Adult friendships can be one of the hardest things to navigate. While it seems like everyone is happily coupled up with their BFF from fourth grade, others have had to part ways with their former confidants over the years. It may not always be easy, it can – at times – be necessary. In the road to a friendship breakup, the actual task can be difficult. However, nothing is more challenging than having to decide whether a friendship is worth saving. That’s when you have to ask yourself, you are in a toxic friendship?
If you had a boyfriend or girlfriend in say 6th grade (puppy love), 9th grade, or even in college – would people expect you to still be with them when you’re in your 20s and 30s? From experience, I can tell you the answer is no. In fact, it’s so unlikely that people find it ridiculous that you would still be with the same person. I mean, how is it possible that two people are compatible throughout all of the seasons of their lives. Haven’t you grown? Changed? Adapted who you are? Haven’t your needs and what you can offer transformed over the years?
Related: Why It’s Okay That Friendships End
Well, of course, they have. It’s not impossible, (case & point: Sahir and I have been together for almost 15 years) but it’s sure as hell not common. Similarly, deep friendships are also carved into your heart. You care for this person, advocate for them, cheer them up when they are down and celebrate their happiness. As life evolves, so do the people in your life and it’s okay to say goodbye and move on with peace in your heart.
Are you in a Toxic Friendship?
Figuring out if you are in a one-sided friendship can be hard work. Here’s what you need to do. Ask yourself the following questions and pay attention to how the questions make you feel. What is the first scenario that pops into your head when you read the situations below? Now be honest – this is between you and your computer browser.
- How To Know If You’re In A One-Sided Friendship
- Does your friend treat you differently when others are around?
- Do you trade off times when you get to vent/share what’s going on in your life?
- Do they keep your secrets?
- Do they avoid making plans & always end up canceling without rescheduling?
- Do they make you feel uncomfortable, nervous, or scared when you are around?
- Do you feel like you can be yourself around them?
- Do they support your goals?
- Do they make you feel guilt-tripped or manipulated?
- After spending time with them do you feel happy or drained?
- Are they competitive with you?
- Do they make you feel excluded?
- Do you ultimately feel like they want what’s best for you?
If you found yourself answering these questions and feeling that your friendship may not be as smooth as you thought – it may be time to reevaluate the friendship. Ultimately no online quiz or post can tell you what is right for you and your friendship. However, you should leave the guilt aside and realize that it’s completely normal for friendships to fade over time.
Related: Why It’s Okay That Friendships End
As you grow up, your time will become more scarce and you’ll realize that you need to surround yourself with people who encourage you, inspire you, and keep an overall positive atmosphere around you. If you’re looking for advice on how to break up with a friend, I highly recommend that you read my post, “How To Break Up With a Friend Like a Damn Adult” next.
Is The Friendship Worth Saving?
If you’ve decided that your friendship is worth saving, here are some things that you can do to lower the tension and get to a better place.
- Write out an apology taking full ownership in the part that you played in your friendship going south.
- Let the person know that you want to work things out, but you understand if they choose not to.
- Prioritize your friendship. It’s not a bad thing if you have to set daily or weekly reminders to call and check up on your friend. Do what you have to do to show up for them.
- Give yourself 30 days to reevaluate. Remember, you were once on the fence about this. If in a month things are looking up – great! You’re on a path to recovery! If you find yourself feeling drained or overwhelmed, that’s okay too.
Final Thoughts on Toxic Friendships
Toxic friendships can be bad for your mental health and overall wellbeing. It’s time to normalize letting go of things that don’t serve you in a positive way. Note: This doesn’t mean you need to throw a social media tantrum and blast the person, but a simple stated (or unstated) conversation usually does the trick. Most likely the other person has been feeling it too and wasn’t sure how to approach it either. Now you are both free to move on with your priorities and hopefully, down the line you’ll be able to be cordial with each other.