I'm going through my twenties and my oh my when adults say its the time of change, boy do they mean it. The past year - first year out of college, first job, first real life challenges - has matured me more than the last 22 years have. One of the hardest obstacles I had to face was friendships changing, evolving and how I can keep them alive. I went through the same thing when I first got to university with my high school friends - somehow that process wasn't bad at all. I still have a good hand-full of my high school friends on speed dial and I know their lives well enough. But getting my first job, going through our first hard break ups, going through big sh** happening in our lives really hit me like a brick. I started to realize that everyone I held so dear to my heart might not be good for me after all. This might be the last 'spring cleaning' or so to say for my friendships because as work gets more and more unreasonable friendship starts to fall on your to-do list.
Over the last two months or so, a huge change came upon me and one of my very dearest, bestest friend - someone I consider family, someone I would not hesitate to call my future-bridesmaid, someone I honestly thought would be sitting in a rocking chair in the house next door as we plan when our grandchildren will be coming to visit - change the game and broke my heart. I won't get into details but her actions made me reconsider our entire friendship and evaluate what it is that I need and desire in a friend. As I was doing this I came across great articles and research on the topic of friendship. I thought I would give my two cents on what are some signs you are in a toxic friendship -- and ultimately how I got out.
My 7 Signs of Toxic Friend are...
- She needs you for absolutely everything but doesn't reciprocate
- She is negative about everything all the time
- She can't see her flaws
- She is manipulative
- She is self-centered
- She is only their for the good
- She betrays your trust.
These are pretty self explanatory. I think the basis of a great and strong friendship is trust, loyalty and honesty. It is the dependability of one another. Its playing a see-saw and ensuring both parties are in midair and no one is on the ground. When one side feels utterly used and unappreciated, the friendship is bound to go through a hardship.
I also find how you handle a difference in opinion, an argument, a fight between friends determines the rest of your relationship. Fights are undeniably going to happen. If the two of your personalities cannot come together to put down your ego in order to save a friendship then it will never last.
If anyone is going through this and would like to discuss, I've recently gone through the exact same thing and honestly this blog is half a vent/half hopefully helpful for others.
The way I approach the inevitable end to our glorious friendship is to be incredibly mature and tell her exactly how you feel. Being brutally honest and letting her know you are not okay with what has happened might help her change her ways. I don't believe in burning bridges and through the many long calls and skypes with my friends, they don't believe in it too. I just needed to put boundaries down and scale back the relationship. I ultimately chose to still have her in my life but to a lesser extent -- less influential and toxic extent. If she continues to make you feel belittled, unappreciated or negative then take the full exit out.
Lastly, reflect and cherish the friends who do treat you well. And treat the friends you do have well. Lead by example and karma is a bitch. Sometimes it takes a bad apple to make the good apples taste extra sweet and delicious.