You know that friend?
The one that whinges constantly. Her life isn’t good enough and she never takes responsibility. Oh, you’re trying a new class/hobby/thing? That’s a stupid idea. Oh, it was your birthday last week? She forgot.
She didn’t show at your hen’s day either. She forgot to text you after that job interview. All of these moments weren’t her fault, because nothing is ever her fault, she’s just the victim and you’re her emotional dumping ground.
The reason you know so much about her life is because she willingly tells you stories that seem to repeat, and situations that repeat. She wouldn’t know how to ask you a single question. Oh, and can you grab this coffee? Because she’s out of cash. Again.
This week on the Mamamia Podcast, toxic friendships and how to get rid of them.
Mia Freedman euthanased a friend once. Despite her best efforts to nurse the kinship back to health, she couldn’t remember the last time she felt good about it.
This person was toxic and after every interaction, I felt angry or upset or frustrated. There was no upside to this friendship anymore and if there ever had been, I could no longer recall what it was.
And so I ended it.
Unlike romantic relationships which are understood to usually have an expiry date, there’s this weird belief that friendships should last forever. But why?
So she ended it. Defriended. Expired. Kaput. And she says there are a couple of ways to go about it;
There are two ways you can end a friendship; quickly and with lots of drama or slowly, allowing it to simply die of neglect. A lot like any plant I have ever owned.
From experience, I find that the second way, although far less satisfying, is ultimately the most effective. And far less confronting. Coward? Me?
Because if you confront your soon-to-be ex-friend about why the friendship is no longer working for you and try to detail all the reasons why you’re breaking up with them, they will inevitably defend themselves. Probably, they will accuse you of doing all sorts of things that have contributed to the toxic dynamic between you and they may well be right.
There will be argy-bargy over wine, coffee, email and text. It will be exhausting and emotional and at the end of it, if your friendship is truly broken and irretrievable, nothing much will have changed.
Sometimes it’s just time to walk away. Just like with any other kind of relationship.
That’s why I’ve come to favour the death-by-neglect approach. Scale back communication. Take longer to answer texts. Be unavailable for social arrangements. Eventually, they’ll get it. Hopefully, they’ll get it.
And you’ll be free.
Of course, ghosting out of it has it’s upside. But, then there was the time she chose the The Other Approach:
Nikki Gemmell, author, columnist, wise owl of life also says life is too short for toxic friends. Except hers came in a slightly different form.
She was at a party next to a friend who had teens the same age as hers. When Nikki confided, hands flailing, in the mess of hormones, the drama and chaos of teens, the tenuous grip she had on her sanity, it was a chance for friends to bond over the craziness of life.
Instead, this woman shook her neat, blowdried hair, smiled, and said, “Oh I don’t have any of those problems.”
Kaput. Gone. Done and dusted. Goodbye, friendship and fakery.
Nikki said it best as: “I want heartlifters. Not heartsinkers.”
Euthanize those friendships and make way for the ones that really matter. *Cough* like us.
Listen to the whole ep here:
And get yourself the friends you DESERVE in your life.
How have you ended a friendship?