Toxic friends

I know this post is a little deeper than normal, but bear with me as it is something that has been on my mind quite frequently lately.

We’ve all had them. That friend that in one way or another brings you down. That friend that you’re terrified of letting down. That friend that will talk behind your back or make YOU feel bad for the things he or she might actually be doing. The friend that always seems to get his or her way even when you suggest other alternatives. That “toxic” friend.

Eek! Toxic friends. Scary!

I’ll go ahead and site this article about toxic friends that I found on WebMD as a source of some of the information I’m going to share. It might not be the most scholarly article, but it was interesting and insightful. A toxic friend is defined as:

“a toxic friendship is unsupportive, draining, unrewarding, stifling, unsatisfying, and often unequal.”

“They might not be a toxic friend to others but they are to you.”

Draining is the word that really resonates with me from the above definition. I have had a few friendships in my life that were definitely draining. Some old, some new. All of them were equally stressful. I would actually find myself worrying every night when I went to bed about those toxic friendships. Did the person still like me? Would they want to hang out with me if they found new friends? Were they talking behind my back to our other friends? Why did they say those mean or passive-aggressive things to me that day? Why are they always late or changing our plans at the last-minute without explanation? Why do I seem to be the one constantly putting in effort and never getting the same kind of effort in return? And on, and on, and on…  It is exhausting having this kind of mental battle constantly! And it makes you feel a little crazy, too.

“It’s a pleaser personality — you want people to like you, you want to get along, and it’s hard to say no. But you can pay the price in one way by having toxic friends.”

The above quote defines me to a T. I’ve rarely been one to stand up for myself. Instead, I am always trying to please others or keep the waters calm. I’m not one to rock the boat, especially not in new situations or with new friends. I just don’t want to offend, anger, or upset anyone in any way. So, when I find myself in toxic relationships it is especially draining and emotionally taxing because I will give up so much of myself to try to please the other person to no avail.

Why can't we all just be at peace?!

“Toxic friends stress you out, use you, are unreliable, are overly demanding, and don’t give anything back”

Only recently have I started to focus on doing more things for “me” and stop doing everything to please others at the expense of my own happiness. This is a HUGE step for me especially when I am living in a place that is so far away from home, my family, and my best friends. I have had to break a few ties since moving here and, while it was hard at the time, it turned out to be very emotionally freeing. I’m nowhere near cured of the “toxic” curse or the guilt that I still feel sometimes, but I’m making small steps.

I feel so freeeeeee!!!

I have some GREAT friends (and a great boyfriend) in my life and I realized recently that I was wasting so much time worrying about the toxic relationships that it was taking away from those great relationships in my life. What good is worrying about someone who doesn’t deserve that worry when it’s at the expense of those good friends that would do anything for me?

Friends through thick and thin

So, going forward, I am making an effort to be a little more self-preserving and a little less of a doormat. I think it’s important to cherish the good friends in life!

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10 thoughts on “Toxic friends

  1. I would hate to say it, but I think my best friend is my toxic friend. I’m always walking on eggshells with her to not say something to upset her or to make her mad at me. She always makes me feel like crap if I can’t do the plans she wants to do. It’s like I literally avoid her sometimes to keep myself from having to feel awkward or have to be anyone but myself. It’s sad how we keep friends like this around for the little time here and there that does make them fun to be around.

    I can totally relate to this post and although I have removed some friends in the past from my life due to them being toxic, I definitely still have some, or at least one, that I keep around knowing that I shouldn’t.

  2. we’re so much alike. I had a couple of those in my life. I keep it simple now. I’m still a pleaser though. For better or worse. I’m trying to do me now, its hard some days.

  3. I can definetly relate to this! About 3 years ago, I realized that I was constantly doing things for others, and making concessions in my life due to pressure, instead of doing what I really wanted.

    When I stopped this and tried to live my life for me instead of others, people’s true colors came out. I have a “friend” who I have definetly distanced myself from recently, mainly because when I started this “me” campaign, she was clearly bothered by it. Would make snide,passive aggressive comments when I would disagree with her, or not want to do exactly what she wanted to do. It was then that I realized how controlling she was, and how much I had let her control my life. When she said something rude about my boyfriend, and proceeded to tell our mutual friends her feelings on him and how she doesn’t think we are good together, I realized I needed to back off of that friendship. No one benefited from it at all.

    Its really hard, especially because we still see each other sometimes, but I know it’s for the best, and I don’t need friends that make me unhappy!

  4. Its amazing how we all have them; whether we want to notice it at the time or not. I had a big toxic friend in my life until about a little over 2 years ago when they hurt me deeply, and I realized that I didn’t need to continue to feel the way she was making me feel about myself anymore. After walking away, I couldn’t be happier where I’m at right now.

  5. This was a great post. Your paragraph about being a pleaser describes ME to a T! I totally avoid confrontation, avoid rocking the boat, and smooth things over when possible. And I too am learning how to stand up for myself, say no to doing things I don’t want to do, and not feel guilty about it. One thing that has really helped me is my blog! It is okay to just be ME! You can’t please everyone.
    And I definitely have a toxic friend who is like the “leader” and talks bad about everyone behind their backs, so I just know she says terrible things about me. She always harps on me for not wanting to go out to the bar, and I used to really let it bother me so I would come up with an excuse for why I couldn’t go. No more. If I don’t want to go, I don’t want to go. I don’t need an excuse, and I don’t need to feel guilty for saying no to something that isn’t what I want to do.
    Phew – rant!!! Anyway, good post 🙂 And hooray for good friends!

  6. I dumped that friend about 2 years ago and never felt better. She was always negative, a bitch, and just not fun. At some point you have to take out the trash and get those people out of your life. I still think about her from time to time since we were friends about 25 yrs but I know it is for the best that we don’t talk.

  7. The way you describe yourself is actually how my best friend is. She’s a pleaser. Always very polite and nice. Doesn’t like to cause waves and kinda is a people watcher. Which of course means I have no idea why she likes me. But I’m glad she does! I think we need people like you. I don’t mean doormats, but I think amiable people are awesome. There are so many jerks out there, it’s refreshing to have someone who is genuinely nice.

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