Do you have a friendship that
isn't turning out the way you'd hoped it would? Is your previously supportive, reliable,
loving BFF disappointing you? Draining you? Hurting you? Is she making unreasonable
demands? Breaking her promises? Betraying a confidence? If so, take comfort in the
fact that you're not alone.
In truth, even the deepest
friendships don't always last forever. Our teenage years are full of life-altering
challenges — physical, emotional, academic and social. All these changes feed our
insecurities, spark envy and jealousy, and can cause huge shifts and upsets with
the people to whom we are closest.
The term “toxic friendship”
refers to a variety of relationships that are generally negative instead of positive.
Patterns develop that can make you feel like you can’t be yourself, and you feel
like you're walking around with an emotional ball and chain around your heart. If
you find you have a toxic friend — one that feels out-of-synch — you must decide
if it's worth continuing the relationship. It may be more trouble than it's worth
and it’s time to call it quits.
Girls have a hard time getting
themselves away from a toxic friend. We aren't always sure we deserve to receive
what we give. We like feeling needed, and we get stuck feeling either angry or sorry
for our friend. It seems easier to overlook, forgive and forget than to make positive
changes by simply removing the negative influences.
Before deciding whether your
friendship is beyond repair, think about these questions. Sometimes, the situation
is crystal clear (stealing your boyfriend, for example), but, sometimes, the red
flags of a toxic friend are more difficult to see.
Red Flag # 1:
Is she self-centered,
sneaky, deceitful or disloyal?
Red Flag #2:
Does she take
the time to listen to you and support your interests or does she get jealous when
things go your way?
Red Flag #3:
Does she show
off at your expense?
Red Flag #4:
Is she constantly
finding fault with you, criticizing what you do, say or wear?
Red Flag #5:
time with her, do you feel depressed? Tense? Trapped?
Red Flag #6:
Are your secrets
safe with her, or do you worry that she'll gossip and betray your confidence?
Red Flag #7:
Does she care
about what you say? Does she get it? Or does she just use you as a sounding board?
Red Flag #8:
Is she competitive,
always trying to outshine or one-up you?
Another way to determine whether
this friendship is worthwhile is to think about how you feel when you're planning
to see her. Is it more of an obligation than a pleasure? When her name pops up on
your phone or on the computer, do you look forward to answering? If the answer is
no, it might be time to address the problem and initiate a break.
All relationships are about
the right fit. It's a difficult but natural part of life for two friends to drift
apart and pursue different paths. If you're not connecting or clicking as you once
did, it doesn't mean one of you is any better than the other — it just might mean
you're not meant to be friends right now.
So, how do you let her know
you want out of this friendship? Here are our suggestions:
- Pick a time good for each of you along with a place where
you can talk face-to-face. Face-to-face is the only way to have this type of conversation.
Doing it over the phone, online or through text messages just isn’t appropriate.
Misunderstandings happen when you don’t talk face-to-face.
- Before you meet, you need to plan what you are going
to say. Being straightforward, however, by saying something like “We need to take
a break from a while” gets to the point.
- When she asks for your reason for the ending of the friendship,
remember not to be hurtful. Instead, let her know you have thought about this and
explain your feelings. Don’t point out her flaws. Make it about you and not her.
- Finally, continue to be polite and respectful of her.
Don’t talk about what happened behind her back either.