didn’t want to be their friend anymore. I’m such a people-pleaser and I really just didn’t care about pleasing this person anymore. It wasn’t because this person was a psychotic bitch that completely destroyed my life, etc, etc. Quite simply, our friendship should have ended a long time ago and we had tried to keep it going longer than we should have.
Part of the reason for me to write this post is for cathartic reasons, to get everything off my chest. Another part was that I wanted to help anyone who felt as lost and confused as I did when I was in this position way back when. Everyone needs that ‘ta-da’ moment, whether it be a comment or a song that just flicks a switch in their brain and they finally see the light. Mine was a podcast and realising from just listening to these list of warning signs. I remember thinking ‘holy shit. This is me.’ So whether you’re in my position reading this post or know of someone who you want to pass this post onto, I hope it gives the strength you need to stand up for yourself and put yourself first in the relationship.
How to recognise you’re in a toxic friendship
The relationship is not 50/50. In any relationship you have, there’s give and take. But what if you’re doing all the giving and your friend is just taking, taking, taking? Sometimes there’s a more dominant person who will naturally take charge but if the balance is not there, it’s going to take its toll. Are you constantly texting them first? Are you always making the plans? Do you feel like you’re putting 110% into this friendship and they’re only putting in 10%? Toxic friendship warning sign numero uno right there pal.
You feel like you’re competing for their love and affection. In a massive group, there will always be a pairing that’s much tighter than the others. You’ll always gravitate to hanging out with someone more, chatting with them longer, etc. But what if that friend makes you constantly feel like you’re in a battle to get their attention from someone else? Are your plans are being cancelled for them to hang out with someone else? Or they plan something and don’t think to invite you? I feel your pain. A true friend will never make you feel like you’re second best to anyone else, period.
Goodbye toxic friendship!
You feel like shit every time you hang out with them. This is the trait that should sound alarm-bells immediately. Do you dread having to hang out with this person because you know they’re going to say something or give you a look that is going to make you feel small for the rest of the day? Get the hell out of there! Tough love can be helpful in times of real crisis but sometimes when that person says something that sounds quite mean and dickish; it’s cause they’re being mean and a dick. Remember that very famous monologue by Cady from Mean Girls? ‘Same with Gretchen. The meaner Regina was to her, the more Gretchen tried to win Regina back.’ If you feel like you’re stuck in this cycle, get out of there now!
They can’t be your cheerleader in times of happiness. When someone tells me something amazing that’s happened in their life, all I wanna do is jump up and down screaming with joy and pride. If you’ve got someone in your life who, when you tell them about your recent promotion, can only muster a very unenthusiastic ‘Oh yay. I’m so happy for you.’ A- they are not happy for you. B- they are not your friend. Sure, there are times we can be jealous of something that our friend has achieved, but that shouldn’t stop you from being happy for them. It often means what every you’ve achieved they’re lacking in their life and if all they can do is sit in their mope, then no. I’ve got no time for you anymore.
Their problems are so much more important than yours. When we go into crisis mode over something, it can consume your life. We’ve all been there and sometimes you need to send the signal to your friends to gather supplies and help you out. But what if when you ask for this only to be met with having to problem solve their latest drama in their life? We all have shit going on, but if someone can’t put their’s to one side to help you out, or is constantly bringing the focus back to them, they’re not invested in your wellbeing. So why should you be invested in theirs?
‘Friendships are not destinations. Sometimes your life weaves in and out of them. You may go back, you may not. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t once a meaningful friendship to you’
A very wise peacock.