Evie Sparkes is a published novelist, content writer and digital media director from Bath. Evie's novel 'Wishful Thinking' is out now.
How do You Know if You Are in a Toxic Friendship?
If you're starting to feel like your bff is no longer the best thing for you, chances are you're in a toxic friendship.
You might have been friends for a long time, and not even realise how toxic the friendship has become. The definition of a toxic friendship is simply:
You don't like yourself when you're with them. A toxic friend has a way of spreading their toxicity to others, When you're with that person, they bring out behaviours in you that aren't your best.
Did you jump for joy the last time they cancelled your plans? Have you stopped having fun with them?
Friendship is all about trust, love and fun. If your friendship doesn't have any of these qualities anymore, then what is in it for you?
How Might a Relationship Become Toxic?
When we make friends and click with someone, there is a period of time, and sometimes quite a long period, where we love all of the same things, have mutual respect and just have damned good fun together.
Over time however, friendships can change. Perhaps your friend turns up late, ignores your texts, or makes unkind comments about you in front of others. If you are giving more than you are getting, If you are feeling stress and perhaps some anxiety when you are with them, and even when you're not, then this friendship has run its course and is not in your best interest anymore.
You Aren't Sure Why You're Friends Anymore
You used to be completely inseparable, where one went the other went, but these days you don't seem to have anything in common and you didn't even notice it happening. You have changed over the years, you have evolved into the same but different. You are still you, but your priorities have changed. Where you once enjoyed loud nights out drinking lager and whisky shots, you now prefer a civilised evening sipping cocktails and table service.
You had no interest in swapping Facebook for Instagram but you did it because they said Facebook was so 2015 and made you feel like a dinosaur. You don't much like hanging out with their other friends. They aren't your sort and you feel uncomfortable around them. They don't seem to like you all that much either.
You don't enjoy meeting up with them and make excuses to leave early. You feel bad when you get home and spend the rest of the day feeling like a cow.
Feeling bad isn't good for us. It can lead to anxiety and that's not what friendship should be about.
I have the best two friends and I could not imagine being without them. They listen to me, they advise me when I'm struggling but they never, ever judge me. That to me, is what real friendship is all about. You can be yourself, say and do dumb-ass things, mess up on a grand scale, and still there they are.
Friendship is a two way (or three way in my case) thing. You might have to compromise every now and again, but you don't mind because you know they'd do the same for you.
Don't allow a toxic friendship to continue. It will bring you down and cause you to doubt yourself.
How to End a Friendship
Ending your friendship is a big decision so be sure that this relationship cannot be saved before you make that leap.
Would you like to pull things back? Would you be happy to carry on being friends if your friend was to listen to your concerns and agree to work things out? Or are you so done with it that you'd be happy for someone to wave a magic wand so that they forget all about you and let that be an end to it?
Okay, so let's assume you are done. Even if your friend wanted to give it a shot, you just don't feel the same way anymore. What next?
The quickest way is to outright tell them how you feel and say you no longer wish to be friends. That's brutal and will probably make you feel like the bad one and you aren't. It's all very well to cut ties completely, but if you were the sort that could be so blunt then you wouldn't have been in this relationship for as long as you have been.
The kindest way is to let go gently. Back off a bit. Don't answer their texts right away, wait a couple of days and then send a short reply. Don't feverishly like all of their Facebook and Instagram pics just incase they get offended and don't instigate meet-ups.
If you start being a little distant, the chances are that they will start to plan things with other people and this toxic friendship will end more naturally without anyone being hurt in the process.
Because you are you, there is a chance you might feel a little sad for a while but the chances are you will feel more relief than sadness. Some things just aren't for the long-haul. There's absolutely no point in suffering a friendship. It's not good for either of you and it will only lead to more of the same.
Be brave, think of your wellbeing. You will make other friends and maybe be lucky enough to meet someone who shares your likes and dislikes and accepts you for who you are, no questions asked.
Evie Sparkes (author) on May 15, 2019:
Suffering is optional - I like it! We all have the power to change our lives at any point.
dashingscorpio from Chicago on May 15, 2019:
When is a friendship toxic?
"You don't like yourself when you're with them." - Very true!
This goes for not only friendships but relationships as well.
If you find you're happier or in a better mood when you're not with someone it's clear you need to avoid being around them.
No one is "stuck" with anyone!
Suffering is optional.