They say when we get older we get wiser.
This is most definitely true because we all learn from experience and our mistakes. Growing up we all want to make friends and be liked. I see it in my toddler when she’s playing with classmates. I feel she’s a lot more independent than I was at that age. She will sometimes lead the play ideas and will sit independently if they want to play something other than her idea. I grew up as an only child. I say that because like I’ve mentioned on my previous blog, it led me to be a bit quieter and a bit more complacent at times.
As we all get older, friends come in and out of our lives.
People move, we change careers, we have different interests, we have kids. These all can cause people to part ways. That is not the topic of this post. I am mentioning those toxic “friends.” The ones who take pleasure in your pain. The ones that call you to vent about their problems but hang up before they ask you how you are doing. It may be hard to spot these kinds of friends. Some of them may have started as close best friends. They could have been your friend since kindergarten or someone that was there for you when a family member died. That friend could then have morphed into a toxic relationship with you. They might not even realize it and you may be the only one experiencing it.
Regardless, the toxicity needs to be cut out because life is too damn short.
For me, high school was a great experience. I am still friends with some amazing girls I met there. I hate to mention how long we have all been friends because, well, I’m still mentally in my late 20s/early 30s ok! Hahaha. When I graduated, most of us went to different states and colleges. I still had my core 4–the girls I could be silly with but could cry with if I needed. During college, it felt like we would be friends for life. I lost my uncle during college and my core showed up for me. It was a tough time for me but they were there. We all went to grad school for completely different careers but I still felt like we were close and we all saw each other regularly. We would go to dinner or travel to each other’s schools for a girls’ trip. One friend completely changed in grad school. She became obsessed with looks. Ate unhealthy/or didn’t eat, underwent plastic surgery (which is FINE, if it’s your choice and makes you happy), and began to date someone that seemed like a great person. He seemed to be career-driven, close to his family, seemingly friendly to us. No red flags, or so I thought. As they became engaged, the real side began to show. Buying her diet pills/meals plans happened. The criticism of old photos of her at her thinnest/unhealthiest as “you do not look that skinny in these pictures” comments began to happen. The controlling who she saw or spoke to started to happen.
My friends and I took them badly.
We had all had a mini intervention with her when she was at her unhealthiest and had gotten her some help. She didn’t see anything wrong with him. I didn’t understand because I didn’t have a boyfriend and wasn’t engaged. Engagement apparently, according to her, changes everything. He criticized her folks, whom I love and had known forever! SIGNS!!!! I began to distance myself when she purposefully left one of our core out of the wedding party because she had appearances to keep up (our friend apparently wasn’t as wealthy as ours were) and I thankfully had started eating healthy and exercising. I have zero idea where she got that idea that we were all wealthy since all of us were children of immigrant parents and went to the same school originally. I was pissed. My other core friend was pissed yet our sweet friend that was left out wasn’t. She showed up to the wedding and helped with anything and everything because she’s amazing! I’ll leave the part out where she picked out our hair colors and demanded she approve any cuts and colors of hair before her wedding.
This is where I should have cut the toxicity. I felt deep inside that my true good friend was there. I stayed in contact.
Fast forward a couple of years, I get the weekly call for her to vent about her schooling and family drama. I get a “I got to run” before I even get asked how I am or how I’m doing. I’m in medical school too. I have a family and a boyfriend. I’m stressed, but nope not a hey how are you text. Her husband is mean and rude to her (a shock I’m sure to us all). He has forced her to stop communicating with her family because “his is superior” and their child should only be around his folks. I get a call. She wants to leave him so we support her! Yes! He’s done shady business deals with his family and roped her in. So many unfathomable things. My other core friend and fellow bridesmaid support her and advise her to leave him and move with her folks. I don’t speak ill of him. I get a call a month later. That she’s so happy with him. He’s amazing. She’s not sure why she thought the way she did. She doesn’t want to talk to our other friend anymore because she trashed her hubby and spoke mean things. I remind her we have our own opinions and we are going off of what she had told us, our many interactions with him, and our gut feelings. We “don’t understand because our friend doesn’t have a boyfriend and because I’m not engaged yet when I should be.” I hang up and realize I can’t anymore. I’m done. My other friends are supportive, loving, opinionated and nothing this girl is saying they are. I decided to cut her out of my life. I have not looked back. She called maybe twice the next year to catch up but I ignored the calls. I felt lighter. Happier. Yes, I am still close to my 2 best friends from high school.
So I pose the same questions I did before.
With the history you’ve read above I have created a list of questions I ask myself about someone I deem toxic. Depending on the answer, I either work on the relationship or cut them out.
1. Do you gain anything from this relationship?
I don’t mean gifts or financially. I mean emotionally what do you get out of the relationship? Does this person support you? Worry about you? Bring you happiness?
If you answer no, then cutting that toxic person out of your life is Acceptable and Highly Encouraged.
2. Do they care about you and your feelings?
This is pretty straightforward. Does this person bring you up or put you down? Do they make mean, insensitive comments with malice? If they put you down, then cutting that toxic person out of your life is Acceptable and Highly Encouraged.
3. My last and most important question: If this friend were not in your future, would you be ok and happy with that? Or would you miss them?
If you see that your future is perfectly fine without this friend, then cutting that toxic person out of your life is Acceptable and Highly Encouraged. If you would miss them, then please work on the relationship. My main point is that if you’ll be happy then please don’t feel guilty about cutting out toxic friends. Your mental health is VERY IMPORTANT. You are not being selfish.