Toxic Friendships: When Enough is Enough, How to Move On and Feel Like Yourself Again

  • Does your friend contact you only when they have a problem?
  • If you have someone in your life who is a constant negative and only wants you for their own “punching bag,” try and stay clear from them.
  • Start doing things to fill the time you would have spent texting or calling them.

You can have a long-lasting friendship, one that has years of history built up, but when is it time to see that your friendship is crumbling, and has been for a while? It is easy and more comfortable to stick with someone who knows you inside and out, from high school on to adult life, but it gets harder when you examine every part of the friendship, looking at the give and take of it all and who gave more while the other took. It is hard, but it is also worth it, and essential, because you need to take care of yourself and just like you detox your body, maybe it’s time to detox your friend list.

I had a close friend, someone I put a lot of time and energy into. This friend knew everything about me, and I knew everything about them. Seven years is a long time to know someone and even then, do you really know them? Looking back, before our quick end, I had spent a lot of time fixing the problems they had, answering my phone and texting them constantly. I was the one who had to console and listen and be attentive. I could not let a text go unanswered and if I did, I was deemed a “bad friend.” That is how it ended. One night I did not respond, and I felt relieved. After things stopped, I could look back and see the toxicity in the friendship. Too much negativity and too much judgement. All I wanted was a friend I could have fun with, but it turned more into a person I HAD to take care of and that is exhausting.

So, here are some pointers. If you are or were in a toxic friendship these are some clues. This is all based on my own personal experience, but I feel they could help you too!

Does your friend:

  • contact you only when they have a problem?
  • need validation from you, but the validation you give is never enough?
  • talk negatively about your other friends or people in your life (this is used to get you to stop contact with the others)?
  • want you to believe everything they say, without any disagreements (meaning; does it seem like you cannot have your own mind)?
  • try and make you feel bad for enjoying your personal time (rather that be, with other friends or a romantic relationship) in order for you to be in a bad mood and unable to enjoy people around you?
  • use fake Facebook profiles after they delete their personal ones, just to stalk you, or others?
  • avoid complimenting you, but expects attention for their achievements?

These are just a few bullet points, and maybe you have not experienced these, but, if you have someone in your life who is a constant negative and only wants you for their own “punching bag,” try and stay clear from them. They are toxic and can ruin already good relationships you have with others. It almost did with me!

Now, believe me I understand that moving on is hard! You may have times when you want to reconnect, apologize and just get back to that comfortable state. But, do not do it! Let the day pass, the week go by, and soon it will be a month. In that time, you will see that you should not reconnect with them. You cannot bring yourself back to the bottom and you can only go up. Start doing things to fill the time you would have spent texting or calling them. Go to the gym, find healthy meals, reconnect with old friends you mistakenly ignored because your toxic friend took up all your time. Find something you enjoy. For me, that’s writing and crafting! For you, it could be anything you once loved but tossed it aside because you felt you could not do it. You can!

When the urge to contact them comes, remember how they treated you. Also, if they are not contacting you, they never really cared to begin with. You were just someone they could load their negativity on and now that you are gone, they will find someone else. Eventually, you’ll see that the friends you could not make time for were your real friends and they will pick up where you left off and welcome you with open arms. Eventually, the pain of an old friendship will heal with a new, more open one.

It was weird for me at first, seeing how different a new friendship could be. I was in a state of shock when I would get support and love from my new friends. I remember texting them that I was out on a date, splurging with my loved one and they said “Have fun! You deserve this!” At first, I was expecting what I got in my toxic relationship, a “lucky” followed by how lonely they are while I am having all this “fun.” The bad thing is, I expected this new friend to say that! This is not healthy and when they showed that they were genuinely excited for me, I could see that this new friendship was a healthier one. It is still difficult 100% relinquish yourself from toxicity, but it is worth it! Believe me, you do not want to continue a friendship if it makes you feel sad, annoyed, or unhappy in anyway. Letting them go is not only healthy for you, but it may be better for that friend since now they have time to grow and reflect (hoping they do).

Samantha Koegel

I am a twenty-nine year old college senior, fur mom, and lover of all things crafty!!! Writing is a passion of mine, but my career goals are to help others, by becoming a social worker!

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