Have you ever broken up with a friend? I have and it was terrifying.
I’d heard about toxic friends before of course. I’d heard how these are the friends you have, possibly for a long time, sometimes just for a short stretch but either way, they emotionally drag you down to the point of exhaustion.
The realisation that you need to distance yourself from someone because they are no longer being a good friend to you is a very hard decision to make.
When they stop being a good friend and become a toxic one, you realise that you simply don’t need the drama. That a good friendship is one that you can pick up where you left off. One that distance doesn’t puncture. One where the actual time spent together is irrelevant. One you can rely on and one where you feel mutually supported.
Yet, it is so very weird to “break up with a friend.” I mean, when you end a romantic relationship, you are saying, in no uncertain terms, that you will no longer be seeing one another. There is a definite line drawn in the sand and a discussion had that leaves both parties fully aware that the current relationship will not be continuing.
But friendships don’t work that way. When you become friends with someone, you don’t sign a contract declaring to be that person’s friend and that person’s friend exclusively. And I guess that’s where the weirdness, or perhaps the awkwardness, comes into the “break up”.
Do you really need to make a definitive statement, have an actual discussion that you no longer wish to be friends with that person? Can you not just quietly back away and lose touch organically?
No. No you can’t.
As much as it’s painful and as much as it hurts, there are some friendships in life that you will have to be clear about ending. That you will have to openly euthanise.
I once had this friend. Let’s call her Jill. We met through a friend of a friend. She pursued me, in hindsight, rather aggressively. Yet, at the time, I was new to the area and was happy to make some new friends.
If I think back, I can recognise that she wore me down from the very beginning. I later found out that she was desperate for a friend as she had alienated herself countless times from almost everyone else in our small community.
Despite being warned to be “careful” I went with it. I’d never had a problem with girlfriends before, why would I now?
She was one of those whirlwind people. Constantly organising outings, always needing to book in our next “date” before I left her. She was manipulative, often causing dramas between the friend who initially introduced us and forever giving me the silent treatment for not being able to meet her as often as she’d like, or not texting back quick enough.