Friendships ought to be beautiful, supportive, loyal and filled with a great love and admiration for one another. Like sisters, every so often, two friends can form deeper and HEALTHIER bonds than sisters do. But occasionally, friendships fail to serve one or both well. When is a friendship toxic?
Have you been anxious or hesitant about sharing your news with your so-called bestie when meeting someone new, a hot new crush? Have you been promoted at work but withheld the oh-so exciting news from her simply because HER professional life is in shambles? Are you worried about how it might affect her? Are you dying to get that new hairstyle or hair colour, but worry how she would react to that? Do you expect MORE criticism than applause from her? Does she become jealous when you accomplish anything you set out to do, successfully? Does it affect your mood? Does it place a damper on your enthusiasm and contentment? Are you AFRAID to tell her anything GOOD? Does she ALWAYS redirect any conversation back to HER as though your news or announcement isn’t that big a deal?
These friendships are all AROUND us. Often, we KNOW this, but out of loyalty and value for a longstanding friendship, we tend to ignore or disregard the signs. They say that they encourage all that you do and are firmly “there for you”. They say that they will support you through any decision or choice you make. They promise to stand by you, irrespective of whether you might fail or whether you succeed. And they do …superficially.
Oh yes, by all means, when you fail they ARE quick to show up and show “support”. They are sinisterly vocal when they rub all the “I-told-you-so’s” in your face! They remind you of their stern warnings and powerful concerns that they initially warned you of! They were right … you were wrong! Do you perhaps detect a small amount of gloating? Can it be? Yet, when you succeed, they become quiet and it may seem to you as though they are sulking. There is no congratulatory message for you on a Facebook announcement or a private message to simply say, “well done”! There are no words such as “I knew you could do it” or “I am so proud of you”. They are silent. They watch, but they are silently blinded to your accomplishments. In an instant, they have managed to make you feel as a lesser version of yourself, without blinking or batting an eyelid.
So too, are your problems not AS important or as grave as their challenges are. They offer little to no emotional support and they NEVER check in to see if YOU are okay. The relationship becomes self-seeking and one-sided. It revolves only around the toxic friend. Anything of value in a friendship, or a sisterhood, is ALWAYS about what benefits the toxic friend. She NEVER has time for your plans, yet, you MUST be available to fit into hers at a moment’s notice. The friendship is by no means at all, equal. As you continue to give, she continues to unashamedly take from you. She becomes needy of you and tends to cling to her need OF what you can do for her. It becomes all about how you can serve her. The moment you bring another friend into your circle, she places a damper on the friendship and engages in utter negativity on any get-together or, she abruptly withdraws from any plans made which includes the new friend.
The moment you begin to dodge her calls, or make excuses to see her; the moment you realize how exhausted you are by the friendship, is the moment you have reached the point where you are compelled to identify it as toxic and break up with your friend. It is time to fire her, no matter how awkward, uncomfortable or daunting it seems; no matter how painful it may seem initially.
There are two ways to fire a toxic friend; let it fade out or break it right up! When you are a better friend than she is, it’s time to walk away. You don’t need permission and you certainly don’t owe ANYONE an explanation for this!