Do you ever feel like you’re in a relationship, whether it’s a friendship, a co-worker, or a romantic one, that feels like it’s burdening you or bringing you down? Like you have the world on your shoulders every time you’re with them? These relationships are what we would call toxic…they stress us out, they make us feel badly, and they bring us down.
It’s difficult to tell people to do this, just as it’s difficult for me to do, but sometimes the best thing to do is to walk away from those relationships. I have two that I’ve walked away from in my past, which I’ll explain in a little more detail why it was healthy for me to walk away. And most recently, the relationship I was in would have been considered toxic. I didn’t realize it while I was in it, but as soon as it was over, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Sometimes it takes a rude awakening to realize just how badly a relationship is hurting you.
I had two best friends that I would have considered my best friends for life. I would have done anything for them. But neither of them are in my life anymore. They were two of the hardest decisions I’d ever made, but I know now that it was for the best.
In the first instance, we’d been best friends since college, and I was the maid of honor in her wedding. And now we don’t even talk. Although we lived in different states, that didn’t stop our friendship. We talked on the phone all the time, we texted every day, and we made frequent visits back and forth.
It wasn’t until one conversation in particular that I realized just how stressful our friendship had become…we were talking on the phone while I was walking my dogs (yes, I was one of those annoying people) and she was complaining about something (I don’t even remember what, because we had *many* conversations like that). But I remember thinking it was silly whatever it was. And I’ll admit, I wasn’t in the greatest mood either, but apparently my response was lackluster. She said something along the lines of me being insensitive and hung up on me.
Now mind you, I’m a very sensitive person (probably TOO sensitive) and I’ll be the first person to sympathize and be there in your time of need. But she was the type of friend that *always* needed me! It was like the little girl who cried wolf…when she actually needed me for a real emergency, I didn’t recognize it, because *everything* was an emergency.
It wasn’t until we had a huge blow-up during one of her visits that we realized we had grown apart and probably weren’t good in each other’s lives anymore. I wrote her a letter after she left, apologizing for everything, and I believe we talked on the phone one more time after that, but it’s been five or six years since we’ve spoken. I wonder about her every now and again, and I hope she’s doing well, but I know we are better off not being friends.
In the second instance, it was a little harder for me to handle. We’d been best friends since high school. We took driver’s ed together (oh the memories!). And we haven’t talked in…shoot, I don’t know…maybe three years. I won’t go into much detail because there’s quite a bit, but after I deployed in 2010/2011, she basically told me our entire friendship (about 15 years at this point) had been fake. I remember letting her talk and tell me her feelings and holding back tears. I didn’t know how to respond. So I told her I had to go back to work and that I would call her later.
Well, it took me a week to finally call her back. I responded to what she said…some of which I understood and some of which I had no idea what she meant or was talking about. In the end, I think we agreed to disagree on certain parts, and we tried to stay friends. But it was never the same. Every interaction after that felt forced. For the first year or so, I sent her a birthday and a Christmas card, but I never heard anything back. So I finally let it go.
Sometimes the toughest decisions we have to make are often the right decisions. I wish I could say that I missed either of those friends. But the harsh truth is that I don’t. I don’t miss the stress or the arguments or the drama or the heavy weight on my shoulders…I don’t miss the anger or the sadness or the heartache or the hurt.
My point in this post is not that you should walk away from your friends when you argue or are upset at one another. Because that’s going to happen (duh, we’re all human and have emotions and differing opinions). But re-evaluate the relationships in your life…the ones that stress you out, that bring you down, that leave you feeling drained when you’re interaction with them is done. You know the ones I’m talking about…are those relationships serving you anymore? Are they bringing happiness and love and good things into your life?
If a relationship is bringing you down and leaving you unhappy more than it is uplifting you and making you a better person, then maybe that relationship is toxic. Maybe it is one that you either need to change or one that you need to walk away from. I know it isn’t always easy to do, especially if it’s a work relationship or a significant other. But recognizing it is the first step. And making the necessary changes will make all the difference, not only for you, but for the other party, as well.
I hope you had a beautiful day!
With love and wellness,