Ideally, friendships are meant to be a source of joy, support, comfort and growth. They should encourage you to openly be yourself and make you feel valued for who you are. Healthy friendships cultivate mutual trust and respect that should always be maintained despite differences.
If you find yourself in a friendship that lacks understanding and decent level of respect or one where just the thought of having to communicate with and be around that person stirs a sense of dread, you might be in a toxic friendship. It can be due to a dynamic where your interactions heavily operate on criticism or manipulation that leaves you feeling anxious upset or even resentful. Perhaps it’s a relationship that causes you to constantly feel you are treading on eggshells just to avoid the next drama. Maybe it is one that has become too demanding and invasive of your time and boundaries. If any of these apply, then it may be time to reevaluate this relationship by weighing it in terms of what it gives you versus what it takes.
Really look carefully into the emotional cost of maintaining this friendship and its damaging effects on you and your health and decide to make a change.
There are different approaches you can take to find your peace – you can decide to confront your friend and resolve the issues that lead to this unhealthy dynamic between you. You may realize that this is a friendship where you are better off keeping at a distance and engaging in much in smaller doses. In extreme cases, if you find that the friendship is detrimental and causes you more harm than it does you good you may want to consider completely letting go of it.
This may seem like a drastic decision, but letting go of a toxic friendship opens up space in your life for healthier, more empowering, and meaningful relationships which in turn can lead to lower stress and a happier life experience.