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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do :: Walking Away From A Toxic Friendship

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do :: Walking Away From A Toxic Friendship | Columbia SC Moms BlogIt’s hard enough as a teenager to “break-up” with a boyfriend/girlfriend, but when you’re in your thirties? And what if it’s a friendship that is ending? Devastating is the best word to describe how that feels. As adults, we certainly don’t think there would be relationships that mimic high school drama … but sadly it happens. And it’s okay to walk away.

My Story

It was never really difficult for me to make friends, and fortunately I’ve had some really great ones throughout my life. Some have come and gone without much drama, while a select few have left a lasting impression. I feel like I’m an okay people-reader and can usually detect a phony. So at this point in my life, with all the friendship knowledge I have acquired over the years, I should easily spot if I’m being taken advantage of, right?! Wrong. It was as easy to figure out as a toddler’s emotions … (and for those who can figure that out, please help me with life!). 

Not A Lifelong Friend, But Rather An Instant Sister

I formed my sisterly bond with this girl when I was in my mid-twenties. I met her through a friend of my then-boyfriend-now-husband. They started dating and would come around often so naturally we became friends. We quickly bonded over Korean food and the love of shopping/nail salon day trips. We were two different personalities that complimented each other’s like peanut butter and jelly (yummy). 

You know the feeling you get when a friend shares something deep with you and it takes that bond to another level? Well, that’s what happened in the beginning. We had a very strong bond and genuinely cared for each other like sisters. As the years went by, we were each a part of the other’s special moments. Marriages, babies and becoming Godmothers to our new God-babies! Of course there were the venting sessions and being the other’s supporter during arguments with the men. That’s what friendship is all about … always being there for the other. 

When You Realize Times Have Changed … As Well As People

Life happens and people change. It’s a part of this earthly world and something everyone goes through. But what do you do when you feel like you’re each walking a path that goes in a different direction?

There are definitely signs that tell you when it’s time to part ways and move on. We all know not everyone you were once super close to will remain in that special space. And knowing it’s okay to move in different directions is so important. It will not lessen the pain of losing someone who was so important to you and in your life. But you will learn from it and come out better.

For me, it helped me realize what type of friend I want and the importance of saying “no” to certain things. Saying yes to every request does not make you the perfect friend. Having to say no does not make you a bad friend either. With all things in life, there must be a balance. Finding that balance can be tricky. But if you follow your instincts and intuition, you will never compromise yourself, or an honest friendship. 

A Good Time To Walk Away

  • She takes advantage of you. Sure friends help each other out, but if she needs you for every single thing, your friend may not be valuing your friendship the same way you do. If she doesn’t make time for you the way you make time for her, then it might be time to part ways.
  • You can’t trust her. Trust is the backbone of any good relationship. If you discover her stories are inconsistent or she just flat our lies to you, don’t ignore your gut feeling that tells you something is wrong. Trust isn’t trivial—when this bond is broken it’s a sign you need to revaluate the friendship.
  • She tries to seclude you from other people. It’s healthy to have a variety of friends and spend time with those who are important to you. A good friend supports these relationships and knows that just because you make new friends or spend time with others, it doesn’t take away from the friendship the two of you have. No one should try to keep you “all to themselves.”
  • The friendship is emotionally draining. We have enough stress in our daily lives. You shouldn’t feel anxious about spending time with a friend or relieved once they leave. If you’re purposefully ignoring her calls or trying to come up with excuses to break your plans, it might time to break up. Letting go can bring much needed peace to your life.

Now that I’ve been toxic friendship-free for about 2 years, I can confidently say that I’m happy it happened. I learned valuable lessons along the way. They were very difficult and unpleasant to go through, but it changed me as a person, a friend and a mother. I now know what it is that I want out of my friendships, and I don’t have time or energy to expel otherwise. Especially on someone who does not want the same for me as they do from me. 

If you’re experiencing something similar or have in the past, I pray you know that certain people are brought into your life to bring you love and happiness, while others are meant to teach you lessons. Each interaction is important and already planned out. It’s how you respond and what you learn from it that matters. 

In the end, you still have those really good memories to cherish. So don’t be bitter, don’t distrust … and don’t let one bad apple spoil your taste buds. Just be a little bit more mindful in the future and enjoy the life you were meant to live! 

Have you left a toxic friendship?

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2 Responses to Breaking Up Is Hard To Do :: Walking Away From A Toxic Friendship

  1. Danielle August 1, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

    I had to walk away from a toxic friendship about 11 years ago. She was my best friend but we were living on other sides of the continent and she tried to pull me into a family conflict. I essentially put my hands up and said, “I love you, but I’m not doing this.” Seven years later she reached out and apologized for how she’d handled the situation and we reconnected. The friendship isn’t the same, but it is much healthier than it used to be. Resisting the urge to be hateful allowed for that and I’m so glad it did.

    • Stephanie August 2, 2017 at 9:58 am #

      Hi Danielle! I’m sorry to hear that your friendship even had to go through that, but happy it has been reconciled. Im not sure if the same will hold true for me, but if it does I would gladly talk about it and hope to resolve. My old friend chose to distance herself once I nicely brought up how the friendship had become very one sided. Although I know your relationship can never truly be what it once was, I hope over time things will get better! 🙂 Thank you for reading and sharing!

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