Friendships……they are an integral part of our social and emotional existence. They can be supportive, nurturing, balanced and fulfilling. They can be effortless. They can get us through our darkest moments and even bring out our best attributes.
But sometimes our friendships can be complicated and negative.
You know, those friends that you’re always fighting with? The ones who can be judgmental and condescending, thriving on gossip and drama? The friends who are self-absorbed and overly demanding of your attention? The friends who are never really able to meet your needs? If any of the above friendship characteristics ring true for you, you may be stuck in in a toxic friendship.
Toxic friendships can be imbalanced, unrewarding and draining. They can make us sad and bring frustration to our lives. They are highly negative, one sided relationships that can have a severely detrimental impact on our self-confidence, self esteem and overall moral. Sometimes we engage in toxic friendships out of habit, while other times, it is out of obligation or guilt.
If you feel that you are constantly compromising yourself for the sake of your friendship, maybe its time to take a closer look at the red flags.
You may realize that it may be time to honestly evaluate the impact that the toxic a relationship is having in your life.
So, if you have identified that you are involved in a toxic friendship, the following tips can help you make some effective changes.
1. Can the relationship be salvaged?
Attempt to let your friend know how you’re feeling. Be open, honest and authentic. Try to give them the benefit of the doubt; perhaps with some constructive feedback, they will be able to explain and improve their behavior. Although it may be difficult, set clear boundaries and let your friend know that specific things will have to change in order for the friendship to continue. Once you have given them feedback, you’ll eventually be able to realize whether or not your friend is motivated or able to make changes that can truly impact the relationship in a positive way.
2. Know when it’s time to move on.
If you have expressed your needs to your friend and they continue to disappoint and prove that they are simply unable to come through for you, essentially, it is time to move on.
Cutting out these types of friendships can be challenging, but stick to your convictions and trust your instincts.
You can either cut the relationship off cold turkey or you can naturally let the relationship fade away as you consciously choose to disengage.
3. Don’t feel guilty.
It takes an enormous amount of strength and confidence to end a toxic friendship. Be proud of yourself for prioritizing your needs and your emotional well-being. Making such a decision does not make you selfish, it makes you empowered and demonstrates self-compassion.
4. Grieve the relationship, if you need to.
Allow yourself some time to grieve after the loss of a toxic friendship. Even though you chose to end the relationship you may still miss your friend. Feeling sadness or loneliness is completely natural after ending a friendship. Surround yourself with people who love and care about you, as this will definitely facilitate the healing process.
Friendships are not always easy. They can take work and require commitment and investment.
But friendships should be balanced and reciprocal. They should nourish and nurture our souls, they should encourage us and bring us comfort and validation.
Ridding ourselves of toxic friendships may be a daunting task, but in doing so, we are actively making room for positivity, growth and happiness, which are things we all deserve!
Wise Women Canada, by Liz Wiener and Lisa Brookman, is a lifestyle blog that aspires to bring the community together by sharing the stories that make us human.