How to deal with a toxic friendship

I am not an expert but in my experience toxicity is something that slowly builds over time, it may be jealousy or conflicting ideology but it is something that you don’t generally see coming until it’s too late.

Ending friendships isn’t a decision to take lightly and relationships with your friends need the same investment as a relationship with a spouse! But if the below list of strategies do not alleviate the toxicity then it is time to put the friendship on hold; your friend may just need time to grow in their own direction and when they have then you can look at rekindling it.

Tough talking here, toxicity in any relationship is BAD FOR YOU, it’s bad for your friend and others involved too. It can cause anxiety and depression; you should fill your life with positivity and surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you – not the worst. 

Here are some tips on how to deal with a toxic friendship:

Talk

First on your list, talk to your friend. Choose a neutral setting for you both, take them out to lunch and ask them directly how their behaviour makes you feel. Ask them what is making them emit toxic behaviour, but also be honest with them too; if you are the one emitting the toxicity then be honest about why you are doing it. You may naturally come to the conclusion together that a break would be better or it will air your misgivings and you can work on them together.

Set Boundaries

I had a friend once that would call me at 2am whenever they would have a drunken fight with their partner – this started happening about three times a week and was exhausting. I told them that I had set-up a contact block on my phone for between 11pm and 7am for their number so they wouldn’t get through. Although initially upset, given a few weeks to let it sink in, this boundary worked. I was more respected and not being taken advantage of…and in the end she got rid of the deadbeat boyfriend.

Life Partner Test

Yes your friendships are just as important as a relationship but if the behaviour has become so noxious ask yourself this: if they were your life partner you would end the relationship? Listen honestly to your reply. If you make the decision to take a step back, it will be hard and just like in any relationship should be handled with maturity and be done openly – no text break-ups as your friend deserves more than that.

Seek Out Professional Help

You will be privy to your friend’s thoughts and feelings. If s/he is displaying toxic qualities then you should be concerned for their emotional and mental health, you may be the only person to see them if they are hiding them from others and so you may want to seek help whether from a counsellor  or helpline. We all have struggles and maybe your friend needs someone to guide them towards talking to someone before they themselves can admit they need help.

People always have struggles in their life, friends should build you up not tear you down. I remember a saying that there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women – I think this is true of everyone, not just women. I hope that we all start to practice acceptance and love so that toxic behaviours are something that can always be worked out.

Catherine
Catherine

Catherine works in international marketing and events, she has a passion for sharing her knowledge to help others in their career. A keen traveler she has lived in New Zealand, China and England, and explored a lot more of the world; Catherine describes herself as a cup half full and embraces her busy life at 100mph.

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