This is a hard question that surely many can relate to…how does one deal with a toxic friendship?
Friendships run deep and this is one of the reasons why it can be so hard to say goodbye to an old friend. However, life takes people in different directions and often not at the same time.
While there is nothing wrong with staying friends with those that live a completely different lifestyle than you, it can be hard to remain in a friendship that is actually doing you more harm than good. This is known as a toxic friendship.
Below are three key questions to ask yourself when determining if it’s time to kiss your friendship goodbye.
Do we have anything in common anymore?
Ten years ago you and your friend may have been inseparable. You may have lived together, travelled together, partied together and more. But things do change and nowadays you may not have these things in common anymore. Being a Mum when your other friend isn’t is number one and many people without children do not understand this. If you find that the things you had in common in the past – partying, bar hopping, picking up men, dancing til dawn, for example – are not part of your life anymore and you are having trouble finding new activities to share, then it might be time to move on.
For now anyway. Things might change when your friend realises that family comes first or they too have children. Try not to burn bridges, but let the friendship temporarily lapse and see if you can re-connect when the situation is right.
Also like romantic relationships, sometimes you just out-grow friends…
Does spending time with her make me feel bad about me or my life?
This is a big problem and also a very common one. It is very natural to feel a little bit jealous of other people, especially if your girlfriend appears to be living the high life. However, there is a big difference between flaunting this success and living it. If your friend appears to be flaunting her life choices and ridiculing yours, then it’s time to say bye-bye.
You should never have to defend your choice to be a mother, to quit your job, to cook for your family or anything else. You should also never leave a lunch date with a girlfriend feeling sick to your stomach with guilt, resentment, confusion or anger.
Think about how you feel after leaving your friend…. are you on a high, or do you mentally go over every hurtful thing your friend said?
If you think that your life will be calmer without them, then it is definitely time to ditch the friendship.
Is the friendship causing strain to my relationship with my family?
Often times when a friend bashes your lifestyle, you will take it out on your significant other. If your friend has made you feel bad about yourself in anyway, then it can be easy to blame your spouse for not making enough money, for working too much, for not being supportive enough, etc. At the end of the day, family comes first which means anything that is causing strain to the relationship with your children and your partner needs to be re-evaluated.
How to Terminate a Toxic Friendship
Deciding to end a friendship is always hard, just like a romantic relationship, it hurts your heart to cut someone out of your life. You may wish to be brutally honest about it and tell them the truth or you may wish to slowly faze them out of your life.
Addressing the issue can sometimes be a blessing in disguise as your friend may not realise their bad behaviour. Any way it ends, at least your friend will know exactly where you stand.
Write Them a Note
If you find it hard to confront a friend face to face, why not write them a letter telling them exactly how you feel?
Hide Them on Social Media
Unfriending a friend just looks super petty and passive aggressive. Instead, you can hide their profile from your Facebook Feed which might give you the space the heal. If there is absolutely no going back, do the unfriending a few months down the track when it doesn’t look like a rash decision done in the heat of the moment.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to getting out of a toxic friendship and you may have some mixed feelings. But, in the long run, it is the best thing for you emotionally and physically.
Another thing to always remember is that just because you and your girlfriend may not still be friends, you will always share the memories. She may not be good for you anymore, but there were plenty of good times in the past that will stick with you forever, even if she doesn’t.