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Breaking Up With Toxic Friends Is Crucial For Your Well-being

I took my distance from some people around me for my own good


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Houssem Sadki

3 years ago | 5 min read

When we approach the theme of breaking up, we almost only talk about romantic separations, while friendships can be just as painful.

The Friendship Breakups

Less represented in films, books, songs, and other artistic productions, they are less socially supported.

If everyone around you can come together when you’ve just been dumped by your boyfriend, few people will take the time to listen to your bickering with your best friend.

And yet, having experienced this upheaval not long ago, I realized how painful it is to distance yourself from those around you or to be rejected by someone close to you.

Identify Toxic Relationships

I consider friendship to be something very pure. Of a suspicious nature, I finally let few people access this degree of proximity.

While I have a lot of knowledge, people I meet with a lot of pleasure, I consider that I have few friends (with a capital “F”). These are reliable people who I can count on in all circumstances

However, just like in a romantic relationship, a friendship can sometimes be toxic and it’s not always easy to realize it.

It is therefore important to occasionally take the time to evaluate the people around you and to ask yourself if the relationship you have with each one of them is really healthy

  • Am I happy when I spend time with this person?
  • Does this person show kindness to me?
  • Is there a balance of power/competition with him/her?
  • Does this person seem happy to me when something good happens to me?
  • Are there any underlying tensions?

This is an opportunity, to be honest with yourself and to take a step back from those close to you.

If upon thinking about it you realize that there are indeed issues with some people, now is the time to act and make those relationships calm.

After identifying certain problems, comes the time to question them. While it is often easy to point out the faults of your friends, it is not always easy to take a step back from your own behavior.

  • Have I really been faultless lately?
  • What could they blame me for?
  • Am I causing this problem?
  • Did I ever tell him that it bothered me?

If you realize that you haven’t been the perfect friend either, now is a good time to start on a good footing and try to pay attention.

Much tension and animosity often arise from a lack of communication: misunderstanding, the difference of point of view or interpretation of things. Starting a dialogue can often be a way to resolve problems.

It sounds like bogus advice like that at first glance, but I’ve noticed that few people really take the time to engage with those around them.

“He gets me drunk every time he sees me then criticizes me about my looks. I’m sick of it!

- Did you ever tell him you were bothered, calmly?

- Uh-huh, no… Nah, cause I don’t want to complicate things! “

Photo by Paola Chaaya on Unsplash

Getting things straight with those around you doesn’t have to be bickering or bothering. It can be fair, to say calmly over a drink, “Look, you probably don’t realize it but when you tell/do me that you hurt me.”

The idea is not to attack your loved ones, but to be clear about the things that bother you. After all, they’re not Mediums and they don’t read in a crystal ball, they might not know how confusing some of their behaviors can be.

Carrying on yourself constantly is not a solution, it is the best way to build up a lot of tension and repressed feelings until you burst or questioning your self-worth.

The idea is not to become a “friendship police” which gives the good and bad points, but more to become aware of the deeper and symptomatic problems and to try to solve them by dialoguing or by changing certain elements. of your behavior.

Knowing How To Say “Stop” In a Friendship

If you’ve explained to your friend about a billion times that certain attitudes could hurt you but the person doesn’t seem to be willing to make any effort, it may just be a sign that this person is not a true friend (despite all the great times you have had together).

For example, lately, I stopped going out with a friend I liked very much because he was constantly brittle and negative towards me. No matter what I did, he always thought it sucked and displayed incredible cynicism.

“- Hi, I’m hired by NASA, I’m going to explore the moon!”
- Ah ok… so… ”

I tried to explain to him over and over that continually putting me down was not very pleasant and that while it might seem harmless to him, it took a toll on my self-confidence. But he didn’t seem to change his behavior, after warning him so many times, I just stopped hanging out with him.

This “break-up” affected me because he is a funny, intelligent guy whom I liked very much, but every time I spent an hour with him, I would go home feeling bad about myself.

What we have to say to ourselves is that our friends are the only people we really choose from those around us (well, we also choose the person who shares our life).

You don’t choose your family, your colleagues, your boss, your neighbors, or the supermarket cashier. If we have to endure a certain number of people daily, why should we bother with people we can decide whether or not to see?

Why should we allow someone to mess up our private sphere? Saying stop and getting away from toxic people can be a real rebirth!

Photo by Church of the King on Unsplash

If I seem to be talking about it as a quick fix, beware! Separating from certain people around you is quite a painful process. You have bonded with those close to you, it may take time to distance yourself.

A friendship can be very close-knit or even self-defining (childhood friends in particular), these are often landmarks, moving away is quite unsettling.

Having also took my distance from a close friend lately (yes definitely, I did some house-cleaning), I think about him regularly. I wonder if he’s okay, what he’s doing with his life.

When I read a funny article I often want to send it to him and when I am faced with a dilemma I wish I could call him and ask for his opinion.

Even though I moved on for a very specific (and justified) reasons, I can’t help but feel guilty: what if he needed me?

After a while, I stopped torturing myself. I know he’s surrounded by good people, walking away from him was a good decision.

Not To Hold a Grudge

While I stand firm in my positions, I try not to hold a grudge. If I may have been hurt by a friend at some point, that doesn’t mean I regret the good times I had with him.

That doesn’t mean that in a year or two, we won’t be happy to meet and even start to hang out again. It just means that at this point in my life, having this relationship under these conditions is no longer possible.

Learning to listen to yourself, to know what you want and what you don’t want is an important step to recognize your self-worth. Realizing this and taking responsibility for these choices is often a difficult step but also incredibly liberating.

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Houssem Sadki

Navy Hydrographic Engineer and GIS Specialist and looking to become adata scientist


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