Toxic Friendships And How To Handle Them

Last night, watching my best friend fall off a stool in a pub, I was struck by how much fun and laughter she brings to my life. This person is a living, breathing personification of Bridget Jones and while sometimes (such as last night) I am practically wetting myself laughing at her, most of the time I am laughing with her. Whichever laughter happens, it always comes from love.

Friendship is so important, don’t you think?

 Different friends all contribute their individual gorgeousness to your life and they can be a powerful gauge as to how you feel about yourself. There have been times in my life when my friendships have reflected low levels of self worth. These friendships, rather than adding to my life, were unsupportive, demanding, unreliable or untrustworthy. Rather than permeating my life with humour, love and joy, they quietly undermined it and because I wasn’t feel okay in myself, I let them.

Who are the five people you spend most of your time with?

Do you feel comfortable with these people?

Do you feel upbeat and positive after being around these people?

Is there anyone you spend time with who insults you, makes you feel inferior, or give you a feeling of negativity?

When you are in their company do you feel uplifted or drained? Energized or exhausted? 

The five people you spend most of your time with will have a profound effect on how you feel about yourself and your life. If there is someone who is not reflecting your true gorgeousness back to you, then maybe it’s time that you took a step back. There are a number of things that you can do to remove yourself from toxic friendships, such as ….

 Speaking Up

The best – and probably the hardest – way to change non-gorgeous friendships is to express to that person how you feel. This is effective because it gets straight to the point and if that person doesn’t change their behaviour or care about what you are feeling, then you know you are better off without them. It is a kind of hard way to approach things because once negative feelings have built up it takes real self control and effort to remain objective and not become upset whilst expressing yourself.

The funny thing is that very often people have no idea how their behaviour is making you feel. I once had a friend who rang me up constantly to talk about a troubling relationship with a man who didn’t even live in the same country. Her children had long grown up and she used to get annoyed when I had to go because I had my own kids to look after. I used to listen to her calls through gritted teeth or avoid answering the phone, but in the end I just bit the bullet and told her how it was making me feel. After her initial surprise, she stopped her 20 calls a day, only rang after 7.30 and started asking me how I was occasionally!

Set your boundaries

Decide what you will and won’t accept from your friendship and then learn how to say no. Ask yourself why you are allowing this person to treat you badly. How would respond if you loved and valued yourself a little more? There is a well known saying that goes, “If you act like a doormat people will treat you like a doormat.” If you want to be treated with respect then you need to set boundaries, show others that you respect yourself and that way you will attract people who will respect you too.

Walk away

If we realise that a friendship has gone beyond repair, then a final way to sever it is to simply walk away. This is pretty harsh and probably not the best way to approach the situation. By quitting the friendship and cutting off all communication we rob ourselves and that person of the learning that ending a relationship can bring.

Even if you know that the friendship is over, try to talk to the person and explain why you are no longer going to “play”. Avoid accusing or attacking – just explain how you feel. This way you get to express your emotions and get everything out in the open, rather than leaving the built up negativity to sizzle away inside you.

All friendships and relationships mirror aspects of ourselves. Do your best to surround yourself with loving, humorous, trustworthy, honest and gorgeous people who make you feel good about yourself and when you have found them cherish what they bring to your life.

Recommended Posts
Contact Bethan

If you'd like to know more or request a call back, please email Bethan here.