When Good Friends turn Bad, It’s Time to Leave.

Friends are good for us, right?  That’s what health and wellness experts at the Mayo Clinic say, that good friends offer companionship, improve self-worth and help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illnesses, and death of a loved one.  

But what if your “bestie”, no longer has your best intentions and feelings at heart? 

According to Psychology Today, finding yourself in the company of others who lie to you and drag your energy can cause greater stress and anxiety, especially if they don’t help you be who you want to be.  This kind of bad, toxic friendship can drain you and make you doubt yourself. That is exactly what happened to me and my best friend of nearly 14 years. 

We met during the excitement and confusion of our late 20s, as we both stumbled through the world of ‘late blooming’ new careers, balancing budgets and bags of groceries.  While I dressed to impress for the available suitors for whom I was far too eager, she was busy with mom life shuffling kids to school and negotiating diaper service. Yet, we were both lost in the discovery of what this whole adulting thing was actually about.  

Best of girlfriends, a jewel found in the roughest of times.  She was there to help me survive the death of my dad, I was there for her when she got divorced.  She moved to Florida, I moved to Denver.  Our lives were in sync and we were in tune to each other.  Eventually we both returned home to Seattle the same year.  Even with the vacillating great distances between us, for over 14 years we still found the time to make each other a priority.  

It wasn’t any sense of geographical distance that killed our relationship, it was the empty space between us, after I found that she had repeatedly lied, to me and all of her family. But most important, she was lying to herself.

“The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others.  And having no respect he ceases to love.”

~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

If any of these resonate with you, chances are you’re living in an unhealthy toxic friendship: 

  • The BIG ASK:  They may white lie to your face and tell you “I’ll call you later”, never to call, but what’s worse is when they ask you to lie for them.  Being used as a coverup is not fair or healthy to the relationship, especially when you lean on someone as an excuse for “no-no” choices like drugs, alcohol, or infidelity. Those are all pretty major transgressions that break the commitment of friendship.   
  • They are Drama Mama’s.  Some people feed off of their own drama.  It’s the natural high of their own created adrenaline.  I see addiction everyday in my hospital, however, it may be the addiction to drama which manifests in so many relationships that kills it from inside out.  A repeating cycle of gossip and girls, shaken not stirred, into an addictive elixir of toxic friendship. This kind of drama creates an ongoing dysfunctional need to continually recreate unsafe and unhealthy emotional intensity in one’s relationships.  Check please!!
  • They keep putting you off and do nothing to fuel the relationship.  There is nothing wrong with being self sufficient and self referencing in respect to saying what you need and when you need it.  That is what being self assured is.  It’s when the friend doesn’t see the need to reference you at all anymore.  You wind up alone and what you have to offer doesn’t even enter the equation.
  • Sweet Little Lies.  Oh sugar bear, you’re so sweet, but I see that sack of shit you carry behind you .  This is probably the biggest thing to be aware of.  If you catch your friend in a lie, or maybe even find yourself telling one, it’s time to move on.  Lies will only perpetuate any previous problems and create more reasons for the two of you to be upset with one another. This kind of behavior will turn toxic, so exit the situation while doing the least amount of damage.
  • Neither of You Make an Effort to Fix Things. This is the chalk outline on the sidewalk, the line in the sand.  The chasm is too great to bring you two back together.  If an issue occurred after disagreement, someone usually has to be the bigger person and apologize or reach out first. If you feel passionately that you shouldn’t have to be that person, and weeks go by without hearing from your friend, things may not be fixable.  

It’s not who we lose, it’s who we think we lose.  

Sometimes friends provide a boundary and a lesson, watching curiously if you’ll cross it, and by-proxy cross your own values and integrity.  It is then that the question of “do I really want this” springs forth, asking you to decide how to respond.

The people you think will be there forever, aren’t, and be thankful when they leave.  Perhaps their soul purpose was to teach you something about the world or yourself in it.  Or maybe they are here to teach you how to love yourself and be a better friend, and how not to be a force field of gravity to more negativity in your life. 

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Jenn Maronek

Nurse | Blogger | Coach | Author

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