To My Toxic Friend, I Want Us To End
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To My Toxic Friend, I Hope You Understand Why I Want Us To End

Our friendship was borne out of loneliness. Now, it brings me misery.

Joshua Sazon / Unsplash

Dear "Friend,"

You see, there's no amazing way to start an article like this, where I'm fully aware that I'm exposing more of myself than I have ever exposed to any singular person, and posting such a vulnerable piece on the internet to be viewed by literally anyone with a connection. But I'm doing this because I'm cowardly, and hoping that you will read this and see yourself through my perspective, and finally put out the flickering candle of our friendship without me actually having to confront you.

It's shameful, I'm aware, to subject so many years of friendship to this ending, the equivalent of breaking up with someone over text. I know there are better ways to handle this situation. But, the problem is, I feel like with you, with us, I simply have no other choice.

I've tried it all. I've distanced myself in text, never replying on time. I haven't made plans with you in ages. We're put in a situation of close proximity almost daily, yet I barely talk to you. For a while, I don't think you actually noticed that I was slipping away, attempting to pull a Houdini on our friendship. But one day, you noticed. And you've been pulling on my coattails ever since.

I sound like a terrible person, attempting to break off a friendship, that, to you, seems to be from no particular reason. I know why you want us to be a thing, why you would be so resistant to the ending of our friendship.

Funnily enough, though, I know that it also has nothing to do with me.

Our friendship was borne out of loneliness. You claim that we've been friends since kindergarten, but honestly, I have no actual recollection of a relationship between us that might be seen as a friendship until third grade.

Third grade was a rough year for me. Third grade was the first time I had my own words used against me, and I was nearly powerless to stop it, too intimidated both by my then-bully and the idea of my own weakness to actually do anything. My bully ruled by life back then, taking credit for my work while forbidding me to even talk to my best friend back then. Our relationship was borne out of my desperation not to sit alone at lunch and recess, and your loneliness was borne out of your best friend growing increasingly close to another girl. But we didn't grow close until at least middle school, when all our elementary school qualms had been more or less dealt with.

From the moment they met you, my parents didn't like you. They saw you as selfish, and while I was defensive about my friends back then, in retrospect, I can't help but see that they were right. In fact, that is all I can see you as. Selfish.

A friendship is supposed to be a two-way street, and that's something ours has never been.

You're only ever fully engaged in a conversation if it revolves around you, or something you brought up, and a previously lively conversation always become stilted the moment it drifts away from your premises. You always seem to be competing with me, and you never congratulate me on my successes. Instead, you ask me how I achieved it, and demand to know an in depth-analysis on why you didn't prevail. You thrive on being the center of attention, whether it be love, pity or comic relief. Everything is on your terms — we hang out when you're bored, and you bail on me when you decide that, for appearance's sake, you'd rather hang with someone else.

I understand that these are all very human desires. Everyone wants status, recognition and success. But with you, I feel unsettled. You want all of these to an extreme degree, and I know you would sacrifice my well-being in a heartbeat if only it would boost your standings in any of these areas. I know, because you've done it many a times before.

I'm your back-burner friend. Someone you go to to get solace for your problems and emotional insight so that your other, more desirable friends won't have to deal with your emotional baggage, but someone you would never hang out with if you had the choice. I recognize this with great weightiness, because for a while, I was convinced that this would blossom into something more. After all, there's no better way to bond with someone than the exposition of the most intimate parts of yourself.

I think you recognize this too. This is why you're clinging onto me. You can't bear to see me go, because I've been your dutiful secret and emotional-baggage keeper. To you, I'm the equivalent of your childhood home, valued simply because I've been such a constant in your life. And to some degree, this also applies to me. No matter how miserable I've become, it's hard to throw nearly a decade of "friendship" down the drain.

But it's been years, and I'm exhausted.

I am many things, but not delusional. I know that if I want to be treated with more respect, then I need to get out.

The same shoddy reason I'm writing this article is why we lasted for so long. My observations are not of a new development. I've looked at and analyzed you for years, made easier with all the emotional baggage you insist on dumping on me. I know you better than the back of my hand, possibly better than you know yourself. I know your strengths and your weaknesses, and I know that the culmination of everything you are is exactly what is bringing me misery in our friendship. I know it, yet I'm too cowardly to confront you about it and properly leave.

So I guess, that leaves me where I started with this entire spiel: scared and anxious and miserable in our relationship. But maybe, I've progressed. Before this, I've never told this to another breathing soul, yet as of now now, I've potentially told millions. There is some part of me that lives on as fearless, and perhaps it was that part of me that manifested itself and got me to open up. Regardless, this is the first step.

Tonight, I've officially given you access to the inner workings of my miserable mind, if only you know where to look. Tomorrow, perhaps, I'll be telling this to you in person.


A (Potentially Less) Cowardly Soul

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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