The Difficulty Of Ending Toxic Friendships

It Took Me 4 Years To End An Obviously Toxic Friendship

It's not as easy as it seems.

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Backstory: Last February, I cut off my best friend of four and a half years. Rather than ghosting them, I decided to send them a message explaining why I could no longer keep them around for the sake of my mental and physical health.

This person believed that I dropped them "out of the blue," but in reality, I had been building up the courage to end my friendship with them for years.

We met shortly before our Junior year of high school. There was no awkwardness, not even at the beginning. We greeted each other with a giant hug without even knowing each other's names yet.

We were instant friends. We both had the "where have you been all my life" mentality upon meeting each other.

However, during the course of our friendship, their abusive tendencies would make occasional appearances, only to take full effect towards the end of our friendship.

I was physically abused. I was punched, slapped and even bitten. This would happen when I would simply say something funny, which was categorized as "stupid" by them. They didn't like my goofy side or my overall happiness.

I was mentally, emotionally and verbally abused as well. Neglect started to rear its ugly head shortly after starting college.

I was made to believe I was incompetent. I was told that I'm a bad person for not going to church and that they couldn't have people in their life who didn't live according to their standards.

I was told to trade a part of my identity (take a guess) for a seat in their church.

I was even told that because of my identity, I never should have been born.

Now you're probably thinking, "If they were that horrible to you, why didn't you leave sooner?"

Looking back, I wish I'd never been part of that friendship in the first place. However, not every part of that friendship was bad. In fact, for a period of time, they were the best friend I'd ever had.

Emotional abuse is a slow process that can have the victim blindsided for a long time.

A friend recently explained an accurate metaphor for emotional abuse: If you touch the stove and it's cold, you can tell that it's safe to touch. However, if you touch the stove and it's hot, you immediately pull away. You can tell that it's dangerous and that you need to avoid it. Emotional abuse would be like putting your hand on the stove and keeping it there while it slowly heats up. It gradually gets worse and worse, but this takes place so slowly that it's not even noticeable.

It's only when you finally take your hand off the stove and see that you're burned that you realize how much damage was done.

It's only when I left them that I realized how badly I was burned.

I didn't want to admit I had a toxic friend. As someone who is very people-oriented, I view my relationships with others as extremely important.

For me to admit I was part of an unhealthy friendship made me feel like a failure, even though I was the victim.

Most importantly, choosing to remove a harmful person from my life came with a price. I was getting rid of the good along with the bad.

I wasn't just cutting off a bully. I was cutting off a sleepover buddy, a choir and theatre buddy, a park day buddy, a brunch date, an Astronomy class friend, a member of the best friend group there ever was, a great conversationalist, a great listener, a best friend, and most importantly a sister.

I held on to the hope that things would get better if I put enough effort into saving our friendship. When I realized that I was the only one that cared, I decided that enough was enough.

It wasn't until months after I ended our friendship that I realized how bad it truly was. I didn't want to admit it to myself, but doing so allowed me to realize my worth.

If you know someone who's in a toxic friendship/relationship that they are still in, keep in mind that there's probably history behind that relationship. It's not as easy as it seems.

Encourage them, support them and help them make the right decision. A strong support system when making difficult decisions makes all the difference.

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To The Girl Who Always Feels Left Out

Maybe next time...
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To the girl who always feels left out,

Girl, let me just tell you, I know the feeling. It feels as though my whole life, I have been that girl. You know that feeling when you are standing in a group of people and someone comes up and asks everyone to go to lunch in that group... But you?

Or they make it even worse by saying "Oh, I guess you can come too." You guess I can come to?

No, thank you.

At that point, you feel like the only reason you are being invited is that they feel like they have to. Which more than likely is actually the case. What about when you ask your friend to hang out and she can't because she will be doing homework all night? However, an hour later, you see her with your other best friend. Oh okay cool, sorry for bothering you with my friendship.

You know you are the girl who is always left out when you are the designated "photographer" or you have to specifically ask if you can take a picture with them because they are obviously done taking pictures and did not want one with you.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who 'Float' Between Friend Groups

We all know "Hey, will you take this picture of us?" all too well. Am I right, ladies? Oh yeah, it is fine. I hate being in pictures. I definitely hate taking pictures to remember this wonderful time I'm having.

What about when you and your friends discuss doing something later during the week and you ask about it but "It's probably not happening anymore." Then you check and would you look at that, your "friends" are having fun without you.

Shocker.

Oh but don't worry about it, I had things to do anyway. You know, clean the house, work on homework that is due next week, binge-watch The Office for the third time this week. Fun stuff. Oh and better yet when you see your friends are hanging out without you. The next time they see you, they talk about how much fun they had.

Oh yes, please tell me about how much fun you had without me. I totally enjoy hearing about how "I totally missed out" and "I should have come." Well, an invite would have been well appreciated. But maybe next time, right? Wrong.


Yeah, I know what you are thinking, "Wow this girl is being so petty." Well if you are thinking that, then you obviously do not know the feeling. And to think about it, you probably are not the one in the friend group who is being left out. So think about who that person is and make them feel included next time. It would be greatly appreciated. You do not know how much of a difference it could make.

Yes, I know everyone feels left out sometimes, but time after time, it starts to get really old. Then after you have to start inviting yourself to hang out with people, you realize well since they are not inviting me themselves, maybe they don't want me here. And then surprisingly, you stop hanging out with them. Hmmm, I wonder what could've possibly happened.


Yes, I know, most people do not do this on purpose. I am sure I have even done it once or twice without realizing it, and I am truly sorry.

From one left out girl to another,

Good Luck

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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7 Signs You've Found An Authentic Friend

Never take true friendships for granted.

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In a generation like ours, sometimes it's hard to distinguish a lifelong friend from a temporary one. There are friends for every part of your life: your childhood friends, college friends, work friends, and even friends that you play poker with at your retirement home. But one thing holds true during your life journey, hold on to your authentic friends. Here's how to distinguish one from an ordinary friend.

1. They remember specific details you've told them in the past.

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How did they remember that your dog was turning 12 on June 6th? It's because they genuinely take the time to listen to you. This shows how much they care and want to know about your life.

2. They care about your well-being.

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If you've heard your friend say things like "drive safe" or "text me when your flight lands", this shows how much they care about your safety. Authentic friends will make sure you are protected and feeling happy.

3. They always want the best for you.

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We all know there is a big difference between a jealous friend and a supportive friend. Surrounding yourself with friends that want the best for you is important. More positivity will be brought in your life if you are aware of maintaining an encouraging environment for yourself.

4. They will be extremely honest with you.

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True friends say it like it is. They won't lie and tell you your skirt matches your shoes if it doesn't. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to distinguishing a genuine friend.

5. They keep your secrets safe.

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You can trust them and tell them anything. Authentic friends won't repeat secrets you've told them to anyone else, and this is such a refreshing feeling! These are reliable and trustworthy people.

6. They will go out of their way to help you.

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This relates to caring about your well-being because they will do anything for you. Your true friends will go the extra mile without hesitation. They will be there for you wherever you need them and won't expect a favor in return.

7. They embrace your goofy side.

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Everybody's got one! If you are able to be your true goofy self around your people then you, my friend, have found a true one! Enjoy being weirdos together.

If any of your friends meet these criteria, then you are blessed! Never take your true friendships for granted.

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