Signs You Should Let Go of a Friend

People often talk about toxic aspects of romantic relationships, but we generally don’t talk about how friends can also negatively affect you. We need to think critically about how the people in our lives treat us and analyze the manipulative traits they might be showing. Consider letting friends go if:


1) They take up too much of your energy

Whether you’re an extrovert, introvert, or somewhere in between, you’ve got to keep a balance of your social energy. I’m personally more of an introvert, and I’m very happy to spend lots of time around people: as long as I have my time alone. If a person isn’t respecting that I need that time, the best that I can do is try to get them to understand. But if they’re not listening and are still trying to take up more and more of my social and emotional energy, they might not be the best friend to have around. ​


2) They guilt you out of the option to say “no”

When you’re in college, your friends are around you constantly. My friends and I casually ask each other all the time if we’d like to get food. When I have time, it’s easy to grab a quick meal at the dining hall with them. The thing is, the simple answer of “no” should always be an option. A good response when someone tells you no should be, “Okay, no worries!” or “That’s fine, we’ll get lunch another time.” If you tell someone no and they respond with “But we never see each other, you’re always busy!” or “Please, it won’t take long, you can do work later,” you might be reluctant to say no next time when that choice should always be there. These may seem innocent enough, but if they’re constant and mixed with taking up too much of your energy (as in, it always does take a long time), it can be exhausting. Good friends shouldn’t make other friends feel guilty for saying no to something.


3) They take away time and attention from other people that matter in your life

With all of this time spent giving your energy and saying yes to things you shouldn’t be, it could take away time from other people that you care about. My friends are very important to me, so something starts to click in my brain if someone gets in the way of my other friendships. If they’re isolating you and saying negative things about people they know are your friends, that’s not a good sign. Since I’ve let go of a toxic friend, I’ve been more engaged with my other friends.


Toxic friends use manipulative tactics to make you feel bad and force you to pay attention to who they see as important: themselves! Don’t feel bad for only keeping the people that support you in your life and cutting out people who hurt you. Friends are supposed to feel good. Friendships can certainly take work and you should put effort into them, but you have to ask yourself: what are you benefitting from in your friendships? Ask yourself for individual interactions too: how does this person make you feel in this moment? Keep in mind who and what is important to you, and try to judge what is best for different situations. Friendships should be given as much thought as romantic relationships, because they can affect you just as deeply.


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