Ditch Your Toxic Friends; They’re Not Worth It
You know those friends that you like, and you may even think you love, but they’re always hard work in some way? Perhaps they always bring the drama, perhaps they always make you feel a bit shit about yourself, perhaps they use you to bitch and moan about other people that they know you like and love? Perhaps they’re controlling - you always do what they want to do, eat where they want to eat. Or perhaps they expect so much emotional support from you and offer absolutely nothing back in return? We all know at least one of them and, let me tell you, it’s time to call bullshit on this.
As a woman who’s eyeing up 40 years old like an antelope who’s spotted a starving lion in the bushes, I don’t have any more time for these kind of friends. That’s not metaphorical. I literally DO NOT HAVE THE TIME to waste on friends like these. When your social time is limited, you get to a point where you don’t want to battle your wardrobe, and the underground, and pay a huge drinks bill to spend time with a friend who makes you feel a bit shit about yourself in one way or another.
Here’s the problem though: it’s not always easy to spot these toxic friends but, here’s a list of top toxic traits…just in case your social circle needs some reappraisal:
They are your instant best friends.
This is, in my mind, the top trait of toxicity and let’s face it, we all know one of those.
They are always mad at someone.
As soon as they walk in the room, they’ve got someone to bitch about.
They talk behind your back.
Hard to gauge because you might not always know it but be alert.
They always leave you feeling used and a bit poorer.
Emotionally they are takers and they’re generally the ones that are ‘slow’ to buy a round.
They love a joke at your expense.
You know the one…it’s delivered in a way that makes you feel if you got upset about it, they’d call you ‘sensitive’ when actually, they’re being a bitch.
They’ll repeat your secrets.
Nothing is sacred to them and information is always valuable. If they can gain some traction with someone else at the expense of your secret, they’ll do it.
They stand you up all the time.
They have zero respect for your time so ditching you last minute is A-OK for them.
They’ll never celebrate your success.
In fact, they’re more likely to steal your thunder. Screw that.
They’re never there for you.
Broken up with a boyfriend? Lost a job? Had a fight with your husband? They’re always waaaaay too busy to be there.
This is not an extensive list but it gives you an idea of how toxic friends operate. If they make you feel a bit icky in your tummy or if they leave you questioning your self or your decisions then there’s a chance they’re displaying toxic tendencies. So, if you have a friend like that, what to do? How do you even start to manage that kind of crazy because, here’s the thing, their MO isn’t rational so often, throwing calm, reasoned logic their way won’t work.
First up, ditch all the sentimentality. Even the worst toxic friends have their fun moments but they’re never worth the narcissistic self-obsession that comes with it. It’s a tactic - they treat you like shit 80% of the time and then when they don’t, you somehow feel so special that you hang around just waiting for the next hit. It’s a scary place to be in a friendship, so if you often feel ‘unsafe’ around someone, that’s a big sign that it’s time to ditch.
Also, it’s worth trying honesty. In my experience it’s always been thrown back in my face, somehow been made out to be my fault, that I’m the one with the problem, but occasionally, it could be the one thing they need to hear. Toxic friends often act out of insecurity or a lack of self-esteem - they need to keep everyone around them down so that they can feel good - and sometimes they’re just waiting for the chance to let it all out. You never know, if you catch them at the right moment, they may be able to give in to a tiny amount of vulnerability. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.
If none of that works, it’s time to get brutal. Delete. Delete. Delete. I’ve had to do this on two occasions and each time I was left feeling a little like I’d failed. I felt as if I was the one that had messed up and still, to this day, in moments of weakness can start thinking about what I could have done differently to make it work. It still niggles away but I know, in my heart of hearts, I’ve done the right thing for myself and that’s what matters. Of course, whatever you do, don’t go back. Don’t re-engage. Fall of the toxic friend wagon and getting off it again is harder. Just say no.
Go ahead and make new friends too. Be open to it. You never know who you’re going to find. Put yourself first and be discerning. Look after you. They’re are literally millions of wonderful people out there, you don’t need to waste anymore time on these friends.