How to deal with a Toxic Friend |End a toxic friendship once and for all.

how to deal with a toxic friend

Friends are an integral part of anyone’s life. As you grow up you spend more time with your friends than your parents. They influence your thoughts and beliefs in a great way. You become comfortable in sharing everything with your true friends. True friends care about you. They don’t sugar-coat anything because they do not want something in return. You want this kind of friendship to last your whole life. Friendship, like any other relationship, is a two-way street. When you invest yourself completely in the relationship you automatically expect the other person to reciprocate in the same way.

But toxic friendships don’t meet this criterion. Sometimes unknowingly you end up befriending such toxic friends.

You cross paths with many people in your life. You make new friends. But even a great friendship sometimes end badly. People change over time. They can go from sweet to sour real quick. And their sourness starts affecting you. You realize this “friend” who once seemed like a cool person is becoming toxic and affects you in a negative way.

I’ll share my experience with a toxic friend. 

I was in a toxic friendship for three years in high school. I’m an introvert and I was really self-conscious back then and I unnecessarily worried too much about my ‘image’ among others. I was a people pleaser. I was the kind of person who was too polite to say NO to anyone. This so-called friend (let’s call her Z) was my classmate. My best friend had recently moved to another city and I was feeling lonely. All the introverts out there would know how difficult it is to make new friends. I tried to be more outgoing. Gradually I started hanging out with Z. She seemed really nice at first. She was one of the popular girls in the school.

As some time went by, she started showing her true colors. She was highly manipulative and extremely self-obsessed. She was a part of the “popular cool people group”, and I also wanted to be a part of that. I let her treat me that way because I was worried if she stopped being my friend, everyone else would also stop being my friend.

Later I realized that if I had been on my own, I would have been in a much better condition. She drained me. She almost treated me like her assistant. Due to this, my grades were dropping and I was feeling worthless. Fortunately, in the final year, I made some new friends who were my savior. I started spending more time with them. Because Z was in my class I had to face her every day, I couldn’t cut her off completely. School ended and I moved away to another city for college. And that was it. My golden ticket. I promised myself I will never ever see or talk to her again.

I consider this one of my biggest mistakes in life. I learned it the hard way. I used to blame myself for my misery. After all, I let her treat me like that. But I guess sometimes it takes an unpleasant experience to get the much-needed perspective and courage.

Anyway, I moved on.

I reflected upon my mistakes and now I’m a much more confident individual and I know who my true friends are(thank god for them!) and I can recognize people with whom I need to keep a safe distance from.

No matter how dissimilar people are all over the world, how differently they are brought up, the toxic characteristics are more or less the same. They are all suckers. They suck out all the good from you.

You know you have a toxic friend when-
-You achieve something, they envy you instead of being happy for you. They criticize every good thing coming your way.
-They dominate you.They are masters of manipulation and very cunning. You end up misusing your resources for them. They trap you.
-They never encourage you but you always find yourself praising them and doing things for them. You go out of your way to help them, but when it comes to returning the favor, they just make excuses.
-They never listen to you.
-They suck all the positive energy from you. And you’re left with self-resentment, low self-esteem and you’re unable to motivate yourself.

-They show everyone that they’re a great friend; e.g., this 'friend' would post pictures of you both captioning ‘best friends’ but only you know her true self and that she’s nowhere near to being even a good friend let alone best.
-They speak ill of your family but speak highly of their family.
-You never get the return on the efforts you put in your friendship. They just shamelessly ask you for favors. They make you miserable and weak.
-They make you feel lonely even if they are your “friend”.
-You feel powerless because you are letting them do this to you. You feel angry with yourself.

Always remember that you don’t have to be so nice to undeserving people. You don’t have like everyone. Don’t think that they will change. They are two-faced. They behave around you in one way and with others, they are completely opposite.

You don’t have to go through all of that misery to speak up. End it right now. Get that breath of fresh air. Relieve yourself.

So what can you do to get rid of a toxic friend?

  • Avoid them. It is difficult to avoid them when you both are in the same class or workplace, but you need to do it. Hang out with other people. If they confront you, just be firm and tell them you are busy. You have other important people in your life and you need to be them.
  • Spend more time with your other friends. Talk to people who make you happy and encourage you. Bring in the much-needed positivity in your life. Cherish your true friendships.
  • Focus on important things. Family, your studies, your job, your relationships, are more valuable to you. Invest your time and effort in those areas which are going to give you worthwhile results. 
  • Pick up a hobby. Play guitar, join a swimming class, or play a new sport, or simply doodle; try anything that keeps you occupied and makes you more productive. The effects of your toxic friendship are going to bother you for some time. So it’s important that you engage yourself in something that makes you feel better.
  • Don’t contact them. Or reply to their messages. If you keep ignoring them, they will back off by themselves. Toxic people are needy individuals; they are attention seekers. When you stop feeding to their ego, they will not have the power to dominate you. Gradually try to cut off all contact with them.
  • Meet new people. Even though you will find a lot of toxic people, there are some really good people in this world as well. Good friends will always encourage you and support you unconditionally. Surrounding yourself with positive people will make you a happier person.

