Dealing with toxic friends

Jade Jenkins

Growing up, my mother always advised me “never be in a relationship with someone who makes you feel bad for being who you are.”

Reflecting back on this, she was always referring to a boy. She was referring to boys: never date a boy who makes me feel bad about who I am, the clothes I wear, the color lipstick I like or all those things that make me me. In time I realized these recommendations could be applied to friendships.

This led me to wonder why no one discusses the importance of toxic friendships, but instead focuses on intimate relationships. It is always recommended to get out of a relationship if your significant other isn’t treating you right, but is it OK to dump your friends? Yes.

When bitten by a Russell’s viper, the venom can take up to 14 days before it kills you. Friends are much the same. In the beginning everything seems fine, but after awhile, you begin feeling the negative effects. A toxic relationship can literally drain the life out of you, damage your self-esteem and kill your dreams. Toxic people tend to lie, disregard any form of responsibility, always have the need to be right and try to control you. I have encountered three separate toxic friendships that in fact, shared these characteristics.

While in high school, my best friend and I grew up 15 minutes outside of Osage City in the middle of nowhere.

That was part of what brought us together in the first place. However, as we got into junior and senior year, I noticed that she was constantly copying what I wore, buying the same shoes and styles of tops and being hateful to me and everyone else in order to feel better about herself. Gradually, things began to escalate. My once “best friend” was now hateful about everyone, including me, killing the way I saw myself.

It made me hate things that I didn’t even know I was doing. One day, I realized I wasn’t actually the problem. The problem was her and the things she did that made her upset. Why should I be miserable just so another person can feel good? I decided that I shouldn’t.

Toxic people are constantly weaving in and out of our lives. I have had two friends in college that I have dubbed “toxic” to my health and success. One constantly put me in a bad mood with everyone and everything around me.

When she was around she spewed negative statement after negative statement and I could always feel my happy demeanor turn to anger and frustration at everyone surrounding me. I found myself sleeping more and laying around in my bed doing nothing all day every day. I allowed this friend to not only control my mood, but ruin my day.

My other college friend that I dumped was simply lazy. They never went to class and always slept until mid-afternoon, and couldn’t keep a job no matter where it was. I like to be with people who are ambitious and attempting to achieve monumental goals.

When you have a best friend who is lazy, it makes you want to be lazy. Regardless of what you thought your dreams were, in time you become what you hang out with. Eventually, I saw what I was doing to myself and I decided I had enough.

Just because this friend wasn’t necessarily mean to me, doesn’t mean that I needed to keep them in my life though. Sometimes, in order to make the biggest successes, you need to cut out those who are bringing you down.

Most people can realize when they have a toxic friend, but the hardest part is figuring out how to get them out of your life. I tend to go with the old “ghosting” technique and just completely ignore everything they send me until they get the hint.

I realize that not everyone can do this though, and there are much better ways to handle these situations. In the end, the best way to remove a toxic person from your life is to simply take them somewhere public and explain to them what they are doing and then leave.

You don’t need to argue, and you don’t owe them anything. Making your life better is all a person should worry about, and when the perfect life is finally achieved, then worry about others.

You both will move on and not only will you feel better, but in one of my experiences, my toxic friend actually found friends that helped her move on and become a more positive being. Que Sera Sera.