Drop Those Toxic Friends in Your Life
All good things, and in this case bad, must come to an end.
As a 20-year-old introvert, I am not afraid to admit that I have trouble making friends. However, I would like to just say to anyone who is having a hard time with their own friendships. DON’T STAY IN A TOXIC FRIENDSHIP. No matter if you have known this friend your whole life or if they’re your only friend. Speaking from my very recent experience, it is not worth the stress and pain to keep them in your life.
Recently I had a friendship (breakup). This friend had been in my life for almost 4 years and we had been “best friends,” even called sisters by others. Little did they know what kind of constant struggle it was to be friends with this person. I will call this friend “M.” You see “M” was the kind of person that had many issues that I will not divulge as I still respect that they are not a joking matter. However, having demons is no excuse to treat others as garbage, especially those you call “best friend.”
There are many instances as to why our friendship should have ended long, long ago. Though, I am not a very outspoken person and have trouble standing up for myself. Now the straw that broke the camel’s back will seem silly to most, but there are many other reasons besides that one. I will get to it later.
“M” had not always been my only friend. A few years earlier we had belonged to a mutual friend group of about 7. However, she was one of the few that I spent time with almost every day and I was the only one she spent time with regularly. To my (at the time I thought our) dismay, our friend group began to slowly grow apart. Now some just moved in different directions and that was okay as that is how life works, but there were also small incidents where “M” would pick fights and drive the rest away. Soon we were down to 1 friend left. I suppose she felt no need to drive “S” off. He was not around often, and he showered her with the attention she wanted. This was not my only red flag.
After many of our friends had been driven away, I slowly began to realize what kind of person she really was. At first, I believed she was thinking for our mutual wellbeing. However, I was very, very wrong. Every person who I became close with ended up the same as our old friends. They were either “too annoying” or they were backstabbing us and talking behind our backs, according to "M." So I became very uncomfortable around “M” knowing that no matter how much I liked new people, she would throw a fit until she got her way. If I did not comply with her wishes, she would stop talking to me for days and post to social media saying she had been “betrayed.” There were also many instances where she would make new friends of her own, and if it seemed like they were interested in being not only my her friend, but also mine. She would toss them to the side and repeat her cycle again.
Now I was still sticking around, because I felt bad for “M” as she had many issues that she blamed her behavior on. I also didn't like the idea of just dropping her, since she was my most "loyal" friend. However, this feeling of guilt for her began to fade as well. This was because she treated me as garbage. “M” had a tendency to tell me all of her problems and issues, very personal things that as I said are not a joking matter. Since “M” had such trust in me, I too felt I could tell her many of my own personal problems and issues, such as my depression and anxiety. I always treated “M” with respect when she told me her problems, but I was not given the same treatment. Many times, I told her serious things and she would tell other friends of hers about them and would joke behind my back. This caused me to spiral further into my self-loathing pit of depression. Always being told I was just being too sensitive, even though I know that if I told anyone about her similar issues it would be the end of the world as we know it.
Eventually I had come to a breaking point. I barely talked to her anymore about my personal issues. Afraid to say anything that would give her more ammunition to make me feel like a worthless human being. Finally, the day came when she went too far. She came to me and told me that she would like to EAT cat. Yes, this is what finally toppled our friendship, I know, silly to you. However, I am an avid cat lover and couldn’t bear the thought of someone I was close to eating a domesticated pet. (Even worse, might I add, SHE OWNED CATS.) I told her that I didn’t think eating cats was ethical or morally sound. “M” didn’t take that well. I presented to her facts that supported my argument since she was dead set on guilting me into agreeing with her. She even went as far as to use my depressiom as an excuse. That I would eat cats if I wasn't so depressed and "sensitive." I simply would not budge on the matter. “M” proceeded to go through her routine of ignoring me for a few days and ranting about me on social media.
I had enough. I cut all ties with her and felt amazing afterwards. Now “M” being the bitter person she was harassed me for days. Telling me all kinds of rotten things such as “Your boyfriend will never stay with someone like you.” (Funny thing is we are engaged to be married next year.) Anybody that we were both acquainted with was informed that I was just trying to get attention by ending our friendship. Even today she still posts comments about me. Now that it is all said and done, I don’t really feel angry anymore. I more or less feel bad for her that she can’t seem to move on with her life.
I write this story now as a warning to all of you. Don’t trust people who are obviously manipulating you and dragging you down. Being friendless is better than being in a toxic relationship with someone who doesn’t care about your wellbeing. After I broke off that one toxic branch, newer and stronger branches began to fill in around it. It was a learning experience for me and I am proud of my decision, no matter the ultimate cause to end my toxic friendship was. I now have a few good quality friends and have been working on my anxiety and depression. Without the worry of being mocked or gossiped about.
All in all just know that you are important, and that no one else should take precedence over your needs as an individual. No matter who they claim to be to you. Drop those toxic people and find better people to spend your energy on.
Thank you for reading. I hope you took something away this, as I have taken a new sense of self-worth.
Sincerely, Kat Bradford.