Do you have a friend who’s been there through the good times and the bad? Someone that no matter what, you could always see yourselves being besties forever? Unfortunately, forever doesn’t always mean forever. As time goes on, you may realize that you’ve matured and taken different paths in your life that lead to better things, while your friend is still in the same boat she or he was when you first met. Maybe they’ve been acting possessive or maybe they have been making bad decisions as of late, and they’re scratching their head wondering why you aren’t following them and jumping off the cliff.
Related: 4 Signs You’re In A Toxic Relationship
It’s important to distance yourself from people who (intentionally or unintentionally) seek only to bring you down. When you find yourself in this situation, there are three ways in which you can break up with your toxic friend and focus on finding relationships that will inspire you to grow.
Tell Them The Truth
Telling your friend that she or he isn’t living the kind of lifestyle you want to follow isn’t necessarily the most gentle way of going about it, but it’s effective nonetheless. Calling them out for being a jerk lets them know that they can’t just walk all over you and that partying with them until 5:00 AM every night isn’t exactly going to get you that promotion you’ve been hoping for. Confronting the situation head-on is brave, and probably the best option among these three. You don’t have to be combative about it, tell them that you still love them, but that you can’t be friends with them anymore because… (insert your personal situation.) Their reaction isn’t going to be pretty, but it’s worth it. Keep it real and stay true to yourself.
Stop Hanging Out With Them
Are you the type who reaches out to your friends with a, “hey, wanna catch a movie?” If it’s a toxic friend, stop making plans with them. If you’ve always been the one who does all the planning, they’ll either suddenly forget your existence, or reach out to you. Depending on the level toxicity in the relationship, they might get aggressive if they feel you aren’t giving them enough attention. It may be tempting to hang out with them once in a blue moon just to appease them and avoid the drama, but don’t. It really isn’t worth it. If their negativity and dark outlook on life is bringing you down, do yourself a favor and cut them out of your life. You deserve better.
Don’t Answer Their Texts
“Why don’t you answer my texts?” “Hello?” “Why do you hang out with your other friends so much when I used to be the only one you’d hang out with?” “What’s got you so busy that you can’t answer a single text?” “Call me nooooow.”
Ugh. You’ve heard at least one of these if you’ve fallen victim to a toxic friendship. They demand your attention, even when you’re at work or doing something where being on your phone could be dangerous. As you surround yourself with more positive friendships, your toxic friend will quickly become jealous and wonder why they’re not the center of your attention anymore. You can either be straight up, as stated in the first example, or you can choose to simply ignore them all together. You don’t have to talk to them if you don’t want to. There’s no written law out there that says you must continue to speak with everyone in your life, even if they make you uncomfortable. If you’d rather not address them, or, if you already have and they still won’t stop pouring negativity into your life, tell them to stop texting/calling you and move on. If it gets to a point where you feel bombarded by ugly remarks, block them. The block button is your best friend. Again, confronting the problem face to face is always best, but if they’ve reached a level to where you feel unsafe, ignoring them compleltly may be a better option for you.
Remember, the whole point of ending a friendship isn’t to be mean or cutthroat, or to make yourself seem better than them, it’s to get you out of bad environments and replace them with positive ones. If they don’t follow you on your path to a better life, they’re not worth dragging along. It may be one of the hardest things you have to do, but getting rid of that toxic friendship is just putting you one step closer to the person you want to be and the goals you want to achieve.