7 Steps To Help You Move On From a Toxic Friendship

Life can be hectic at times, and you can find yourself so absorbed in your daily routines that you don’t notice when problems arise, especially within your relationships. I recently experienced a toxic friendship for the first time. This person was monopolizing my time, made me feel bad for not being with them or doing things with them 24/7, and they tried to put their personal problems on my shoulders. Despite these negative effects, my toxic friendship also taught me a lot. I learned how to stand up for myself and deal with difficult situations in a calm and collected manner. Here are 7 things I did to move on from my toxic friendship:

1. Take a break.

Sometimes people need time to reflect on things and see them from an unbiased and detached standpoint. That’s why I decided to take a break from my friendship for a couple of weeks to clear my mind. I avoided most forms of contact besides casual greetings and academic discussions in class. Although it was difficult at first, it was doable.

2. Determine your boundaries.

Taking a break really opened my eyes and let me see that I was not happy with my friendship. There were certain boundaries that I had let them cross (which I normally wouldn’t) because I felt pressured to do so in order to keep them happy. I was scared to upset them in any way, and that is not a healthy mindset to have in a friendship (or any relationship for that matter). That’s why you need to know your boundaries and stay firm in them. You should not compromise your happiness for someone else’s.

3. Talk it out.

Just because a friendship is toxic does not mean it can’t be saved. Sometimes people can be toxic to you without even knowing it. You can help them realize that, but you can’t make them change. Both parties need to be willing to work things out and find some common ground without sacrificing anyone’s boundaries. I’ve learned that the best way to solve any problem is to talk it out. After you’ve had time to reflect and collect your thoughts, sit down and speak face-to-face with your friend. Let them know your boundaries and what you expect from your friendship. Listen to what they have to say too, but don’t let them make you feel like everything is your fault because it’s not. It takes two to tango.

4. Be supportive but not a savior.

Even after talking it out, your friend might try to place the blame on you for your failed friendship, but this behavior is most likely a reflection of their inner turmoil. They might have their own problems that they need to work out, but it is not your responsibility to carry that burden for them. You can be supportive and try to help, but you are not their savior. Make sure they understand that because you should not sacrifice your happiness and well-being to try and fix someone else. That is not your job.

5. Stay firm with your boundaries.

If you manage to talk things out with your friend and you both come to an understanding, your friendship is redeemable. However, your friend might return to their old habits (sometimes without even realizing it), and if that happens, you cannot let them walk all over you again. You need to be strong and stand up for yourself. Remind them of your boundaries and don’t let them take advantage of you or your friendship.

6. Learn to let go if things don’t work out.

Sometimes friendships cannot be fixed, and that’s okay. People can be incompatible and can leave just as quickly as they entered your life. You are not meant to stay friends with everyone you meet. That’s just a part of life that you need to get used to. Letting go is very hard (trust me, I know), but sometimes it’s for the best. After all, your happiness, health and well-being should be your primary concern. 

7. Meet new people!

Getting out of a toxic friendship can be tough and can even feel like a breakup sometimes, but it’s not the end of the world. You can always meet new people and make new friends. There’s a whole world of opportunity and open hearts waiting for you.