Dealing with Toxic Friendships
By Elizabeth Barrera
Letting go of friendships can be one of the hardest things to do, especially when we’ve acquired an extensive history with those friends. However, letting go of some friendships can be important to our health - especially those who are detaining us from personal and professional growth.
Typically, these friendships don’t support your morals, ideals, or opinions. Instead, they bash on your perspective and give you a million reasons as to why you’re living your life horribly and try to convince you to live life their way. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Then you may be dealing with a toxic or unhealthy friendship.
You love your friend though, and have been through so much with them right? They’ve also probably been there for you during good and bad times and have helped you out when you’ve needed from them the most. If this is the case, then I understand if removing them entirely from your life is too difficult, or even impossible to do. However, what you could do is place some distance between you and your friend.
I had a friend once who was all about me living on the edge. If I was out at a party and there was a cool drug to try, they were supportive of me taking it. If I was getting played on by a guy, they were supportive of me playing him worse. On top of all that, I got teased because I went to mass and living life on the edge. I constantly heard something along the lines of "Oh, you're trying to be a good girl now." Now, all of this may not seem like a such a huge deal, but when viewing it from an objective perspective, it kind of is when my sole purpose was to focus on my personal growth.
So what exactly did I do?
Well, I love my friends, and I choose them wisely. I don’t really allow just anyone into my life and I try my best to avoid anyone who can potentially be too dramatic. I didn’t exactly remove those friendships from my life all at once. Instead, I began placing enough distance, to where I felt comfortable and happy with the way I was living my life. I no longer ran to them with all my problems, nor did I spend every weekend with them. Now, I text them every so often to check in on them, I visited them every now and then, and I let them know they are still important to me, but don’t engage in anything I'm not comfortable doing.
Not all friendships are toxic, and not all of them mean to cause harm. People may have their heart in the right place, but their head in the wrong mindset. It's always important to understand the difference between the two. For this reason, I chose to keep those friends in my life.
Removing toxic or unhealthy friendships from your life is sometimes necessary - or at least distancing yourself from them. Sometimes you don’t know who you are or you’re stopped from being who you aspire to be because you’re surrounded by people who are influencing you to do the complete opposite. And because these friendships are meaningful to us, we don’t always pick up on these vibes. Let yourself do what’s best for you, even if that means removing toxic friendships from your life. Current you may not find it easy to do, but future you will thank you.