Hello friends! As teenagers we often find ourselves in new situations. It’s hard to know how to deal, so I’m here to help you. Today I’m going to help you with an unfortunately common situation among teens: toxic friendships. A toxic friendships occurs when there is repeated negative or unhealthy behaviors from one or both parties of a relationship. These friendships take away from your life and happiness, rather than adding to them as healthy relationships should. I’m sharing my honest tips on how to phase out of a relationship, they are not going to be super nice or happy. To be completely honest, this method is downright disrespectful, but if nothing else worked, you may have to get a little mean to save your sanity. Also, please remember that I’m a teen like, you and definitely not a professional anything in any way, shape, or form.
I’m going to share with you how I ended my toxic friendship. This friendship lasted for three years on and off. It’s very complicated and I won’t get into all of the details, but some main red flags were manipulation, guilt, and dishonesty. Our relationship became extremely stressful for me because I felt responsible for her. Needless to say, the relationship was not working and became mentally draining and unhealthy for both of us. Towards the “end” of our friendship, I am not proud to say that I engaged in some toxic, and pretty nasty behaviors, in (failed) attempts to drive her away. So, learn from my mistakes and gather some important tips on how to phase out of a toxic friendship.
Do not initiate contact
I’m giving you the most important step/tip first. This is important! I completely understand that you don’t want to be mean and straight up ghost this person. A somewhat friendlier approach to this would be only engaging with, or contacting this person, if they contact you first. If you text them first, then they’ll think nothing is wrong. Make the relationship one-sided. As awful as it sounds, sometimes YOU need to become the problem for a person to walk away.
Keep it Short
When this person does contact you, keep your answers or conversation brief. You don’t have to completely blow this person off, but show little to no interest in the conversation. Similarly to this, try to limit your time with them as much as possible, and try your best to reject any offers to hang out. Once again, this (should) signal to that person that the friendship is unhealthy. If they are putting in more effort than you, they will eventually realize that the relationship is not worth their time.
Focus on your other friendships
Losing a friend is hard, even if it’s the right choice for you. Begin to surround yourself with people that make you feel good and support you. In my case, my ‘person’ was definitely not my best friend (I’m so so sorry if the relationship you’re trying to end is with your best friend), so I didn’t have to worry about finding a place. One mistake that I made, however, and completely regret was talking ill of my toxic friend. I feel like I spoiled her chances at making friends with some of the people I talked to. Definitely do not go around talking bad about this person, not only is it awful for the other person, but it makes you look bad.
This can be hard for all of my non-confrontational peeps. We don’t like fights, and definitely do not want to hurt this persons feelings (directly at least). If the person that you’re trying to shed approaches you and asks about your friendship, I strongly urge you to be honest. Make it clear that the relationship is bad for your mental health and that you think it’s best if you part ways. You are smart and strong, I’m sure that you can think of something to say that will foster a respectful and mature conversation about the fate of your friendship.
I’m reading this back and it sounds HARSH! Of course, there are other, more direct ways to end a friendship, but in my case, waiting it out was the best option. I also wanted to mention that you may feel guilty when you decide to end a toxic friendship. I certainly did, but I had to put my own mental health first. If the relationship isn’t healthy, get out! There are, of course, some exceptions to which I would say seek help from a parent or guidance counselor. I hope this helps you, and that you get the relief that you deserve. Please make smart choices and be safe!