How to get over a toxic friendship
By Sara Șchiopu.
Photograph by Daria Stoide.
We’ve all been there. We’ve all had one friend that was always asking for advice, yet never listening to it, that was constantly tearing us down, then acting like we were the dramatic ones, that one friend that could always count on you, but you could never count on them. The friend that left, even though you did nothing wrong.
It happens. People change, and sometimes they can become quite toxic. Friend-breakups can hurt a lot, but it’s often better to just let it go. So, here are a few tips to help you get over it:
1. Be sad. Let your feelings out.
Yes, I know this one doesn’t exactly sound like “moving on”, but you cannot move on if you do not acknowledge the way you feel. Take your time. Watch your favorite movies while eating ice-cream (it’s so cliché, but I swear it works!). Listen to those sad songs that remind you of “the good old days”. Make sure you take it all out. I promise you’ll feel better afterward. Accepting your feelings is very important, and there’s no shame in being sad or angry.
2. Accept the change.
This one is a bit harder. It might feel impossible in the beginning, but you have to understand that things will never be the same between you two. And that’s ok because you’re better off alone than next to somebody who won’t let you grow. There’s not much you can do about a friend leaving (especially if they ghost you), so it’s better to accept the situation as it is. Remember: when a person leaves, three better find their way to you.
3. Figure out what went wrong.
Now that your mind is clear and you’ve finally understood that you can’t turn back the hands of time, you can try to find what caused your breakup. It could be their fault, but it could be yours as well. However, I think that it’s never only one person’s fault, so it’s important that you take both sides of the story into consideration. Once you discover the differences that made you two grow apart, it’ll be much easier to see why it’s better this way and to accept things as they are. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to dwell on it. If you can’t see an end to the constant overthinking and wondering, don’t let your entire life be dictated by this.
4. Talk about it.
It will do wonders. There are so many people who are willing to help you, even though it may not seem like it. First of all, your family will always be there for you, but, if you don’t feel comfortable enough to tell them, talk to another friend you trust. Turn to a therapist if you think it will help, and don’t be afraid that you’re overreacting. Your feelings are your own, and if something affects you, it means it’s important. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Don’t keep it all to yourself. Allow yourself to get rid of the negative energy. As long as you’re respectful when it comes to your ex-friend and you’re not spreading any rumors about them (which you shouldn’t do, not under any circumstances), you have nothing to be scared of.
5. Apologize, if it’s the case.
Saying “sorry” won’t glue your friendship back together (at least, not every time), but it will, at least, make you feel better, because you’ll know you’ve done everything you could to make it right again. You might even find that the two of you find some common ground, and even if you don’t mend your friendship, you can at least better understand the root of the problem. Even if it’s not your fault, you should try to apologize in case you’ve ever hurt them. Be a more mature person. Saying you’re sorry won’t make you look weak.
6. Meet new people.
To stop talking to somebody isn’t the end of the world, even if it can feel like it! There are so many amazing people out there that can’t wait to meet someone like you, so don’t spend the rest of your life thinking that you’ll never meet new great friends. Just have faith and don’t lose your patience.
7. Don’t be afraid to put yourself first.
This is the most important step. No matter what happens, no matter what challenges you face, you and your health, both mental and physical, are more important than anything. The moment you start loving yourself is the moment you truly start living. Just because some people leave doesn’t mean that you are not good enough for them. It means you are too much for them to take (in a good way, obviously!). Remember, you are incredible. Your flaws only make you more of a real person, and sometimes it is alright for others to decide if they can or cannot love you for who you are. Most importantly, that single person is never the only source of love in your life.
Never let anybody take away your happiness. You will have good friends, but you’ll also have toxic ones, which is normal and expected in life. Learn something from every experience, and never forget that even the smallest things happen for a reason. After you get over it, you will stand taller than before and you will be a much better person. You’re strong, so never let anything bring you down.