Breakups are difficult. I have been through multiple in my life with friends as well as significant others. In all honesty, the friend was a more difficult situation. I recently broke up with a friend of about 14 years and that was probably the most difficult thing I have ever done. I was debating on ending it with them for the longest time and it took a whole lot of strength to leave this very toxic friend behind.
I knew they were toxic, I just kind of denied it up until recently. Three years ago, if I were told that this person was a bad influence on me and my mental health, I would have laughed.
Everyone needs to know when they are not in good friendship with someone. This is why I am writing this. Without further ado, let's look at the signs.
1) You feel insecure around them
I should have spotted this a while ago, but the first warning I got that this was not healthy is that I constantly felt insecure around them.
This started happening just around ten years old. I was what most consider a tomboy. I constantly wore really baggy t-shirts, loose-fitting jeans, sneakers, and my hair was a constant mess. I was the odd one out when it came to most girls my age, and that included the friend I was talking about. She often dressed older than her age.
When being around her at birthday parties or any function of the sort, she always looked at me like I was weird for dressing the way I do. She looked at me like I'd grown a third leg or something. This part wasn't that severe, but what happened two years later was something that kind of left a mark on my brain.
I was twelve and she was thirteen. I was still in this phase of being very modest and tomboy and she was still dressing the way she was years prior. We had originally gone to CVS to get some supplies to make a poster for a One Direction concert she was going to the next day, but she kind of wandered to the makeup section and I followed. She kept on saying that we should get some lipstick. Me being a goody-two-shoes, I tried sticking to the original plan. At the same time, however, I knew she would have a fit if I said no. So alas, we got the lipstick. I don't quite remember which shade she got, but I remember that I got this bright pink under the shade "Strawberry Milk." She had chosen it for me since I did not want any. When we came home from the store and got yelled at my brother for spending eighteen dollars on lipstick, my mom asked said friend why she made me get it. I will never forget this. She said she got me it because "I'm making Katlyn a girl."
Ever since she said that I constantly felt like I wasn't a "real girl." Even now I still feel like I am not. That's kind of what led to some toxic femininity later on. I can give several more anecdotes, but I think I have gotten my point across.
A friend is not supposed to make you feel bad about yourself. It's even worse if they try to change who you are. They are supposed to build you up and encourage you to be you.
If this is something that is very prominent in the relationship, they might be toxic for you and you need to cut them off.
2) You REALLY have to watch what you say
I was friends with this individual for fourteen years, and I spent about half of them not sure if what I said was going to start an argument (which was mainly just me sitting there while she yelled at me, but towards the end, I actually grew some balls and stood up to her. She didn't like that very much.). It started around the same time as the lipstick, maybe a bit earlier.
We didn't get to see each other often, so we texted a lot to make up for the lost time. I would sit at my phone TERRIFIED that she was going to find what I said rude or mean. Normally she didn't, but sometimes that wasn't the case. I remember this one specific time that I was talking about going to my other friend's house for a sleepover. She did not like that very much and started saying that I was a bad friend and started ripping on the other friend for no good reason. I remember that day and the pure dread I felt when I got a notification on my Samsung Flight II keyboard phone.
Though this was not the best thing ever, what was even worse was what I didn't say.
This started way later on when you could actually have read receipts for Snapchat and iMessage. I would look at a message of hers and go to bed, then the next morning I would get multiple messages bombarding me about why I did not respond to her. This would also happen in times where I would look at the message and then get another notification from something/someone else. I would get these passive-aggressive comments saying "oh you could post on your Snapchat but you couldn't respond to your best friend?"
In the end, you should not be afraid to get a message from your friend. In fact, you should be excited because it is someone you care about and that cares about you.
3) They are constantly jealous of other friends
I mentioned something similar in the last segment. Whenever I slept over this other friend's house, she would get really upset. She would call me a bad friend and try to convince me not to. I should mention that this was someone that she has had a qualm with for awhile. She claims later on that she was fine with the other friend, but I feel like she was lying.
A lot of the time I would feel guilty about being with this other friend. I would fall for this trick time and time again. She would even make me look for bad things about the other friend, which I tried to. It would not be until later that I realize that this is not something best friends do. She would make it seem like I was completely neglecting her when in all honesty, I was probably spending too much time with her.
Another big bout of jealousy came about just before I decided I was done with this friendship. She had slept over one night. That next afternoon I was supposed to go on a date. While we were watching Saw III, she just straight up told me that she hoped my date got canceled. This was kind of a big blow since I was genuinely excited about going out with this person. It actually made me really upset and I gave her an attitude later on when I was extremely nervous about this date. She had been giving me short word answers and that made me more irritated.
A friend is supposed to be happy for you when you're going out with someone.
A friend is supposed to be supportive when you want to hang out with other friends every once and awhile.
4) They are rarely, if ever, happy for you
I would like to say that I am a pretty accomplished person. I have gotten multiple opportunities in the time I've been alive that I should have been proud of.
This friend in particular almost made me feel bad about having all of these opportunities.
A great example of this was when I was in my high school's highly competitive band program. I was in the program for my entire high school career and that brought me some great opportunities, especially when it came to the marching band. However, this took up a lot of my time, which meant it was less time I was spending with this friend. As you can probably guess, she was not happy about this. It was a common conversation (an argument, more so) between me and her about how I should quit this program. I never understood why she wasn't ok with me being in a thing that I thoroughly enjoyed being in. My mom always told me it was jealousy. I now know that she was right.
The most recent showing of this was when I got into college. I was genuinely excited about this since I had recently gotten rejected by my dream school. I told everyone and all were pretty happy for me except this individual. It hurt since this was a person that I thought meant the world to me. She did not show her dislike for this until later. She constantly said that college was a waste of my time. Her true colors showed when something happened at the end of October.
My mental health was in critical condition and I had to come home. For more information about what happened, check out my article titled How I Finally Got Help. She kept implying that I should stay home and do online courses. To this day I am still not sure if she was genuinely caring or if it was something out of selfishness.
As I had stated before, a friend should be happy for you when you are brought these great experiences.
5) They are being manipulative
In my opinion, this is the number one reason why someone should leave a friendship. It is something that is just straight up not right.
It had seemed like that with this friend, whenever anything decent was happening in my neck of the woods something in her life would conveniently be going wrong. Whether something was actually going wrong is something I don't know. Me being a decent person, I would comfort her and tend to her needs. Not surprisingly, after I gave her attention, she would be just fine.
This was very prominent whenever we would have an argument or I would tell her no. She would immediately start making really angry posts that were obviously directed at me. When I told her that I was not canceling that one day I was going to have, she all of a sudden was upset about everything in her life. If I would just as much as tell her that I did not want to or couldn't hang out, she would use the same story she would use to attempt to get me to change my mind.
She almost just wanted me to feel horrible. She would constantly use my own emotions against me and would just try to make me seem like the bad guy. She knew that I was an emotionally sensitive person and knew that I would give in to any sob story that she could give me/make up. The day that I stopped doing that was the day the friendship would meet its end.
I could go on forever about these types of things but I'm just going to end this here.
In the end, it was a good decision to not talk to this friend anymore. She kind of made my life a living hell. I am not going to say she was completely bad, but it seemed like the bad always outweighed the good. I am currently still trying to adjust to a life without her and it is very difficult. However, it might have been the best type of self-care that I have ever done for myself.
Everyone deserves to be treated correctly and with care. People that treat you otherwise should not be a part of your life.