I could think of a whole list of definitions for toxic friends. I’ve had my fair share over the years and I’m currently following my own advice to get rid of some. So let’s see what it means to be a toxic friend. A toxic friend is someone who:
- does not add to your happiness, but steals from it
- is only your friend for personal gain
- expects you to be there for them, but does not return the favour
- brings out the worst in you
- does not support you or stand up for you
- doesn’t accept your other friends or your significant other
- never accepts that they are treating you badly
- denies any of the above
You probably have a name in your head. Should you feel guilty for identifying that person? Definitely not! If two or more of these things apply to them, they are not a true friend to you.
I know it’s hard, especially if it’s someone you’ve known a long time. I’m ‘friends’ with a girl I’ve known since the first grade, but she treats me poorly. So I’m taking steps to make sure that my life changes for the better. There are better people out there that deserve your commitment and passion. They are the type of people who make you feel good about yourself. They support and love you just as you are.
If you are a person who values other people’s happiness above your own, it will be difficult for you to let go. I would rather be unhappy than to cause someone else to be unhappy. But it’s not healthy. Unfortunately, even after years of ‘friendship’, these toxic friends don’t really know what it means to be someone’s friend. You have to be the one to change that. You have to let them know that they cannot treat you like that.
And if you read the list and saw your own behaviour, try to change the way you operate. It’s hard to admit your own flaws, I know, but there are people being hurt by this every day and they honour your feelings too much to say anything. Reevaluate the way you treat people.
Okay so now you’ve identified the problem. All that remains is what you have to do now.
1. Talk to them
Explain your situation. Do it calmly. Avoid using words like always and never. If they interrupt you, simply ask them to hear you out. Be very specific about the times they made you felt left out, unwanted or miserable. Don’t beat around the bush, if you want things to change you need to face it head-on. No texting them. Face them so they can see how it makes you feel.
2. Listen to what they have to say
They are going to defend themselves. It’s a natural reaction to being accused of something you were not aware was a problem. That’s the thing. A lot of people are oblivious to the way they treat people.
Listen to their side of the story. Maybe you were also at fault without realising it. Try to have an open mind.
3. Cut ties
If you’ve tried the above approach without any success, then you need to take a drastic step. Clearly, they are not willing to admit to their faults and they make you out to be silly or oversensitive.
End the friendship. Stop seeing them, stop accepting their excuses for their behaviour. You need to take care of yourself first.
You don’t have to stop living your life trying to avoid them. Just make it very clear to them that you do not intend on being their doormat any longer.
4. Find better friends
The next step is moving on. You need to find people worth fighting for. Odds are, you already have a friend like this, but the toxic friends in your life don’t want him/her around.
Get to know new people and be happy. Your happiness should be the ultimate goal, not sticking around, waiting for someone to realise they’re making a mistake.
Always be a good friend and if you’re still unhappy, get a friendship makeover. Worked for me thus far.