Why it’s OKAY to ditch toxic friends (& how to do it…)

We all need friends.

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Okay, so admittedly I don’t know the two blokes in this photo…

They’re the ones who have you rolling on the floor giggling, the ones who sit and help you eat the tonne of ice cream and watch crappy films when your hearts been broken. They’re the ones who join you on your wildest adventures and the ones you can reminise with after OneTooManyGlassesOfWine. There is no doubting that life is made much better with friends.

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Except sometimes it isn’t.

Sometimes there are people we’re surrounded by that no longer bring positive things to our life.

Jim Rohn famously claimed we are the product of the 5 people we spend the most time around

It’s common sense then that these should be the people who raise you up (not drag you down…)

The ‘Facebook Cleanse’ has become a thing- removing people from your Facebook who you no longer speak to, no longer want to speak to or you’re just sick of clogging your feed.  But what about when you want to apply it to real life?

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Step 1: Identify toxic friends

“The self obsessed one”

We’ve all been there. One sided conversations and constant life dramas without so much as a ‘So how are you?’. Not necessarily a ditch situation- try explaining you feel things have been a little ‘one sided’ and see how things go. Still ranting away? Ditch and find someone you can have a two way conversation with.

All about me

“The bad influence”

Raising a little hell with a friend is part of the fun. But then there’s the friend who almost gets you dumped/arrested/killed/fired every time you go out. Maybe funny the first time, but ruining your own life can wear thin… Try suggesting some calmer activities to do together. Not interested? Ditch, and let them find someone else’s life to ruin.

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“The drain”

Good friend are there for your rant after one of those days. But then there’s the friend who finds something negative in every situation and as a consequence leaves you feeling drained. Also known as “The Hoover”, cause they suck the life out of you… Often people like these are struggling with difficulties in their own life. Shower them with love and try and help them see the good side of things.

Still making you feel terrible about life?

Ditch their draining attitude and find a friend with some rose tinted glasses. They’ll help you see the best of the world, instead of the negative all the time.

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“The diet obsessed one”

You’re not eating THAT are you. Need I even explain this one? Dinner is no fun when you don’t actually eat any of your dinner and no one needs to feel bad about going for round 2 on the buffet. If you think they might have a genuine issue try helping them. If they just enjoy being miserable and sugar deprived, ditch.

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“The one who never apologises”

You know that friend who treats you really badly then graces you with radio silence? Yeah- not okay. Being the one to break the ice the first few times may seem okay, but if it’s turning into constantly apologising for their bad behaviour, its time to ditch.

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“The one who only takes the best offer”

Dinner plans cancelled because they got a better offer? Okay- there are some OnceInALifetime occasions that it would be criminal to turn down, but if your friend is just constantly taking the best offer, it’s time to ditch. Not only does it make you feel crappy, they obviously don’t think that much of your company. Which is ridiculous….because you’re fabulous (obvs).

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“The bitchy one”

If you have an issue with someone, the best way to resolve it is always in a none confrontational conversation. ‘Friends’ smiling to your face and bitching behind your back will leave you feeling drained. Try asking them what’s upset them. If they still can’t find the balls to tell you to your face? Ditch- and feel the weight drop off your shoulders.

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Step 2: Identify why you’ve held on to those toxic friendships 

  1. Popularity

We’ve been bombarded with the idea that being popular is the key to happiness- just watch any American high school  film and you’ll know exactly what I mean. But the fact is that quantity does not mean quality. Being popular means trying to please everyone, all the time. Not only does that mean we’re not being true to ourselves, but its nearly impossible to do. Plus, when you add adult life to the equation, your free time is cut down. Why waste that precious time pleasing people you don’t even like?

2. Make friends, make friends, never ever break friends

‘Childhood’ friends are friendships you are mean to cherish and keep. But the truth is, if someone has started to be a toxic influence in your life now, all that history means very little. Family you’re born with, but friends you choose. You don’t have to keep the ones who make you unhappy. Plus it’s okay if you’ve changed and drifted as a consequence- change is natural and the way we grow.

3. They’re part of the ‘group’

Okay, I’ll admit this one is a little tricky. No one wants to risk rocking the boat for the sake of a tiff with someone else. So while you may not want to leave the group, you can minimise the impact of that toxic friendship within it. Avoid spending one on one time with them, or spend more one on one time with members of the group to avoid those awkward group social situations. Plus, maybe its time to make a few new friendships groups. This doesn’t mean you have to totally drop out of the other one- just have other ones to spend time with.

4. You’re worried what they’ll say about you

If this is a consideration, then this is reason enough to ditch that friend. They may go and bad mouth you afterwards, but consider a few things. A) Do you care who they’re bad mouthing you to? B) If you do, would they really believe it? C) The truth always comes out. If they’ve treated you like sh*t and blamed it on you, it’s likely they’ll do the same to the next friend (and the next). Let it go and let karma do its thing.

Step 3: Do the ditching

The dream would be to have it out, sort it out and live happily ever after. The reality is that sometimes, no matter how hard you try there is just no saving a friendship. Time to stop wasting time and energy and ditch that toxic mate. But how?

Tactic 1: Set those boundaries

This is a great first step in minimising the effects of a toxic friend if you’re not ready to go the whole hog and cut them out. Instead of letting said mate get you down due to ‘x,y and z’, set your boundaries. This might mean saying ‘no’ to things you don’t want to do or just setting rules for how you’ll respond to situations. Just make sure you enforce them to avoid getting back into a friendship rut.giphy-13

Tactic 2: Ghost

Ghosting has kind of a bad rep but it can actually be the best confrontation- free way to get out of those toxic friendships…especially when you know saying something will only end in more drama. Plus, in an age when everyone is constantly ‘too busy’ it can simply come across as the natural fizzling out of a  friendship. Stop bothering to reach out and avoid socialising with them. I’d also suggest ‘hiding’ their updates on social media (as supposed to deleting) leaving you feeling totally free…

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Unfortunately, this can lead to confrontation when they twig you want out. If you really can’t resolve the situation, it’s time for Tactic 3.

Tactic 3: Total Cut Off

Sometimes friends do something so awful that you have no choice but to go cold turkey. That, or you’ve tried all you can try, and you’ve finally reached breaking point. Delete, block and walk your way to a drama free life. Winning.

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And finally….

Don’t go and make new friends with exactly the same issues as the ones you’ve cut ties with. Focus on friends that inspire you and build you up.

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And you know, like food.

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