And finally, NEVER beat yourself up for making this mistake. It’s natural to be angry with yourself because you couldn’t judge this person well and let yourself be in this toxic friendship, but it’s important that you realized your mistake and made the decision to end it. You have to forgive yourself and move on.
Cuss all you want when you end it and then stop. And don’t look back. They don’t deserve any form of reciprocation from you, be it positive or negative.

See this experience as a life lesson that made you more aware and a better person. It will lead you to take better decisions ahead. Ending a toxic friendship will make you realize how competent and confident you are. Your self-esteem will be higher. You will love yourself more.

Not all friendships are meant to last forever. You shouldn’t waste your energy on negative people. Dump them and never look back again.


What is your experience with toxic people? How did you deal with them? Share with me in the comments below and if you liked this article, don’t forget to share it with others.

Comments

  1. I totally agree with you. I wasted my precious couple years on useless people and its not worth to spend upon ! I still regret my decisions!

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    1. I get you! It can be hard to forget. But we do need to keep trying. Thank you for visiting.

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  2. Great tips for identifying and dealing with toxic friends. It is so important to surround yourself with positive and uplifting people!

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    1. Exactly. Our friends have a huge impact on us. It's vital to have true friends in life. Stay happy :)

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  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish I had read your tips during that awful and toxic relationship I was in for an entire year. Definitely would've saved me time and grief. Great post!

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    1. Good thing you got out of it. Thank you for visiting :)

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  4. This reminds me of a toxic friendship I had in my 20s. She was very critical of me and always made me feel like I was less than her. It was a tricky one cause she was good at "looking good", if you know what I mean. We were best buds for awhile during a low point in my life after a bad breakup. Once I got my confidence back I got sick of her B/S and started challenging her more. One of her unspoken rules was that you always show up for someone's party (or there will be lots of gossiping behind your back!). I was super busy that weekend and told her I couldn't make it. She was SO mad she ending up ditching me! I think it was over that and some of the disagreements we had around that time. Anyways, can you say EASY BUTTON? I just moved on to better friendships.

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    1. I totally get you. Standing up to them will make them powerless. I'm glad you found your way. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  5. Excellent post Jas! So relevant! We often meet people who will drag us down if we let them. The one thing I'd add to your list of what to do about it would be to tell them outright you don't want to be their friend anymore and why. I've only done it twice and I have no idea how one girl is but the other has completely gotten it together and seems to be doing well. We don't speak but I see her on social media and she'll message time and again. Worth considering. Thanks again for sharing!

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    1. You're right. Sometimes talking explicitly about the issues and clearing things out is the best thing to do. Thank you so much for this insightful comment. :)

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  6. I really enjoyed reading this. The explanation made me remember the days when i was stuck in some toxic friendship. Kudos to your blog. Have a great day!!.

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    1. I'm glad you liked it. Thank you so much for visiting. Hope you have a great day too.

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  7. Excellent post! I've long ago learned how to deal with such people. At age 40, you have a real image of yourself and you do not need someone else to keep yelling and tell you how good you are. I want all young girls to read and apply what you wrote. Life will be much better.

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    1. Exactly. I hope more and more people understand the need for self love. Thank you so much for your appreciation. It's motivating. :)

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  8. Hey !Even I had the exact same experience as you did.When I was in my last year of school even I became close friends with a girl who matched all the characteristics that the girl you spoke about had but I was treated exactly the same way.This person was envious of me because I got better grades than she did and she tried to put me down all the time in every way and every day,she turned all my friends against me,made me get into trouble with the teachers and eventually my family(because of the teachers) and I got clinically depressed as a result.But I did have a few friends by my side like you did and I was able to pull myself back together.My school life ended that year and I made it a point to not join the college which she joined and we lost touch.Since that experience only become close to very few people who I know will always support me and encourage me and be there for me no matter what I go through

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    1. I'm so sorry you had to go through all that but it's good that you are over it and you have true friends who support you unconditionally. I guess experience is the best teacher. We now know how to deal with such people! Thank you so much for visiting. I look forward to interacting with you.

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  9. It is so important to surround yourself with positive people. The rope pulls two ways and its easier to pull someone down than to carry someone up.

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    1. Rightly said. After all we can't change anyone else, but we can distance ourselves from negative people. Thank you so much for visiting. :)

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