After publishing this post on 10 signs you may be in a toxic relationship my email was flooded with responses from young girls and women. The number of women who had been in a toxic relationship or were in the midst of one brought me to tears. It was then I knew I had to expand on this conversation to friendships.
As human beings, we crave social interaction. As early as toddlers we begin to form friendships with others. But what happens when a friendship becomes toxic? Throughout our lives we change. For the better, sometimes for the worst…but we change every day. With this change comes adjustments in our standards for friends. I’m going to get all Matthew Hussy on you and talk about standards for a minute. Standards are qualities in people we require in order to invest our time in a friendship with them. Typically, the more you value yourself – the higher standards you will have for people around you. I’m an extremely social introvert (meaning I crave social interaction to up my dopamine supply, but I also require quite time alone afterwards to decompress) so I’ve had quite my fair share of friends throughout my life. Some have faded through distance and other uncontrollable factors. Others have been purposely put on pause or eject when their friendship no longer meets my standards. This may sounds harsh, but hear me out. Cutting out friends doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It means you know what types of friendships better you – and which leave you feeling drained. Let’s explore 5 times you’re totally justified in cutting out a friendship.
1. It’s All About Them
You know those friends who only talk about themselves? Yeah, cut that out. Not only is it annoying AF, it’s a tell tale sign of someone who doesn’t care enough to check in on your life. I’ve had to cut out friendships where I hardly got a word in during each visit. I’m all for listening, but a good friend will ask questions about your life. If a friend still doesn’t know what you do for a living after years of friendship, cut it!
2. They’re Using You
To get to a boy. To climb the social ladder. To further their career. Whatever it is, if a “friend” is using you to get something they want – cut them out. We’ve all experienced it and let’s be honest – it stings. The moment you realize someone is taking advantage of your time and energy to further their interests it’s time to give them a cut.
3. Your Mood Dips After Seeing Them
Some people are energy suckers. I had this friend who I recently cut ties with. Why? Every time I met up with her my energy changed. Everyone has a bad day, week, or month but when a friend is constantly negative and tearing down others – it’s time to cut it out. You should leave friend hangouts feeling better than you left. A good friend will make you feel heard. A good friend will make you feel loved. A good friend shouldn’t leave you feeling down, stressed or anxious. There’s too many great friends out there to settle.
4. They Don’t Celebrate Your Success
During times of great accomplishment and success – a true friend will be there to root them on. End of story. If a friend is belittling your success or worse, making it about themselves – this is a red flag. Sure, jealousy and envy can be natural reactions to success – but a true friend will put these feelings aside and root you on. Celebrate your sisters!
5. They’re Pushing An Unhealthy Lifestyle On You
Unfortunately, some of our most cherished friends transition into a toxic lifestyle. People can fall down the black hole of drugs. They can start hanging out with the wrong crowd. They can start dating someone new. Whatever the change may be, it’s important to recognize it and bring it to their attention. If someone’s actions are negatively impacting your life – you have to choose yourself first.
How To Amicably Cut Off A Friendship
Okay, so here comes the tricky part. How do you amicably end a friendship? I can’t promise there won’t be tears, but the most respectful way of doing it is being upfront and honest. Tell them why you fell in love with their friendship. Then tell them how your friendship has changed. Tell them why this friendship is no longer serving you. It will hurt like a bitch to hear, but this may be the constructive feedback they need to hear to get back on track. Also, keep in mind this doesn’t have to be permanent. Goodbyes don’t have to be forever. Who knows, you may reconnect in the future and hit it off again. But for now, it’s time to prioritize the friendships that make your soul happy.