Friendships are tricky relationships, and often very fragile. Adrienne C. Laursen, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and owner of The Engagement Coach, shares 4 tips for knowing when and how to let go of toxic friend relationships.
1. Identify How Your Toxic Friend Is Negatively Impacting Your Life
For a lot of people, friendship longevity goes a long way in terms of letting negative behaviors slide. Here are some common negative behaviors that may make you question if your friendship is worth keeping:
• Making negative/snide/hurtful comments to you
• Jealousy of your lifestyle or using you for your money/material things
• Demanding, overbearing or unreliable
• Not interested in your life at all – the relationship is really one-sided
It's important to pay attention to the consistency of the negative behaviors. We can all be guilty of possessing these traits once in a while; the toxic friend displays them consistently.
2. Imagine your life without this person
What would you be giving up if you were to remove this person from your life? If your answer consists of negative emotions and behaviors, you've got a problem. Toxic friends typically make you feel bad about yourself, criticize a lot, and just generally make your life worse instead of better. If you can't think of anything you would miss by letting go of the friendship, you've got your answer. If you can identify some positive traits, the friendship may be worth saving.
3. Set Boundaries & Talk To Your Friend, Whatever Your Decision
Whether you've decided to end the friendship or not, it's really important to discuss your feelings with your friend. If you want to save the friendship, you'll need to know how you want the relationship to be different. What boundaries do you need to set in order to have the relationship be beneficial to you? Friendships are difficult to deal with and it can be scary to confront someone who is already making you feel bad. Write down what's bothering you and what you need to be different in order to move forward. Or be ready to discuss why your friendship needs to end, and how the relationship has made you feel along the way.
4. What Does A Healthy Friendship Consists Of?
A healthy friendship consists of:
• Balance between the two friends, so that both sets of needs are getting met
• Support, caring and understanding
• Respect for each other's lifestyle, feelings and preferences
• Fun, and the ability to truly be yourself around this person
• Forgiveness! (from both parties)