Good friendships are hard to find. Those people that you just… click with. The ones who you can depend on, day in day out, without fail. In the world, those people are scarce and few but they exist. I know because I’ve found them. However, I’ve also had a bad friendship – a toxic friendship. They started out as a good friend but they quickly turned sour.
This friend was a sweet girl: funny, kind, loving, practically perfect in every way. I adored her. She’d welcomed me in to her circle of friends when I had none of my own and had changed my life. But she was toxic.
She was selfish, jealous, callous, and ignorant. She only cared about herself and her needs and wants and was resentful of how close I had gotten with her friends – not my friends, only hers. She was insensitive to what we wanted and ignored our concerns and advice. She didn’t want to know what we had to say because we didn’t matter. Only she mattered. She says we were her family and that was true, once upon a time. But families can drift apart and ours are on separate sides of the ocean.
So many people go through this. There are many people’s stories which go unheard, unrecognised. So I spoke to some friends who unfortunately had to go through what I did. Their stories deserve to be heard – they deserve to have voices.
‘I was in a toxic friendship for four years of my life; it’s only very recently ended. It’s very similar to a toxic relationship, but in some cases, a toxic friendship is harder to get out of. I wasted all of my time at school trying to please them so that our relationship would last, as I thought they could change – or I could change them.’
‘I was in a toxic friendship with an older high school friend. She was jealous of me, but in a secretive way. She wanted to know everything about me, but she never gave me details about her life. She suddenly stopped talking to me when I dated a friend of her ex-boyfriend. She couldn’t imagine me being close to him but not her, however I found out she slept with an ex of mine and told everyone I stole her boyfriend.
I know some of you reading this will have gone through this. I also know how much it hurts. No matter how many people tell you that it will get easier and in the end you’ll realise it was for the better, it doesn’t make it hurt any less. Nothing will make that pain go away and it won’t ever go away, however you will learn to live with it.
It can be hard to recognise a toxic friendship. No friendship is the same as another and toxic friendships are no different. People can be toxic in more ways than one. However, there are a few common signs which could indicate that your friendship is toxic. If you're being excluded from group activities or conversations or isolated from your other friends then that's definitely not a good sign. Also, if you are being manipulated in to doing things which you don't want to do or pressured or being made to feel generally upset or negative, especially if it's in regards to yourself, due to what someone has said then it's time to get out.
The most important thing is to get out. It can be difficult. Sometimes you just drift apart or sometimes all these negative feelings culminate and cause a big argument which takes your friendship past the point of no return. My advice is try to talk to them first and explain how you're feeling and what you'd like to change. If your friend doesn't make the effort to change, it's time to walk away. Try and keep your anger at bay and calmly explain that your friendships isn't healthy for
either of you and you need some time apart. If it helps, have a friend with you for moral support or someone who shares your feelings in order to help get the point across.
So all I can say to you is keep going. It hurts, I know. It’s hard, I know. There are going to be times when you want to run back to that friend and apologise for everything, but you can’t. You are strong enough to get through this. I believe in you and I am here for you.