A few months ago, I met an old friend for lunch. We’ve been friends forever (like I-helped-you-pick-out-your-prom-dress-forever) and I count her as almost family. But something funny happened over sushi.
She rolled her eyes when I told her about the ebook I’m writing. She made a passive aggressive comment when I ordered my green juice. (“Oh. You’re one of those people now?”) And when I told her about the supportive comments I’d received on my dissertation, she suddenly became very interested in her phone. Halfway through my story, she interrupted me to show me a funny Instagram photo.
It hurt my heart to admit it, but our friendship had taken a turn for the toxic.
It didn’t matter that we’d shared a locker in eighth grade or that she knew my parents. Yes, we’d teased our bangs up to the sky and listened to New Kids On The Block together, but that didn’t change the fact that she wasn’t a good friend for me anymore.
Ending relationships is a decision we’re all faced with from time-to-time — whether it’s a co-worker, a high school friend, a romantic partner or even a family member, there are always people in our life that are no good for us.
And toxic friends aren’t even necessarily total jerks. They might just be people who discourage you, drain your energy, exude limiting, fear-based beliefs, or aren’t interested in self expansion or personal growth. You get to choose the people you surround yourself with.
And here's your reality check:
Just because you have history with someone doesn’t mean you need to make them part of your future.
Friendships are not quid pro quo. It’s lovely that you were there for them in the past or they were there for you. It doesn’t mean you owe them anything now.
So many women tend to be people-pleasers (I’m guilty of it, too!) and we really, really don’t want to have that conversation. That “I don't’ want to hang out with you anymore” conversation.
Instead, we drag things out and hope that if we’re slow returning their texts, they’ll get the message. Eventually, we’re upset with ourselves and overwhelmed with the obligation and tension of a unsatisfying relationship.
If a friendship isn’t fulfilling for you, it’s best for both of you to move on. Wouldn’t it break your heart if you knew someone was only spending time with you out of guilt or a shared past? It’s possible that this friend was a true soulmate — someone who came into your life for a specific reason and now it’s time for both of you to move on.
Of course, some people are more difficult to remove from our lives — siblings and in-laws, for example. But you can certainly limit how much you see them and (when appropriate) even challenge some of their toxic behaviors.
More importantly, get empowered. Invite some new people into your life. Surround yourself with people you admire, who possess qualities you’d like to see in yourself.
You deserve to feel uplifted and inspired.
The first step is to surround yourself with people who make you feel that way.
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