Toxic friendships can be like someone putting a weight around your ankles and asking you to go for a swim in the pool…
Friendships aren’t always the best thing for our lives. There are times where we may get trapped in friendships that are unhealthy or toxic the same way we may get trapped in a toxic relationship. Ending a friendship isn’t something that anyone wants to do, and knowing when it’s time to end a friendship can give everyone a sense of freedom and peace back in their lives.
“There’s an old myth that frogs will pull down other frogs trying to escape a pot of boiling water. That’s likely the stuff of folklore, but the dynamic is real: In everyone’s life, there will always be people who will resist, threaten and sabotage the possibility of self-improvement,” says relationship development expert AJ Harbinger.
But how do you know if your friendship is toxic or just plain annoying?
According to Nicole Martinez, Psy.D. LCPC, toxic people “may have a number of motives. Some of them think that you will no longer want them in your life if you are to grow and get healthier as a person.”
Friendships that hold us back don’t do anything for either person, and learning to let go will move us forward in our lives. Here are some ways to let go and end a friendship that is holding you back from being your very best self.
Here Are 6 Ways To Release Attachments To Toxic Friendships
1. Find a support system
If it’s time to end a friendship, you need to make sure you have a support system of other friends who can help you. Ending a friendship when you don’t have positive relationships in your life can often leave you feeling alone and depressed.
Lifestyle guru Kris Carr says, “Seek guidance from a coach, therapist or a really grounded friend — the kind that loves you unconditionally and isn’t afraid to (metaphorically) slap you back to reality.”
It’s important to keep a support network of good, positive friendships around you when it’s time to end a friendship that’s holding you back. It will help you heal and move on, and make sure you don’t let yourself fall back into the toxic friendship.
2. Don’t ghost them
It may be tempting to just stop talking to the friend you need to let go of altogether, but imagine how you would feel if that happened to you. Putting good energy in the world is always more effective than putting out negativity energies. Not only will it cause unnecessary hurt, but it can also cause drama. Instead, make sure you make it clear that the friendship has stopped being good and positive, and that you think it’s best if you go your separate ways – or, if the friendship is already on its last leg, let it end naturally.
3. Stand your ground
Sometimes, people won’t understand that ending a friendship is just as serious as ending a relationship. Your former friend may try to continue on as things were. However, if you know that the friendship is holding you back and isn’t good for you, then you need to stand your ground.
To help you stand your ground ,Wiki How states that “making a script ahead of time, and practicing, can help you stay calm and on track when confronting a toxic person. Write down all your thoughts first. Try to pull out the most important thoughts and form a few clear sentences explaining why you’re ending the relationship.”
Don’t let them guilt you into being friends again – a friendship built on guilt can only crumble again. If they want to apologize, let them speak their piece but don’t allow it to change your mind.
4. Explain how you feel
What is it about the friendship that isn’t working? What makes it so toxic? What makes you feel as if you’re being held back by the friendship? Explaining how you feel is much better than just telling this person you no longer want to be friends. Not only is it good for you to express your emotions, but it’s good to be honest without being cruel. It should be your last act as this person’s friend to be honest with them about what you’re feeling and why the friendship isn’t working.
5. Talk in public
Instead of doing something like this in a private setting where you’re more likely to be manipulated by an emotional scene, take it to a public setting. “It’s not unheard of for toxic people to get belligerent or even violent. Talking to them publicly can significantly diminish the chances of this happening,” adds Harbinger.
Go out for lunch or something of the sort, sit down, and have a real, honest talk. When you’re in public, someone is much less likely to be able to cause a scene or manipulate and guilt you into staying friends with them. Other people around will often keep them in check and allow you to leave when you feel it’s time to do so.
Leave, and don’t let yourself look back on the friendship. When it’s over, it’s over. Of course, you’re always going to have the memories of your times together, even the times where you thought the relationship was healthy. But, the fact of the matter is, letting yourself move forward instead of looking back and continuing to speak to the former friend off and on is the only way that you’re going to be healed all the way. Letting yourself “look back” in the form of checking up on your friend is only going to hurt both them and you.
Letting go of a friendship isn’t fun, but it will allow you to move forward with your life. Toxic friendships should be taken as seriously as any other toxic relationship. When the friendship is over, you will be able to foster more positive relationships that will let you heal.
“Under the influence of a toxic person, you might second guess yourself on an important decision. You might even take on some of the same toxic qualities you resent in others — something that happens to the best of us — because toxic people have a peculiar way of making you toxic yourself,” adds Harbinger.
Don’t be afraid to end a relationship that is no longer working for you, because on the other side are more friendships that will make your life more fulfilling.