Hello friends, how are you today?
I hope you all are doing well.
I want to talk to you today about friends and really... relationships in general.
When you have friends, and I mean honest to God, true deep friendships and relationships, you can feel it in your bones. But quite often, or at least in my case, you will have a few good deep friendships, and then you will have the surface friends. You know the ones I am talking about... The ones that are “I’ll be there for you any time you need me” but when you need them, they’re no where in sight, or they criticize your problems.
So how do you know if you have a toxic friend?
You’ll always be giving, and not receiving the same amount of effort
Conversations will generally be very one sided
They’re constantly negative
The drama and negative gossip will be constant (if they talk about other’s that way, what are they saying about you when you’re not there?)
Lack of support
Your anxiety will be heightened around them
You may feel emotionally exhausted after seeing / talking to them
They will be more friendly when they want or need something
They will constantly put you down, this may be subtle but it is happening
They will not be ashamed at humiliating you, and then tell you it was just a joke when you express you feelings about it
Everything is a competition
They won’t have the same kind of time for you, that you make for them.
I am not saying that every time someone doesn’t have time for you, or you have a disagreement with a friend that it automatically means they are a toxic friend. Let me give you an example.
Let me start by saying this, I am a very nice person. I am loyal as hell. I will give the shirt off my back to anyone in this world, even if they’ve done me wrong. Why? Because I believe in looking for the good in people. I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt.
Now, there is nothing wrong with being a good-hearted, kind, loyal person. Far from it. But what I have found though is that there are people out there who will take full, and I mean full and complete advantage of that.
I’ve had some hard lessons with friendships over 2020. As if there wasn’t enough happening in the world, am I right?
I lost friends, I’ve gained friends, I’ve given up on some friendships that I thought would last a lifetime.
Because my life is too short for one-sided friendships.
Here’s the most influential story of the bunch:
I had a friend. She was like my sister. She was one of the few people I felt I could go to for everything. Until I couldn’t. Suddenly there was a change. And my problems seemed to no longer matter, and I was basically told that I needed to get over my shit and stop complaining about it. It hurt like a dagger. I held her hand through a lot of shit. We didn’t talk for a few days after that, and I hit a point where I refused to be the one to make amends, because I knew I had done nothing wrong.
I didn’t want to continuously be the one to apologize when all I did was talk about something that as bothering me. I didn’t want to be the peace maker, and apologize for someone hurting me. I didn’t want to keep giving in to trauma responses.
She eventually came around and apologized.
But the damage was done. From that point on I realized that any time I needed help, the conversation would shift focus. Any time I had a bad day, I was told its not that bad, under the guise of the tough-love approach. I then clued in to how one sided this friendship was.
There was another argument, that was turned onto me being the one with the issue, and to get over it.
So I did. I got over it, by putting a stop to the constant put downs that revolved around me being overly sensitive. At the end of the day I ended up taking advice she gave me: which was to cut out people if I didn’t like or had a problem with things they were doing. There was no good-bye. There was no break-up. I just simply stopped talking to her. I removed her, and all mutual friends from social media. I delete memories as they come up that she is in.
Because my mental health deserves more than to be constantly reminded of these things and how much it hurt to leave that friendship and realize that the friendship had run its course.
Sure, there are days where I miss the good times, I miss the weekends I would spend there, I miss all the times we laughed so hard we cried, I miss the tears we shed when we were upset, and the other was there to help. The worst is that there are times that come out of nowhere where I just miss her and her family. But I don’t miss the feeling of having to choose between my mental health or our friendship.
In reality, as I have said before, and I will say it again: hindsight is always 20/20. She was my last tie to my old life. My pre-divorce life. She was my best friend that I met through my ex, and, as I also said before, I took her advice to cut ties with those who were doing things that I didn’t approve of. I don’t need to go into details, and if by some fluke she sees this, she knows what she did that caused me to end things. I also want to say this: I do not regret my friendship with her. I do not regret the times we spent together, and I do not regret how I ended things. It was time to say good-bye to everything that was tying me to that old chapter of my life. And, if by chance she does see this, I want it to be very clear: so please know that I will always love her, and I will always cherish every moment we spent together. But it was time to say good-bye, as hard as it was to do so, I needed to for my own piece of mind, and she knows why that is. I still wish her all the best, and nothing but happiness, as well as the peace and love that she deserves. I forgive her for what she did.
It’s heartbreaking when friendships and relationships don’t work out the way we want them to. I thought for sure she would be in my life forever. Same as how I thought I’d be married to my ex forever. But alas, life had other plans.
So where am I with all of this now?
Not girl “fine”. But actually fine.
Life throws us curve balls. Life throws us challenges, simply to see how we handle them; to test us. A year ago I wouldn’t have had the courage to walk away from a friendship like hers. I was so adamant about always keeping those in my life happy, that I often neglected my own happiness. Today, my life is a bit more peaceful, and I am a lot more reassured in my choices, and more confident in making new decisions.
There are people who come into our life that are meant to be there forever.
There are people who come into our life that are meant to only be there for a short time, and often it is to teach us a lesson or two.
The past two years I have done nothing but learn lessons from people who have come in and out of my life, and part of this blog is to help me remember them, but also to help those who have been through or are going through similar things.
Some people are only meant to be in your life for a season or two, others are meant to be there for the whole series. Then there are people who will come in and out of your life several times, like reoccurring characters on a TV show that are only in like 5 episodes out of the whole series, but they are still there and play an integral part of the story.
That’s all our lives are. One giant story. Each unique and each chapter is different from the last.
Your feelings are valid, and if anyone in your life is not respectful of them, then it might be time to take a step back, re-evaluate why this person is in your life and if you really need to put up with a friend not validating your feelings.
It’s okay to say good-bye.
It sucks, and it hurts, and I cried harder than I had in a long time.
Good-byes hurt, but sometimes they are necessary for our own peace of mind, and our own internal happiness.
I now know who my true ride-or-die friends are.
I know who belongs in my pack, who is allowed to observe from afar, and also those who are no longer privy to my life or anything happening in it.
I’ve made the decision to stick to those who better my life, the ones that call me on a random Tuesday because they heard something funny that they thought I’d enjoy. The ones that stay in touch, and it doesn’t feel one sided or like talking to a wall. I’m staying close to those who feel like sunshine.
Keep your chins up, and embrace those honest to God good friendships.
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