The Well - Episode Five | Breaking up with the toxic friends in your life. |
This episode of ‘The Well’ dives into toxic friendships, thanks to one of our Lovewell customers Pip Webb for the topic suggestion.
If you’re feeling funky about a friendship, it’s dragging you down or you feel emotionally depleted after having spent some time with your pal, then chances are you’re rocking a toxic friendship. Your friendships should be nurturing, supportive, balanced and inspiring. Friendships should be mutually beneficial, so that no one party is doing more of the heavy lifting. Life takes us through seasons, sometimes it’ll be your turn to be there for your friend and then things shift and they’ll be there for you to lean on. Friendships should feel balanced but when that centre of gravity is way off it’s time to take a deeper look at the issues that lie beneath.
I’ve had experiences in the past where I know that a friendship isn’t serving me or that a friend's life choices go against my moral compass. In these moments it’s integral to take a look at how much time is being spent offering up solutions, suggestions and counselling whilst simultaneously trying to refrain from meeting them from a place of judgement. Sometimes the people we love the most need us to set loving boundaries or take a firmer stance in our communication with them. Taking on another person's problems is a part of what we do as friends but being taken advantage of shouldn’t come with the territory. Depleting our energy by always being the one they vent to without them being open to changing their patterns is a tell tale sign that you’re being an enabler. This kind of pattern can continue for years and as imbalanced and unfair as it is I’ve seen many people face this kind of dynamic in long term friendships and it does nothing but feel manipulative, taking you away from the parts of your life that fill your cup.
Other ways toxicity can reveal itself in friendships is if you have a friend that puts you down, gossips consistently, tells your secrets or takes out their bad moods on you. Notice if you’re not being the best version of yourself around them or changing your behaviour to fit in or appease them. If you feel controlled, afraid, used or unsettled in their presence- these should all be major red flags.
One of the best ways to pinpoint the health of your friendship is to ask yourself these questions; Do they show up for me when I’m in need? Do I enjoy spending time with them? After we’ve seen each other how do I feel? Do I feel heard? Seen? Do I enjoy helping them? Do I look forward to spending time with them? Are they invested in my well-being and life? It’ll become quickly apparent if you’re nurturing a friendship that’s not serving you.
Breaking up with friends can be a really emotionally taxing thing wrought with anxiety and fear. There are a number of ways to do this; you can first start by setting limits and then move into a slow fade out of the friendship, organically letting it come to an end or alternatively address it head on and bring up all the reasons why your dynamic is no longer working. Know that you’re not alone, there are countless other people out there facing this tricky situation, when the dust finally settles you’ll be wondering why you didn’t take action sooner.
However you decide to address these issues is up to you but remember no matter how painful the experience of letting go, the liberation you will feel after it’s over will be worth it’s weight in gold. Ridding yourself from the negativity orbiting your life will allow you to blossom in all the ways you should and give you the space to nurture those meaningful friendships that bring out the best in you both.
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Much Love, Teresa xx