Queen Britney knew when her relationship was toxic…but still she went back for more. I’m sure it’s the same for all of us at some stage or another. The toxic relationships I’m talking about today is friendship, but I’m sure many aspects of this will apply to family or a partner.
I’m very fortunate to have some wonderful friends – true ones who stick by me through everything, tell me when I’m being a daft cow, make me laugh til I cry and tell me how beautiful they think I am even when I look shit. Those incredible, special few – I love you!
Believe it or not, the majority of those friends I only made within the last few years. I have no close ties to anyone I went to school or uni with (bar KJ, but she’s my wife so it’s a life long thing now!).
It can be incredibly difficult to maintain relationships with people as we focus on careers and raising families and over time those friendships will wither away if we don’t nurture them. I’m calling it like it is here and saying not all friendships should take priority and it’s ok to allow this to happen sometimes.
By the time we reach adulthood we all carry a certain amount of baggage with us and we all deal with that in different ways. Most of us have our friends to be a listening ear, a bit of an emotional support but we also know where to draw the line from constantly making it about ourselves and take, take, taking. Sadly some people aren’t able to manage their baggage and take it out on those closest to them. Not always on purpose, but doing so none the less.
Having a toxic friend is emotionally and physically draining, rather than the normal sense of joy that spending time with a pal brings. They may mistreat you in a variety of ways from the subtle backhanded compliment, to the outright nasty comments diminishing your life and achievements. They may isolate you from other friendships to ensure you are there for their needs.
Conversations with these types of friends are usually very one sided and it tends to be you doing favours with little return or concern for your life. Sound a lot like an emotionally abusive relationship? Yip, your friend is just like that piece of trash boyfriend you would tell anyone else to dump!
It’s hard to walk away from these toxic friendships. Usually nothing explicitly ‘bad’ has taken place, no huge fall out. Just the incessant grinding down of your soul with each and every interaction. It’s important that once you recognise the toxicity of your friendship with this person that you do cut ties. You could try and talk it out first, give them a chance to redeem themselves but usually that just drags out the inevitable. Trust me I have been through the same cycle with one such friend 4 or 5 times over the course of nearly a decade. I am an eternal optimist and always hope that they will change and things will improve but in this specific instance they never have.
The pleasant outcome of clearing out these toxic friends is that you suddenly find yourself with more time, energy and love for the friends who do want to be there for you. (Yes I’m aware there is a tiny bit of a Friends pun in there, No I’m not sorry!)