The term “frenemy” was coined for a reason and two years ago I would come to discover one of my closest girlfriends was just that. So, what should you do when your BFF deletes you from her life? Learn how to move on from toxic friendships with the Brunette Decorum guide, “How to Cut Ties with a Toxic Friendship.”
Two years ago I developed an autoimmune disease that shook me to my core, but prior to my diagnosis, I was told that I was selfish for going home with severe stomach pain, for making excuses, for not being there like a true friend should be. At the time I didn’t know what was wrong with my body, which made me feel all the more guilty, but as I suppressed the urge to push back on these accusations, emotions boiled to the surface. This was the beginning to the end of our friendship.
It’s saddening to see a 10-year friendship fade away, but ultimately our relationship had turned toxic. Her demanding demeanor forced me to walk on eggshells as my mind constantly turned, analyzing my thoughts, words, and actions to avoid upsetting a friend who supposedly had my best interest at heart. At this point, the pressure only worsened my condition. When our friendship ended, it was a weight lifted off my shoulders.
Since my diagnosis, I’ve forced myself to hit the pause button and evaluate the remainder of my relationships. Did I truly understand what a healthy friendship was? From my point of view, a friend wouldn’t accuse me of playing sick to get out of social events and a friend certainly shouldn’t spend what precious time we do have together wishing others ill will. Perhaps all the years of high school bullying and toxic romantic relationships had forced me to grow in a different direction, but I had reached my threshold for unnecessary drama. So, I asked myself, how could I how could I identify healthy friendships and cut ties with toxic relationships? After giving it much thought, I evaluated these 3 characteristics in each of my current relationships:
It seems so simple, but some people are just downright unhappy and will empower themselves by tearing others down with them. One day, I realized that I was becoming this very person and I absolutely hated myself for it. At this point, I had surrounded myself with individuals who spent their spare time getting wasted, eating horribly, and talking sh*t about people they supposedly cared about. Perhaps this autoimmune disease was a blessing in disguise because when I became too unwell to attend these social gatherings, I discovered many of these individuals were also speaking negatively of me. It was a true wake up call as to who I considered my “friends” and even more so, how I treated people who genuinely cared about my well-being. With this realization, my toxic relationships would soon come to light and begin to fall apart.
I do not have the patience for high-maintenance individuals at all. Sure, we all have our quirks and pet peeves, but if someone intentionally ridicules me for my lifestyle choices then #byegirl, #byeboy. Because of my health issues, I have to maintain a delicate balance of social interaction and self-care. All too often my toxic friendship resulted in criticism for speaking my mind, for saying no to people, situations, and social outings that hurt my physical, mental, and emotional health. Eventually, I began to notice that our friendship worked well for so long because I had gone with the flow, but when I set boundaries for my well-being, the relationship went sour. I’m not down with the my way or the highway attitude and if this sounds all too familiar, chances are the individual you’re thinking of doesn’t have your best interests at heart either. True friends will keep it real with you and express concern when needed, but friends should also support your decisions, and most importantly respect your needs. In return, do the same for them.
Something that I’ve run into a lot over the years… disingenuous individuals. Nobody enjoys confrontation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a positive outcome from talking it out. All too often people get frustrated, talk sh*t, and don’t take action to resolve the issue. Before my friend and I officially cut ties, we got into an argument, which we later discussed, and I was under the impression that the issue had been resolved, but as weeks went on it was clear that something was off. I confronted her multiple times, asking her to talk to me, but ultimately she blew me off and literally deleted me from her life via social media, which indicated to me that our friendship was over. While there were other aspects that turned our relationship toxic, this was the final nail in the coffin. My advice? If you have an issue, be authentic. Speak with honesty, discuss the issue(s) at hand, and be receptive to an open conversation rather than allowing anger to fester. Passive aggressiveness isn’t a good look on anyone.
As humans, we tend to forget that people continue to transform throughout their lives, for better or worse. We’re constantly reinventing ourselves and I was no longer the 18 -year old girl my former friend once knew. Vice versa, she pursued a different path than the journey I was on, and that’s okay. While I’ll always cherish the years of friendship we did have together, it was our time to part and become the people we were intended to be.
Now, I’m challenging you to evaluate the relationships in your life.
Ask yourself, who are the people that make you a better version of yourself? Identify what characteristics they bring into your life, then go out there and build your tribe. You only live once and life is stressful enough, so surround yourself with people that get it, support your ambitions, and build the memories of a lifetime together. Have advice for those trying to ditch a toxic relationship? Share below. Xoxo.