Dealing with Toxic “friends”

lifestyle

I sat here thinking how i would start this post. I googled and i searched Pinterest for so many quotes about friendship, relationships and toxic people in the hope i’d find something that would help me start. I realised that i had to look at the main reason i wanted to write this post and that was because of the way i had been treated in the past and recently by toxic people. Looking back on these experiences made me feel a little broken and if this were a book there’d be a few tear marks however since its the 21st century i’m writing to you from my panda covered Apple Mac.

At the ripe age of 25 years old i have had my fair share of friends that have come and gone and the rare few that have been around for a long while. It may seem completely cliche to say this but people come into your life for a reason whether it be bad or good, that reason is to teach you a lesson about life and help you move forward.

Over the last few years i’ve noticed that the older you get the more difficult it is to keep up with each other lifestyles, friends that understand this are genuinely ones who end up sticking around. Those that don’t understand are the ones that fall behind, which brings me to my first toxic friend. I understand some people will reach out to others in times of need however when a friends is saying its not acceptable that you have only seen them once in the last week when you are working and studying full time that is bordering on controlling. Great friends stick around and understand that you may only have a free hour on a Thursday evening for a quick cuppa at a random shopping centre, and that is COMPLETELY OK! I have friends i see once every 3 months and some once or twice a year and thats fine because we both understand that our lives are busy and we are happy to spend those flashing moments with each other because we would rather that then not have each other in our lives.

When your friend is contacting you whether it be via message or call and you see their name pop up on your screen it should bring feelings of joy, happiness, excitement or content. If you are seeing their name pop up and you have a feeling of displeasure, irritableness, discontent or annoyance than obviously there is a massive red flag. You have to ask yourself why would you want to ignore their call or text? is it because they are only calling because they need something? or maybe because you know that whatever they want to do does not match what you want? This could just be because you are growing apart, perhaps this friend is at a different stage in their life to yours and that cause conflicts for you. It could be that you feel like as you get older you are becoming different people with different interests and values. This is okay and will happen within a lot of friendships, don’t try and push friendships just because “it’s the right thing to do”.

It is important to remember there are two sides to every story. Our toxic friend may not have done anything wrong in their eyes and is just doing what they’ve always known and whats natural to them. This is okay because they may feel the same way about us, it’s a difference of opinions, values and morals.

I am one for second chances and going about it in the right way, when someone hurts me it is obviously hard to rebuild bridges specially if those bridges still have a lot of wounds. I have always been told to “ignore bad behaviour” it has something that has been said time and time again by many people i respect, this simple phrase is something i try and always remember. If these people are going to actively attack you in their attempt to “reconnect”, which i feel many times is just an attempt to heal bruised ego’s and relieve some feared guilt, you are to be the bigger person. Being the bigger person to a toxic person is them reaching out to you, trying to call or inviting you out to events planned weeks ago that they “forgot” to invite you to so invite you on the day when someone else brings it up. However the true meaning of a bigger person is when these people are trying to knock you down you are going to smile, make polite conversation, accept invitations to “last minute” gatherings and you stand tall. In the end you have chosen to ignore their bad behaviour be polite like your mumma raised you and you can go home and sleep easy.

Toxic people can use you for different reasons it could be to find our information, you have something they need, you provide them with a sense of doing something good or using you makes them look good in others eyes. Take your pick i’ve had all of these happen to me and most of them by one person. It hurts when you realise these things and most times these things only come to light after they do something that is truely hurtful or they have done something to you just too many times. These people at one point were large parts of our lives, thats why we ignore their poor behavioural choices and be polite before moving on. Slowly moving on with your life after the loss of a toxic friend can be hard because they are something that as i’ve said has had a large impact on your life.

Everyone comes into our life to teach us a lesson. Sometimes it’s hard to see positives in situations or people where we are feeling low from the way that someone has treated us but it’s important to do this to move on. Think of some pleasant memories or the lessons you have learnt from the situation before choosing a path to continue on.

Your future path may be to continue on polite encounters here and there or it may be that you part ways permanently. Whichever you choose make sure you feel comfortable with it, remember that you are the bigger person and to ignore the bad behaviour.

I’ll leave you with a quote by Daniell Koepke that perfectly sums up my feelings towards toxic friends, i hope this brings light onto how you and people around you act, and what you want from life.

“Not all toxic people are cruel and uncaring. Some of them love us dearly. Many of them have goo intentions. Most are toxic to our being simply because their needs and way of existing in the world force us to compromise ourselves and our happiness. They aren’t inherently bad people, but they aren’t the right people for us. And as hard as it is, we have to let them go. Life is hard enough without being around people who bring you down, and as much as you care, you can’t destroy yourself for the sake of someone else. You have to make your wellbeing a priority. Whether that means breaking up with someone you care about , loving a family member from a distance, letting go of a friend, or removing yourself from a situation that feels painful – you have every right to leave and create a safer space for yourself.”

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