How to End a Toxic Friendship

Not all friendships are meant to last forever. People grow and change, and sometimes certain friendships just don’t work out in the end. However, sometimes friendships don’t just naturally end; sometimes a person can give someone else a tangible reason to end the friendship. Toxic friendships are all too real, and they are definitely hard to navigate. There are many ways to go about attempting to end a toxic friendship, and in this article, we've decided to show you (from personal experience) what has helped us the most in maneuvering a position as difficult as this one.

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The first step is to talk to the person about what’s been happening. Confronting someone is never easy, but when done correctly with healthy communication, it has the ability to make a situation better. Remember in high school health class when we learned those “I feel” statements? It turns out they’re actually super real and super helpful! Especially in confrontation, it is extremely important to not make the other person feel attacked, no matter how much you believe you’re right and they’re wrong. Even if this is one hundred percent the case, coming across as attacking never solves anything. Explain to the person the situation in terms of how everything makes you feel. If they are willing to listen, apologize, and change their actions, then that’s awesome! If not, however, then you have every right to tell that person that you just cannot be their friend anymore, or begin distancing yourself from them.

If you choose to begin distancing yourself from the person, and perhaps just stop reaching out to them altogether, you may find that they never reach out to you either. In realizing this, you may, in turn, realize that you have always been the one to reach out first. Although this is an extremely heartbreaking realization, it is an important life lesson that will help you in the long run. If someone is not willing to ever show you the same energy back in a friendship, then they most likely are simply not worth your time in the first place. Like most things we experience in life, take it, learn from it, and move on. 

Following along with distancing yourself from this person, it is completely normal and okay to unfollow and/or block them on social media. It seems like in today’s society and with our generation, unfollowing someone and then taking a step further and blocking that person, is seen as a petty and godforsaken act, when in reality, this is not at all the case. If you have the ability to choose to not see this person on social media, then why wouldn’t you block them? It’s also a myth that blocking someone means you can never even make eye contact with that person in public ever again. It is perfectly normal to block someone and still act civil with them in person. Of course, everything is situational, and even though you may want to unfollow or block the person, perhaps you feel like it would make those around you uncomfortable. For this reason, the mute feature on Twitter and Instagram is your new best friend. You can literally take the same action as unfollowing someone without them even knowing! Special shoutout to Twitter and Instagram for helping to make scraping out the toxic people in your life easier than ever. 

 

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Sometimes a person who was a toxic person to you still stays friends with your friends, and that is perfectly fine. An important note to make to your friends, however, is that they cannot come to you with problems revolving around that person. This can be very damaging to your mental health. As long as you communicate this to your friends in a healthy way and they care about your emotional and mental wellbeing, then this should not be a problem. Your real friends will always be understanding and considerate of your feelings in a situation like this.

Ending any friendship is always going to be hard, and even knowing that you’ll be better off without someone in the end doesn’t always make it easier. Perhaps one of the most important life lessons I’ve learned so far is that sometimes you need to forgive someone without ever receiving an apology. You can’t always trust that someone else will give you closure; sometimes you have to give it to yourself. With that being said, life is hard enough without having someone you call your friend hold you back from being your best self. Everyone deserves a strong support system of people who love them and only want the absolute best for them. You deserve all of these things.