With any discussion of toxic people, it’s important to understand that you can’t change anyone but yourself, so it’s best to stop trying. If you’re in any sort of friendship or relationship with a toxic person, chances are you’ve bending over backwards for while trying to make it work. But the important thing to realize is this: You can only change the things that are open to your influence, and toxic people will never be one of them.
Some of the biggest stressers in life come for the toxic people we surround ourselves with. But today, you can take back control of your life and begin to set yourself up for success. Your friendships need to be a source of happiness and support! Not stress.
I’m not saying that a single fight with your bff means it’s time to call it quits. Every friendship (and relationship for that matter) will be filled with minor disagreements, small spats and even one or two major blowouts. But at the end of the day, a true friend cares for one another and wants what’s best for each other – no matter what.
On the other hand, a toxic friendship is a one way street – all take and hardly any give. And it’s totally okay to identify these type of people/friends and cut them out of your life. In the a beautiful post on Darling Magazine, Danielle McGuire says, “Many can have a skewed take on what deep friendship actually means. Somewhere along the way, it’s possible to lose sight of those crucial elements that make up a best friend.”
So today, look at the friendships in your life and identify the people who don’t add value to your life, as well as the ones that do. For the people who don’t add value, here are nine ways you can try to rid yourself of their toxicity.
Identify Who Can Go Immediately
First, you have to reflect on who actually is sucking your energy dry or making you feel defeated. Pull out a journal and write down all the people that you deem as toxic in your life. For a jump start as to what these people may look like: They are typically people who take you up and down (I love you, I hate you) the whiners, the takers, the down-right mean, the users, the bull-shitters, the gossipers and certainly anyone who is passive aggressive.
Once you have created this list, circle the ones you know you can get rid of completely and erase them (as if you hit the delete button on Facebook). Cut them off! That means no more answering their calls, actually deleting them from social media, and getting rid of the shit they put you through.
Don’t internalize their hate or negativity
If you have identified this person as toxic and have even set boundaries with them, but you allow them to take up your mind space, they are still in your life.
* Ruminating and dwelling on toxic people for any reason still brews up the poison in you and toxifies you:
So many time we replay events and take their negativity to heart. But before you let them invade you and bring down your confidence, look at the source. Is this person credible, worthy of hurting you and do you really think that they have your best interest in mind? If not, let them go.
* Work to be aware of how much mind space you are giving them:
The more awareness you have of the time they are using in your mind, the more likely you are to catch yourself in the act of ruminating and then you’ll be able to cut it. There is no quick fix to cutting negative thoughts – expect to retrain your brain. You didn’t always think about this toxic person; you trained your mind and created a habit of it. It took time.
Now, today, begin to retrain your mind. Try redirecting these negative thoughts back to goodness. How are you better off without this person or the toxicity in your life? Begin thinking about your weekend plans, good times with true friends or your action steps for reaching a goal. Just get your mind away from negativity.
You may have to really work at this. The mind is powerful and can easily fall back into a habitual way of thinking as you go about your day on auto-pilot. But the mind is powerful both ways. If you want it to think or behave differently, with effort and repetition, you mind can create a new habit.
* You are who you associate with:
People are typically a combination of the top 3-5 people they associate with the most. Take a moment to reflect on the people you spend most of your time with and reflect on whether or not these people are in line with your goals and direction.
The Self-Love Challenge is over in just a couple weeks! And you have the power and control to take back your life. Toxic people will waste your energy and many of them will steer you away from your goals at some point. And if they don’t steer you off track, they will make your journey toward your goals more difficult and draining.
Today, I challenge you to select the most toxic person on your list and begin taking back control.
We’re prone to thinking friendship is this stagnant, unconditional love that treasures each and every person for exactly who they are. While this is accurate, a true friend is someone who gently and firmly drives her friends forward. A friend like this encourages to right the wrongs and do things that grow them, even when it’s tough.
Get Clear On What You Need
Write down how you want to feel in life and within in your friendships.
For example, this is how I want my life and friendships to feel:
- Purposeful in her actions and motives
- Supportive of my dreams
- Honest when my dreams are too far-fetched
- Help to keep me accountable
As you write out your list, remember this quote from famous philosopher Elbert Hubbard: “In order to have friends, you must first be a friend.” Not only are you thinking of how you want to be treated, but also how you need to treat others. In the same post, McGuire also adds, “Friendship is not a one-sided transaction. It’s an exchange between two people that, yes, involves getting, but for the most part it’s also about giving and focusing on the other person.” Envision what you want out of your friendships. If there are certain people who are making you feel the opposite of what you want, they probably don’t belong in your life.
Don’t Be Sentimental
Every friendship, no matter how toxic it is, has it’s good moments. You have memories of fun times and laughter, but don’t romanticize your past, as tempting as it might be! If you can learn to leave the good times in the past and take them for what they are, you can walk away.
Don’t be sentimental about those who don’t deserve it. Save your fond nostalgia for people who enrich your life and work towards building memories with them rather than dwelling on meaningless ones.
With yourself, and with your friend. Don’t phase someone out. It makes you just as toxic as them! The only exception would be for casual friends/acquaintances/party pals who wouldn’t find anything amiss if you weren’t at the bar Friday night.
But for friends you talk to and see regularly and intimately, it’s important to communicate your desire to end the friendship. That way they know you agenda and won’t pursue you. Or be hurt by you ignoring them suddenly.
DELETE, DELETE, DELETE
I’m a big proponent of actually deleting people from your life when you decide you want to delete them from your life. Because any sort of lingering social media presence is only going to serve as temptation to stalk. Which is only going to lead you to feeling bad. Which negates the purpose of divorcing from your toxic friend in the first place. Which is to make you feel good!
Delete their phone number, past texts, Facebook, Instagram, or any other way in which you’re digitally connected.
If the toxic friend you’re trying to cut out comes sniffing you out, trying to create drama, DON’T ENGAGE! If another friend comes to you and tells you that your old friend has been spreading talk about you, IGNORE IT! And if you get angry, guilt-applying emails or texts, politely decline to engage with them.
A friend whose natural pattern is to create drama knows how to rope people into their theater of manipulation, so be clear with your intention to separate yourself from the melodramatics. It’s important to walk away firmly, and not be tricked into defending yourself when your toxic friend tries to stir up some shit.
Make New Friends
When you end a romantic relationship, people around you will often urge you to date again. The same goes with purging a toxic friend! Find new friends, or invest more time in healthy, existing friendships.
Feeling alone, or like you’ve lost someone sets you on a dangerous course to regress into old, bad habits. Surround yourself with love and happiness and you’ll be less likely to miss the person who was nasty to you.
Put Yourself First
Nowadays, putting yourself first is no longer a bad thing. And actually, many studies show it’s important to put your wants and needs before others every now and again. Selfishness is about recognizing what you need and doing what you can to meet those needs. However, in a toxic friendship, chances are you’re used to putting the needs of your friends first — often sacrificing your own happiness and needs.
In order to truly cut someone out of your life, you need to be prepared to put yourself first for once. Think about what YOU need and what will make YOU happy in the long term. The more you put yourself first, the less guilt you will feel for cutting out the toxic people in your life.
Letting go of toxic people takes guts! It takes a thick backbone, which you can definitely grow with practice. Now is the time to stand up for yourself and decide who deserves to be in your life, and who doesn’t. Because you deserve the best. You are only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with. So be brace enough to let go of those who keep weighing you down.
+Have you ever had to let a good friend go? Why? And what steps did you take? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Much love and good luck