Dealing with a toxic friendship

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? A great friend, someone you really trust, who can sometimes take more than they give. You know the one I mean, you probably knew them at school or at uni or they might be one of your oldest childhood friends. Unfortunately, most of us have experienced the friend that makes you feel negative after every time you see them. This can be for a multitude of reasons; they’re going through stuff and take it out on you, they rely and depend on you and don’t support you back, or they can just be demeaning and controlling. Here are our tips for dealing with it:

Do they have problems that are making them like this?

If you notice they start to become ‘toxic’, it may be because they have stuff going on that is stopping them from being a good friend. Ask them if something is up and if you can help them. If you can’t, try to support them whilst they get through it, if you can help them then do. That is what friends are for, right?

Address the problem

If they don’t have anything going on and are showing not so kind traits such as subtle bullying, offensive digs or prioritising their problems over yours, you could bring it up in a polite way. Ask them, don’t confront them, and see if they can see it from your point of view – they might realise they haven’t been kind and change their attitude towards you.

Have some time apart

If the last step only resulted in either an argument or some hostility, explain that you’re ok but you need to regroup. Spend a couple of weeks with other friends or keeping your distance – if you start to feel lighter or less stressed, it might be because you’re not surrounding yourself with a toxic person.

Cut off but don’t ghost

If you realise you do have a toxic friend, it can be really sad to cut them off. It feels a bit like grief or heartbreak, but sometimes it’s necessary before you end the friendship with a bust-up. Don’t block them from everything and don’t be rude, just fade out a bit from their life. You can still say happy birthday, congratulate them on a new job and smile when you see them in town, but you don’t need to be as close as you used to be.

Recovering from a friendship split

Sometimes when you lose a close friend you can wonder how you’ll have that with another person, you can feel quite lonely. The universe does provide! With this new-found time, you will notice that new friends DO come into your life, even if it takes a bit of time. Try to keep yourself busy to distract from the ‘loss’ feeling. Go out and meet other people, things will work out!

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