Saying Goodbye To Toxic Friends

Breakups are tricky. We’re left aching into our ice cream while rewatching 'Schitts Creek' and scrolling through photos on our phone. Memories blur and lie to us, so we question why we broke up with them in the first place.

Then we remember how we felt in that relationship – the belittling, the arguments, the lack of self-worth. Saying goodbye to a relationship will always leave scars, but none more so than a toxic one. We can find a bad apple has made its way into our relationships and friendships throughout our lives, but how do we say goodbye to a toxic friend?

Spotting A Toxic Friend

We love our friends. We trust them, confide in them, support them, and act as their cheerleader. But what is it when they don’t do the same for us? Unfortunately, spotting a toxic friend is not always that easy unless we take a step back and honestly evaluate what we are getting out of this friendship.

Toxic friends will:

  • Leave you physically drained
  • Argue, criticise, and judge you
  • Not support you
  • Make it all about them
  • Will gossip and belittle others (and you)
  • Make sure you can’t be yourself
  • Not be trustworthy
  • Will put you down

A toxic friends’ behaviour may not be as apparent as this, as they may intuitively put you down in a passive-aggressive manner. They may take the limelight away from you intentionally but covertly, and they may take advantage of you in the most appreciative way without giving anything back to you.

How Important Are Mum Friends?

Managing A Toxic Friend

Before splitting up entirely, it may be worth chatting with your friend to see if there are ways you can work around the issues which upset you. It may be a friendship worth saving, but only you will know this in the end. Air your grievances in an honest and non-confrontational way. They may not be aware their behaviour is affecting you in this way. If they love and respect you, they will recognise your feelings in a non-defensive manner.

Create Boundaries

We need boundaries in all of our relationships, and even more so in a potentially volatile friendship. Tell your friend what is acceptable and what isn’t in your relationship by spelling out the lines they can’t cross. A good friend will respect your boundaries, and a toxic friend will use them against you.

Distance Yourself

If necessary, think about giving yourself some breathing space from your friend. Reserve your energy and loosen the reigns of the negative energy which they have held onto you with. If a friend wants and needs you in their life, they will understand what is hurting you. They will respect your boundaries and figure out ways to improve your friendship.

If this doesn’t happen, then breaking up and
moving on will benefit you, your confidence, and your entire self-worth.

Geraldine Walsh

Mum of two Geraldine Walsh happily works from home as a freelance writer chatting about parenting, wellness and mental health.

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