I haven't "dumped" many friends in my life. In fact, I've been dumped a few times but every time I learned something about myself. So let's talk about those toxic friends that we keep around because we've been "friends for so many years"...you know the ones...the friends you complain to your husband/mother/sister to? Yeah, them. There was a time when you shared a ton in common but as the years wore on you became disenchanted and the friendship just became work. Sound familiar? I've been there.
I am not at all advocating being mean or getting rid of people for no reason in this post. I know that some people are worth fighting for and taking the good with the bad. But here's the real test. If you speak to that certain someone and every time you do you are instantly thrown into a bad mood or feel a lack of confidence - it means this person is toxic for you. If you feel like you are doing all the work - it means this person is toxic for you. If you feel like you are starting to resent your friend and you can't figure out why - it means this person is toxic for you. And you have to decide how long you want to stick around and get beat up. I could pull countless stories that I've heard from women over the years regarding this very topic. People very dear to me, in fact. And with some of my own personal experience...it felt like a subject worth putting down on the "proverbial paper" after some recent conversations.
So here are your options:
- Tell the truth, sort of. If someone is bringing you down and you don't like the way they are treating you...speak up...especially if it's a friendship worth fighting for. However long it takes to work up the courage; do what's best for you. Put it in an email. Make several drafts. Meet for coffee. Schedule a phone call but tell them how YOU feel for once. Take your time so that you can articulate what's bothering you.
- Bow out gracefully. If you are lacking the heart or brutal honesty to explain how poorly this person makes you feel...get "busy." I'm not talking about THAT kinda busy. I'm saying get involved with others. Invest in new acquaintances. Jam your calendar so you aren't around as much and follow that plan until time has created enough distance between you. Sometimes life is enough of an excuse.
- Take some time off. Maybe you're unsure if you want to exit the friendship completely. That's normal. Ultimately if you miss this person and you're willing to fess up about your feelings; you can break the cycle. If that person really cares about you - they will listen to your feedback. That friendship is indeed worth saving.
No matter what, never underestimate the people out there who wish you'd give them a chance. And the great friendships that can start in your adult hood. Some of the most amazing people I've met and grown to love have only been friends of mine in the last four years. Invest in people that want to invest in you. And invest in people that make you feel good!