How to end toxic friendships

While developing and maintaining friendships can be challenging, they can be rewarding when you share similar values and experiences with your friends. However, there are some friends who aren’t meant to stay in your circle. Especially if you don’t feel happy around them. Could it be time for you to unfriend some people? Here’s my advice.

What is a toxic friend?

A toxic friendship will mostly likely bring out the worst parts of you instead of the best. Your decisions may be influenced by them. For instance, feeling pressured to take drugs or drink alcohol. Another example of toxic behaviour’s talking about having more than one sexual partner as though there is nothing wrong with it. We both know that it’s really not a good idea because it makes you more likely to contract sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV. So, pay close attention to what your friends are saying and doing, and think about whether this is positive or toxic.

How to let go of toxic friends

Recognise that it’s toxic: It’s important to be honest with yourself about the friendship. Once you’ve recognised that it’s unhealthy and toxic, it’ll be easier for you to end it because you’re clear about why it’s not working for you.

Forgive yourself: To be honest, toxic friends are hard to identify early on in the friendship. This is because they tend to manipulate you into thinking that they’re good people so that they can gain your trust. When the pretence soon wears off, you start to feel used and uncomfortable. Although there may be times when you beat yourself up for not recognising their toxic qualities, you need to remember that it’s not your fault. You did nothing wrong. 

Let them know: Some toxic friendships need to be formally broken off. Take time to think about what you want to say to them. Make sure that you explain how their behaviour affects you and why the relationship needs to end. Feel free to explain why you’re not interested in mending the friendship and don’t let any manipulation make you change your mind.

Limit contact: Once you’ve decided to end the friendship, slowly detach emotionally to limit their ability to manipulate you. It’s also okay to unfollow or unfriend them on your social media platforms. When you limit communication, it’ll help you focus on your needs and wants.

Invest in healthy friendships: It’s important that you also recognise friendships that bring out the best in you and spend more time with those friends. You deserve to be with people who are supportive and who want the best for you.

Your peace of mind’s really important, Choma. Your friendships should feel supportive, safe and fun. Don’t be afraid to unfriend someone, especially if you’re always feeling uncomfortable around them.

Remember if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).