How To Cut Toxic Friends Off

Sunday, July 31, 2016


Friendships are supposed to be amazing.  Friendships should be full of happiness, respect, loyalty and great moments.

Good friends are the best!

But what if you friend isn't a true friend?  What do you do if your friend is toxic?

I have a lovely group of fantastic friends in London.  I met them at sixth form and several years later, we are still great friends and we still hang out.  I also have a couple of friends I met in secondary school, and a couple of friends I met outside of school that I'm still in contact with to this day.

More often than not, I've had more toxic friends than good friends, and that's unfortunate.  I had a lot of toxic friends in high school, and I had a lot of toxic friends/acquaintances/flatmates/housemates at university, but it was only until last year in the summer that I finally gained enough courage to cut toxic people out of my life for good.

Before then, cutting toxic friends out of my life was something I always found difficult.  I've always had low self-esteem and I didn't know that cutting off a harmful friend was even an option.  I tolerated other people's poor behaviour (without realising it) but eventually I realised I didn't want to be treated in that way, and I didn't deserve that.  I am a human being, I deserve to be treated well like everyone else!

Last summer I cut so many people off, and since then I've never been happier!  Toxic friends are so not worth it!  I'd rather surround myself with lovely friends who support me, make me happy, uplift me and show me respect.  I don't want so-called 'friends' who treat me badly.  I have no time, energy or effort to deal with that nonsense.

So how you cut toxic friends?  Well, I have to admit, in my situation it wasn't easy at first because I'd still see those same people around on campus, but after trying out a few 'techniques' it became a lot easier. I remember feeling so much happier and much more liberated, as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  I think it depends on your situation, how you deal with things, how the toxic friend behaves and what has caused the friendship to go sour.

This is what I did...

I kept my distance.
I started keeping my distance from the toxic friends on my course.  I avoid them at all costs, stopped hanging out with them on and off campus and I deliberately sat away from them in lectures.  I stayed well away from them.

I phased them out.
I gradually ceased contact and I stopped texting, messaging and calling them as much as I used to, until I stopped contacting them completely.  I did this because I didn't want to speak to them anymore, but I didn't want to be so abrupt.  Eventually I stopped communicating with them so now we don't talk at all, but now I realise that cutting contact wasn't that hard because they didn't make an effort to stay in contact with me anyway!

I blanked them.
I find this technique works once you have exhausted all options.  If you call a bad friend out but they are not willing to change their bad behaviour and improve the friendship then it's time to blank them and pretend they don't exist.

I blocked them.
I'm so glad the 'block' option exists on social media (and on Whatsapp, as I recently found out.)  It's one of the best ways to cut off contact.  I have long block lists on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  If I don't want a toxic friend in my life (IRL), then I don't want them on my social media channels.

I kept myself very busy.
I am a very busy lady.  I like to keep myself occupied and I hate being bored.  Up until recent I was a full-time university student with a several jobs, writing gigs and a blog to run so I had got a lot to be getting on with!  By keeping myself busy I kept myself away from toxic people and their toxic dramas.  I like to 'throw myself' into more important and productive things that are worth my time, effort and energy, and toxic people drain my time.

I stayed focused on the people and the things that matter the most to me.
It's important to prioritise the important people and the things in life.  For myself, my mental health, career aspirations and life goals are very important and my true friends are important to me.  When you focus on the most important things then you will find that you won't have enough time for toxic people anyway (see my previous point about keeping yourself busy.)

I made way for better friends.

When you cut toxic people out, you create enough space for worthwhile friendships and happier experiences that you will want to treasure.  Once I kept my distance from toxic people I made an effort to go to social events and meet new people that I had much more in common with. 

However...you might face a couple of dilemmas when cutting people off:

"Should I confront...?"
This is a difficult question, and it was a question I thought about.  Some people say it is better to confront, but I'm in favour of keeping my distance and using the 'ghosting' method.  With the people I distanced myself from, I knew that it would be impossible to have a mature and civilised conversation with them about their behaviours because they would react very badly and they would keep on treating me poorly.  I had spoken to some of them about their actions and they didn't make any effort to change.  Also, I really hate confrontation, and I believe that sometimes in life you have to pick and choose your battles wisely.  I don't have time to deal with negativity or WW3 so I'd rather avoid confrontation.  By 'ghosting' I was able to regain control and a piece of mind.  Plus, I don't think I owe shitty 'friends' an explanation.

"What if I feel guilty?"
In the beginning I felt guilty because I felt as though I was letting people down, but then I realised that if I continued to keep these horrible people in my life, then I was letting myself down.  I don't feel guilty anymore.  In fact, I feel glad, because I was able to distance myself from people who were making extremely unhappy.  I had no reason to feel guilty because I wasn't doing anything wrong and I was doing what was right for me.  Once I started keeping my distance a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.  I felt relived and I felt much happier, and that's important.

Ultimately, you have to do what is right for yourself, but don't ever be averse to cutting off toxic 'friends.'  Friendship is a two-way street and if the other person is making you unhappy and treating you disrespectfully then it's time to walk away and form happier and healthier friendships.

Liked this post?  Read my post on Why I Stopped Being Friends...

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4 comments

  1. This is very informative and helpful, ChiChi. My favourite part is "sometimes in life you have to pick and choose your battles wisely", truer words have never been spoken!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! :D And yeah, it's true.

      Delete
  2. Yessssss! I love this post! I wrote a similar one recently reflecting on fake friends and I have had shitty toxic friends in the past and I stupidly put up with them cause like you I did't realise it was an option to phase them out! I have since cut out all my fake friends and feel soooo much better for doing it! Totally worth it and I for one have no regrets whatsoever! :)
    www.careergirlsite.wordpress.com xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep! No regrets! Cutting toxic people off is the way forward, they are not worth the time, effort or enegry. Life is way too short for that!

      :)

      Delete

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