Looking back, there were lots of signs that someone who I thought was one of my closest friends, was actually someone who was doing my mental and emotional health absolutely no favours. For me, there were loads of reasons that culminated in me ending the friendship. Intense messages making my phone blow up and the perpetual insecurity if I didn't reply right away. Ditching me last minute every time something or someone better came long. The conditions on where we could and couldn't have coffee. Picking me up and dropping me whenever it suited. Hey, the list could go on and on.
I'm not going to go into the ins and outs because there are two people involved and it wouldn't be fair. But yeah, I’m not talking about an unhappy romantic relationship, no, this was a failing friendship, and all I really wanted to do was end it. Little by little my self-confidence in my blog and my writing was being chipped away at like an ice sculpture. I felt I was giving wahay more than I was getting back and that I was just someone who was convenient to that person.
For some reason, though, this isn’t ‘okay’. And that honestly baffles because if you were in a bad relationship where the other party doesn't treat you with the respect you deserve, then the first thing your friends and friendly would say is to dump their sorry ass.
But no one says that with a friendship. No one offers to take you for a cheeky bottle of Sauvignon while they comb through all the reasons why he/she doesn’t deserve you. When you break up with a crappy boyfriend/girlfriend, you can almost hear your nearest and dearest inwardly cheer and you can see the relief flush their features.
Yet when it comes to toxic friends, you often get painted as the bad guy, a complete bitch if you try to end the friendship. I think its maybe a girl thing, that you aren't part of the so-called sisterhood, as though ending a friendship is just a mean and nasty thing and not something that might be the right thing for you. But you wouldn't stay in a relationship purely so you can say you have a boyfriend, or you're too scared that breaking up with them will hurt their feelings; so why are so scared to do it with our so-called friends?
I feel like we all have one friend that we almost dread spending time with because of how emotionally exhausting it is but we still do it because we don't want to seem bitchy, we want to spare their feelings or we just simply can't be bothered with the confrontation that will undoubtedly ensue. But honestly you don't need people like that in your life, you need people who are going to build you up, back you and be there for 100%. All the time, effort and emotion you are pouring into a toxic friendship could go into forging good and healthy friendships that make you so much happier.
Sometimes though, the friendship is on its last legs and not because a big blow out has happened or even that you actively dislike someone; because it could just be that your lives have gone in different directions. When you're at school its almost like your friends are your whole world, you spend all day, everyday with them and chances are you spend your evenings texting them (or in my day, MSN) and your weekends having sleepovers. But when you start sixth form, and especially uni, that goes out the window and you can inevitably lose touch. Some friendships can survive these lifestyle gaps, busy spells and radio silences but many can’t. But you shouldn't feel obliged to keep up a friendship just because you've both been in it for a long time. Often those friendships just fizzle out and thats okay, thats life.
But when a 'friend' is actively upsetting you, bothering you or just making you feel pretty crappy then honestly, the best thing to do is to go your separate ways. Thanks for the memories and all that. Sometimes the person may have absolutely no idea that their actions or behaviour is affecting you in a negative way and by taking the steps to end the friendship it can act as a tool for the other person to check themselves and be more considerate in the future.
I think we should make breaking up with a friend as normal as breaking up with a partner, because it simply isn't worth putting up with someone to save face. It’s so much kinder to end things with someone properly, rather than blanking their messages, dodging their calls and making feeble excuses as to why you can't hang out. At least this way, they know where they stand and can move on because chances are you are looking like a pretty terrible friend to them at this point too. Trying to phase someone out of your life by ghosting them and leaving things in limbo is far crueler than being the adult and saying that the friendship just isn't working for you, your headspace and your life. It'll make you a better friend in the future and hopefully the person that lead you to the decision too.
What do you make of toxic friendships and ending them?