Ending a Long Friendship
I didn't know my best friend was toxic.
This is gonna be a tough one.
About a year ago, I decided to end a thirteen-year friendship with my best friend. What made me do it was the fact that I noticed I kept feeling really down when I was around him. I was getting to a good place and I just felt like he was bringing me down. Now, I understand that he was going through a rough time as well. He was separated from his husband. So at that point, our friendship to me felt more like an obligation. I was just getting drained every time I was with him.
We were best friends for thirteen years. He was there for me, and I was there for him. It just started to get to the point if I had a problem he would try and find a bigger problem with himself. I tried to give him advice and help him out as best as I could, but he would ignore it. He gloated a LOT. I mean A LOT! For example, I was promoted last year and I told him. Then, he said he got a pay raise.
I told him congratulations. He told me good job. I thought nothing of it, we talked and I couldn't help but feel that everything we talked about was about him. I was also still recovering from my ACL surgeries and having a tough time. I told him about it, and he would again try and up his problem. It started to become this cycle I wanted to end. I would sit and spend hours listening to what he was going through, but I would barely get a word in.
Last summer we went on this ghost walk through a plantation where we live. I had a great time. I felt a small tug on my shirt, and as soon as I felt it, our tour guide said that children run around tugging shirts. I found that amazing! Anyway, he told me he saw a dark shadow in the window standing behind him. I looked, there was a window in front of us and a window behind us. The way the lighting was in that room was casting long shadows.
So pretty much our reflections were kind of bouncing off of each other, plus the lighting casting the shadows. I told him that. He didn't want to believe me. I thought, OK well let's just enjoy the tour. We finished off the tour and we went up stairs to check out the rest of the house. I didn't get a bad feeling or anything. I was having an amazing time discovering a lot of history and exploring the house.
Once we got to the third-floor landing, I looked at him and he didn't look like himself. It was as if his face morphed into something evil. Of course, I tried to figure it out. Maybe it was the lighting, the way the shadows were dancing across the room, or my mind playing tricks on me. But not soon after I saw his face change, his mood was just awful. He felt more comfortable in the room where a really strict nanny used to live. That kinda freaked me out a little bit.
I bought a few things from the gift shop and we headed out. Not as soon as we left he said he felt drained. As if something just drained his energy. Now that confused me because the tour guide said that there was a lot of positive energy in the house, which I did in fact feel. I felt amazing and awesome. But him saying he felt drained was just weird.
We get into my truck and all of sudden I felt this rage out of nowhere. I wanted to beat the crap out of him. I really wanted to just hurt him. I've NEVER felt that before. It scared me because out of nowhere I wanted to beat up my best friend. I even wanted to leave him on the side of the road and not care what happened to him. We finally get back to his place and we start talking to his sister.
After about an hour or so he stepped outside to smoke a cigarette. That's when I came clean to her about what I felt in my truck. Her eyes widened and told me that ever since he moved in with her, there's been this clouding darkness in her place all of a sudden. He comes back in and I just unload everything. He comes up with excuse after excuse. I even told him that I went out of my way to give him a job. That's when he called my coworkers morons, and that's when I knew.
I said my good night to them both and drove home rethinking the last thirteen years. Everything that stuck out in my mind. From me buying almost everything, me going out of my way to be there for him, his gloating, him trying to one-up everything I did—just almost everything. I brought this up to my NOW best friend, and he shook his head and told me that he seemed to bring me down without knowing it. I kept recalling every memory I could, and I did start to notice the pattern. All the times I tried to help him with his smoking, his drinking, or his depression just didn't seem to take. It was as if he wasn't hearing me for the last thirteen years.
I can only try for so long, but it was getting to the point where I was getting exhausted. I can only help someone so much to the point where I can't help them anymore. The turning point was when I got concert tickets to a concert out of town for my birthday and a hotel for a few nights. I asked my NOW best friend to go with me instead of my now ex best friend. I didn't want to be in my truck with a chain smoker, was my number one reason. He also drank a LOT, and I knew he would turn my birthday weekend into his. He got really upset when I said I couldn't take him out for his birthday.
I told him I already dropped a lot of money on my trip, but he still didn't want to hear it. He went on about tradition. OK, cool, but it was HIS tradition. For thirteen years we always went out for his birthday, and when it came to mine, he didn't really do anything for me. Call me selfish, but I found that a little hard to take. He got really upset when I didn't wish him a happy birthday. It's not that I forgot, it was because I was trying to cut that cord. I just felt like he didn't care about me anymore.
So flash forward to now. We haven't talked at all, except for when I found out he was in a bad car accident. I reached out and said that I was glad that he was OK. I truly meant it. But ever since then, we've both went our separate ways. I became more positive, not feeling as drained as I used to when I used to hang out with him. When I hang out with my friends now, it's nothing but happiness.
Everyone is praising everyone for their accomplishments, not bringing anyone down, taking care of someone if they had too much to drink. I've missed things like that in a friendship. It took me a long time to realize that I had a toxic friend. I didn't think anything of it until last year. I really do wish him the best, I truly do. But he doesn't seem to have changed his ways at all. It seems now he's turned things into a competition. Like he's trying to see which one of us is doing better.
I'll post something about having an amazing time with friends, and even something positive. He'll come back a few days later with a post with almost the same thing I've done. We're still friends on social media, but like I said we haven't talked in about a year. I'm doing well, and even better now because I'm more positive about things. Last I heard about him, he and his husband worked everything out, which I am truly happy about. I do wish him well, I just wish he didn't keep to his ways.
He was like this poison I couldn't find a cure for. When I did, the poison tried to come back, but I kept it at bay. Even though we had our good times, and he was there for me a few times, I just couldn't help but feel he was trying to compete with me. It was as if what I did wasn't that amazing to him. But I would uplift him when he achieved something. I wanted to be his best friend, but he kept making it a little harder and harder as the years went on. I just wasn't able to do it anymore.
It's hard to let go of a long friendship—it really is, but you have to think about yourself and be selfish every once and while. It's great to be there for your friends, it really is. But you have to figure out those that will be there for you: praise you, even if it's a small victory, be there at three in the morning when you're having a breakdown, won't bring you down or make you feel worse.
It's not that you're giving up on a friendship, you're letting go: letting go of someone bring you down, letting go of someone draining all your time and energy., letting go of someone that's competing with you, letting go of someone that wouldn't acknowledge an accomplishment, letting go of someone that would constantly peer pressure you into something you don't want to do, letting go of all the stress a toxic friendship brings.
It may sound selfish, but like I said, taking time for you every now and then isn't a bad thing. Being able to be around amazing people that will lift you up no matter how small something is to you—it's huge to them. Friendships are going to come and go. But finding those friendships where BOTH of you are praising each other and being positive for each other, those are the friendships that I believe are going to last for a very long time. Sometimes you'll find those types of friendships in the last place you would think to look.