How to Put an End to a Toxic Friendship

When friendships aren't balanced and there's no reciprocity between the parties involved, it's better to put an end to them. We'll tell you how to end a toxic friendship in this article.
How to Put an End to a Toxic Friendship

Last update: 07 October, 2021

At some point in our lives, we may need to put an end to a toxic friendship, which isn’t always easy. But when we realize that some relationships become negative for our own wellbeing, the best thing to do is to accept it and walk away.

It often happens that we ourselves put up resistance and avoid ending negative friendships. Sometimes, unconsciously, we remain close to the wrong people. In this article, we’ll see how we should proceed to move away from those who don’t offer us a proper friendship.

The characteristics of a toxic friendship

Below, we’ll review a list of some of the main characteristics of a toxic friendship. The idea is for you to be able to recognize these behaviors in your daily life.

This way, you’ll be able to differentiate between friendships that are worth keeping and those that aren’t.

Let’s get to it!

1. Even if they’re with you, they’re not with you

The physical presence of a person doesn’t necessarily imply companionship. Sometimes, when we make plans with a group of friends, we can feel lonely.

Toxic friends don’t care about your opinions or concerns; they just want you to be with them and accept everything without question.

2. They focus on your flaws in a derogatory way

Friends help us to realize which aspects we need to improve, but negative friendships will focus on our defects in an unconstructive way. In this way, they’ll make us feel bad and won’t provide any solution.

Friends having an argument.

3. They’ll make you feel questioned

Some people have the tendency to question the behavior of others based on their personal criteria, which isn’t very empathetic. A true friend won’t judge your decisions but will understand them and give an opinion.

4. They keep you from being in the limelight

There are friends who demand constant attention and, when for some reason, the attention is directed towards us, they can’t tolerate it. People who don’t allow others to have protagonism can’t be friends; at least not in the right way.

5. There’s a lack of consistency

Toxic friendships aren’t consistent with their speech and often contradict their actions. For example, those people who say they support us in our plans, but at the same time, avoid getting involved in them.

This doesn’t mean that all our friends have to be part of our personal projects, but when there’s no coherence between speech and actions, the situation’s confusing. Ideally, friends should be able to be honest, and clearly express when they don’t want to be part of a plan.

Tips and Ways to End a Toxic Friendship

Having reviewed the most common indicators of friendships that don’t contribute anything positive, it’s time to examine some effective ways to leave them aside, without it costing us so much to do so.

1. Learn to set boundaries in a toxic friendship

To let go of a friendship that’s not worthwhile, it’s important to know the things that we’re not willing to negotiate.

In this sense, when we’re able to maintain a firm position concerning our ideals and principles, we’ll be able to know that it’s best to move away from those who don’t respond to the same criteria.

2. Express yourself assertively

Assertive communication is an important resource to get away from bad friendships. When we can communicate our decisions clearly, we feel at peace. It’s about not repressing the need to walk away.

Expressing yourself assertively also means putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and understanding that they may not agree with your decision to distance yourself. However, we must be firm and stick to the idea. We’ll have to be brief, concise, and respectful when explaining our motives.

3. Unburden yourself before distancing yourself from the toxic friendship

Before talking to the friend you want to distance yourself from, it’s a good idea to unburden yourself to another person. The goal is to prevent emotions from becoming uncontrollable during the conversation and everything ending in conflict.

A woman thinking.

4. Visualize the moment of the conversation

Visualization is about creating probable scenarios in our minds, similar to those that could occur during the conversation. This way, we’ll be less exposed to surprise situations.

When we maintain control in tense situations, we can get out of them better.

5. Respect the other person’s opinions

As we’ve mentioned, it’s likely that the other person won’t like the decision we’ve made. However, we must be firm in our approach.

This doesn’t mean that we should force others to think as we do. It’s important to accept the other person’s point of view.

Can a toxic friendship cease to be toxic?

It’s not always necessary to distance ourselves from people; sometimes relationships can be improved. A toxic friendship may cease to be toxic as long as the parties involved can respect each other.

You don’t have to agree on everything with friends, but you do need to accept one another’s differences as much as possible.

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