Toxic friendships: Do you have one?
Lauren gives her tips for dealing with a toxic friendship
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact email@example.com.
Everyone at one time or another has made a friend, lost a friend, or kept a friend for years. A friend is someone who makes you laugh, gives you a shoulder to cry on, and helps you get through different phases of your life.
We’ve all read the so-called ‘listicles’ about “17 Reasons Your BFF is your Absolute BFF”, but nobody ever talks about what to do when a friendship (old or new) starts to become toxic. Toxic is a scary word, but it’s very appropriate in the case of someone who is making your life more difficult.
Have you ever had a friend, even one of your closest, that made you feel really bad about yourself? Constantly put you down, subtly told you that you needed to change to suit others, made you feel like a second option and put you last, or made little of things you loved?
In my fourteen years of school, I’ve experienced my fair share of objectively crappy friends. And instead of making you go through the ups and downs, the melodramatic fights and make ups, and the ocean of tears, I’m going to help you out with a few simple pieces of advice.
- Talk to them. If this person is a friend worth having, having a mature conversation about how you feel should clear things up, and make them realise what they’ve been doing.
- If it continues even after a chat about how you feel, it’s time to evaluate your friendship. Is it worth having your feelings hurt on a daily basis to keep this person around?
- The answer is no. They might be your oldest friend, but that doesn’t mean they’re a good friend, or a friend that you have to stay with despite them being crappy human beings.
- If they’re always being mean, constantly belittling you and not supporting you in life at all then it’s time to cut them out of your life. The ‘cutting out’ of a friend sounds really harsh but sometimes, it’s what you need to do. Yes, it’s hard and very sad, especially if you two go way back, but if your self-esteem or mental well-being is at risk then it’s definitely for the best.
- If you do decide to cut someone out of your life, remember to be mature, as it will only reflect badly on you. It’s important to maintain respect for someone, even if they don’t do the same.
It all seems so simple when you write it down, but know that it’s going to be difficult, and you’re probably going to make a few mistakes along the way. Just try and remember that you are not a bad person for wanting to have positive people around you.