Realizing that you are friends with someone who is toxic and not good for your mental health due to their behavior is a difficult phase to go through. You obviously do not want to lose them as a friend and you may love and care for them deeply but having a boundary is really important for the sake of your well-being and peace. While it may not be the best to cut them off altogether, you can try giving them another chance by talking out things with them and letting them know how you feel.
The first and most important thing here is to realize and remember that you do not have to take their crap and you do not deserve to be treated badly. You also have to realize that however they are reacting, it is not your fault and you are neither the reason for them to react this nor responsible for their toxicity. While you may love them and be willing to take it all just to keep them as a friend and avoid a conflict, it is also necessary that you put yourself and your mental health first and anyone who threatens your peace of mind should be kept at a distance where they do not hold power over you.
How to Deal with Toxic Friends:
Having a toxic friendship can be really heartbreaking and hurtful because you are being backstabbed by the person you valued highly and trusted completely. However, you just cannot keep on entertaining them as it will result in even more hurt. If you have a toxic friend who is always trying to pull you down, mocking you, or just generally giving off a bad vibe, here is a guide that will help you figure out how to deal with toxic friends.
1. Talk to them about it:
The first and foremost thing you should try as a solution is to have an honest conversation with your friend. Maybe all they need is a perspective and maybe they are not quite sure that they are hurting you or being toxic. Speak to them about how their reactions affect you and make you feel. Do not be scared to speak the truth and discuss things in the open. While some people prefer to hold off any conflicts, holding things off and hiding them will only result in a more messed up situation. Express your thoughts and let your friend know to clear the air and ensure they are aware of what their actions inflict on you.
2. Set healthy boundaries:
Setting boundaries is really important in every relationship as boundaries help you protect your peace. Set specific boundaries with your toxic friends and make sure you let them know how you will not tolerate everything they throw your way. Make it clear that you will not be tolerating their toxic behaviors and that they need to be respectful of your boundaries. You can make specific boundaries such as if they ever shout at you or you find them lying, you will not tolerate it. You can make this clear the next time you do anything and then ask you for a hangout, just refuse them and let them know that you will not be hanging out with them because you are hurt by their behavior.
- Take some space:
Another thing you can try is to take some time away from your toxic friend to give yourself a moment of peace and process your thoughts clearly. Remember there is no harm in putting yourself first, if you have had enough or feel overwhelmed, it is completely fine that you dodge your friend’s calls or do not reply to their texts. You have to validate your feelings and staying away from people who suck at your energy is all right and fine. It will also deliver a message to your friend that you are not open to their negative behavior and they will have to face the consequence of their actions. Try to slowly fade out such friends. Taking out this much-needed space will also give you time to think about what you want to do next or how you want to take things further.
- Cut off Contact:
If you have tried everything else such as, talking to your friend and letting them know they have hurt you and giving them multiple chances to prove themselves and your friend is still not leaving their toxicity, it is time to cut them off. It is the right thing to do after you have tried your best to save the friendship. Stop replying to their messages, avoid meetups with them that include just the two of you, or try staying away from them in the meetups that include other friends as well. You will struggle with cutting off a friend you have known for so long but you can try to fade away from them slowly. Gradually you will also start feeling better about your decision and you would have cut out all contact.
Recognizing a toxic friend is also really important because once you have identified the issue yourself only then you will be able to fix it. Some of the most common traits of a toxic friend are that they will compare you with others, put you down constantly, and gossip with you about other people which eventually means they will gossip about you to other people, and make you feel bad about yourself or feel hurt.
Make sure you are making your mental health a priority instead of cutting yourself in halves to please other people. Being around toxic people will affect your mood, mind, and even your energy. Respect yourself and move away from such people for the sake of your peace and tranquility. While it is important to contemplate yourself and recognize your mistakes, being manipulated is something entirely else. No matter how important someone is to you, never let them walk all over you or put you in a position where you start doubting yourself or thinking that you might be the one in the wrong.