Why It’s Important To Let Go Of Toxic Friendships
Written by O.Hadgie, who believes that a bad experience eventually becomes a good story and that everything is a chance to learn and grow.
4 min read
Friends make our lives richer — at least that's what we all hope for. So, when we have a friendship, especially one we appreciate deeply, the last thing we want to do is let go of it. And there’s a million reasons for that:
We might be scared of being alone.
Or not want to sever the emotional bonds.
Or not want to discard the history we’ve carefully constructed together.
Letting go of a friendship can be seriously tough.
But, if the friendship has become toxic, then maybe we need to…
SIGNS OF A TOXIC FRIENDSHIP
There are plenty of signs that a friendship has become toxic. Here’s just a few:
- Everything’s a drama.
- It’s always all about them, and the conversation feels one-sided.
- They’re jealous of you or try to compete against you.
- They don’t respect your boundaries.
- They dismiss your values.
RECOGNISING WHEN A FRIENDSHIP HAS BECOME TOXIC
When we care about someone, we often don’t want to acknowledge that sometimes that care is pretty one-sided or that the friendship is doing us more harm than good. As someone who’s had their fair share of toxic friendships, from messy cliques to people who care a lot more about themselves than me, I understand how confusing it is — and how easy it is to fall prey to toxic friendships.
- People don’t start off waving their red flags in your face.
- Instead, those red flags pop up slowly over time.
- At first, the red flags are easy to ignore. So what if they yelled at a service worker over nothing – you still know they’re a good person, right? However, these things build up over time.
‘We accept the love we think we deserve’
— Perks of Being a Wallflower
HOW TO GET OUT OF A TOXIC FRIENDSHIP
If we allow ourselves to stay in toxic friendships, we are implicitly telling ourselves that it is okay for us to be treated badly. We’re telling ourselves that it’s okay to accept actions that are directly hurting us.
And yet, sometimes, we don’t want to let go of toxic people.
Because we’re human…
- We always have some hope they can change for the better, possibly with our help.
- We want to believe that if we ignore our own needs and dedicate ourselves to making our loved ones the best versions of themselves, it will somehow fix the friendship. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen.
I know this is a rough pill to swallow but it’s true.
A toxic friendship can’t be fixed by you alone
If you’re dealing with a friend who doesn’t want to fix their poor cycles of behaviour or who seems intent on being rude or disrespectful, the only thing you’re doing by sticking with them is dragging yourself down too.
- While it’s never a bad thing to want to help and support your friends, that is the only thing you can do.
- If it gets to a point where you feel directly responsible for how they feel and interactions leave you guilty and stressed, then you need to take a step back.
What will be will be
Alright, I know what you’re thinking.
Your brain has already told you everything you’ve read here. Logically, you know your toxic friendship isn’t good for you. But that doesn’t stop the niggling voice in your head telling you this friendship is as good as it gets. It doesn’t stop the bone-deep fear that if you quit this toxic friendship, you’ll be alone and you’ll keep being alone.
And that is terrifying. But it’s also not true.
People come in and out of your life. That’s how living on this floating rock works. Sometimes it’s violent and cacophonous, the explosion of a volcano razing the land. Sometimes it’s more like the tide, drifting slowly apart. However, what matters is the afterwards.
Like how flowers and greenery blossom from volcanic rock, and how drifting coconuts ended up in the West Indies from Asia, the best things can come from change. There are always people waiting out there, ready to love you for exactly who you are with the same enthusiasm you love them.
Sure, sometimes it might not work out.
You might fall right back into terrible patterns.
But you also might build some pretty beautiful relationships!
TRUST YOURSELF TO TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH
Even though it’s hard, find the courage to let go of your toxic friendships. Let go of what’s hurting you and give yourself the chance to find something — or someone — better.
‘It’s a leap of faith’
— Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
MEET A NEW FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE
Looking to make a new set of supportive, open-minded and fun friends? Then going on an NCS away from home experience could be just the thing. You’ll meet other young people from all walks of life, and make friends for life, so go ahead — grab your place today.