How to End A Toxic Friendship

In life you will come across a lot of different people. Some of them you will befriend, while others will pass by and you will never get to know them. While meeting someone new and becoming friends with them is an exciting adventure that can brings some good times, sometimes these friendships can end traumatically. If you feel your friendship with a certain individual has gone south and you need to end the toxic friendship immediately, you need to take certain steps to ensure it is done properly and not in haste. Before you begin taking the necessary steps to terminate the bad friendship, you need to make sure that it is truly toxic, in the first place. What is making you believe that the friendship is toxic? Does your friend speak badly behind your back about you to other people? Or maybe your friend is bringing you down a bad path, persuading you to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes? There are a lot of contributing factors to a toxic friendship. If you have a valid reason for believing the friendship is bad for you and have actual proof of the toxicity, you should start the steps to ending it completely.

In some cases specifically with longer friendships it might be possible to fix the relationship rather than destroying it completely. This decision will depend on three main things. Firstly, take a look at yourself and decide if you can handle the situation in a rational and calm way, and if you have the time needed to mend the relationship. Next, look at your friend and figure out if he or she is truly an essential piece to your life and whether you will benefit from having them as a friend. Lastly, you need to take a look at the toxicity and the severity of it. One example of a toxic relationship is when they have a substance abuse problem. Friends like that will just drag you down with them. 

If you decide that the relationship is too toxic and you want to dissolve it completely, you need to start the gradual process of removing the friendship from your life. Begin with small and subtle steps that are not abrupt and will not cause too much tension. Perform this task by gradually diminishing the amount of contact you have with this individual. If you usually text your friend all day, do not respond for a majority of the time and only respond when they begin to wonder if you are OK. If you usually go out to eat with your friend every Sunday, inform them you will not be able to make it. Simply steps like that will pave the way for the more obvious steps to come in the near future.

After you have began diminishing contact with your friend, they may become a little worried and curious about the reduction in time that you are spending with them. At this point you have two options, and the choice is up to you and your particular circumstances, along with the distinct personalities envolved.

The first option is to confront your friend about the toxicity, which is the option a majority of people take, especially when the toxicity involves talking behind their back, drinking excessively, and so forth. Before you decide to confront your friend, you need to ensure that the problem is worth confronting and if confronting your friend will change their behavior. Even if you are done with the relationship, you may want to confront them if they are doing something harmful for the sake of their health. A lot of people will also want to confront their friend to get some sort of piece of mind. For instance, you may be holding a lot of anger towards your friend for talking incessantly behind your back, and confronting them may leave you with a sense of closure. Make sure you are ready for this emotional step and any confrontations that may arise because of it.

The second option is to simply end the relationship peacefully. Inform them that you are no longer interested in being friends with them for some reason, but do not mention the toxicity (if you do, do not mention it in a negative or confronting manner). They may become angry, sad, or happy; but whatever the outcome, stick to your decision and do not give in.


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