Oh we have all experienced them. I, admittedly, have been one of them: a toxic friend. We have all heard the term but I wanted a better definition so I went to the tried and true: Google. I’m not one for WebMD but the article that I found had some very moving words and I couldn’t say it better myself:
“The phrase ‘toxic friend’ is pop psychology,” says Jenn Berman, PhD, apsychologist in private practice in Beverly Hills, Calif. “I would say it’s someone who, after spending time with them, makes you feel bad about yourself instead of good; someone who tends to be critical of you — sometimes in a subtle way and sometimes not so subtle; a friend who drains you emotionally, financially, or mentally, and they’re not very good for you.” (http://www.webmd.com/women/features/toxic-friends-less-friend-more-foe?page=2)
You may wonder why I’m posting about this on my transformation page. Well, recently there have been events that have transpired that have really ruffled my feathers. Lisa has a friend (I use this term very loosely) that is the epitome of a toxic friend. Lisa and I have now been dating for over a year. We have a had and continue to have a very healthy and balanced relationship and friendship. Sadly, I have seen her be abused by this friend over the course of our relationship. She is, in my opinion, a miserable person. And we all know what they say about misery…
She doesn’t like me. Okay. Whatever. It hurt my feelers in the beginning but I can absolutely say that I have tried to have common ground with her and she rejects me. She is the type of person who is the victim of their own circumstance. You know the kind: poor, poor pitiful me. We are all adults. We made our choices. We lead our own lives.
I know that I’ve experienced my own growing pains with friendships. I have had two friendships that lasted 15 and 20 years that haven’t panned out the way that they should have. When you’ve been friends that many years, isn’t it supposed to last forever? That’s kinda the mentality but it’s not the reality. I can say that in both of my friendships that I had my fair share of the ‘blame’ (for lack of a better word). I could go on and on about them. I could point fingers and give a running score card of who did what to whom but what would that accomplish? Not a whole lot. I have spent a whole hell of a lot of time analyzing why things didn’t work out. I’ve written letters and texts trying to mend fences; spent countless hours talking with other friends about the ‘betrayals’ of said friendships. In the moments of analyzing these friendships, it only made me miserable and they lost nothing. Although, I like to take a lesson from everything I experience. And these broken friendships have taught me many things.
Jealousy is an evil, evil thing. There is no room for it in…really anything but, especially, a friendship. It tears you down and, worse yet, it destroys your friendship. Be happy for your friend’s success. It’s not a competition.
Articulation and communication is a must. No one out there is a mind reader. I don’t care how long you’ve known each other; there’s no person in this world that knows EXACTLY what you’re thinking all of the time. Not possible. All too often, we lash out at those that we care about. We use the wrong emotions and get an undesired outcome. Such as with my failed friendship: I got angry and blamed her for forgetting about me and choosing her bf over me. I lashed out and acted like a child not getting her way. When in actuality, I was sad and I missed my friend. I wasn’t able to articulate that at the time. And while this wasn’t the sole reason for the destruction of our friendship, it was a main contributor.
Relationships of all kinds are work. You can’t expect someone to make YOUR friendship work. We get too caught up in: she did this and she didn’t do that and poor me poor me. We fail to realize that just like with anything in this life: you get what you give. You aren’t gonna get that promotion at work if you don’t do the work. You won’t get the date with the girl at the coffee shop if you don’t ask her out. Just the same, you can’t expect to have an intimate friendship if you don’t nurture it sometimes.
Be kind; be understanding. We all have our struggles. Each and every one of us are fighting battles not known by others. Be compassionate. Give the benefit of the doubt. Don’t be so hasty to judge.
And if you’ve done all these things and still your friendship sucks, call a spade a spade. Really, all people have a purpose in your life and sometimes that purpose isn’t what you expected. You don’t have to be miserable about that. My dad once told me that I’d be LUCKY to have just a couple true friends. I thought he was full of it at the time because I had sooo many friends but now I realize that his assertion was spot on.
This life is just too precious and too short to waste it being miserable. If you’re miserable, you have the ability to change it. I truly believe that. As for Lisa’s friend, the protective person in me wants to call her all kinds of names and tell her where to go; but the wiser person in me wishes her peace. I think she’s sad that her friendship with Lisa isn’t what it once was. I think she’s unfulfilled in her own life. I think that she’s jealous of the positive changes that Lisa has made. I think that she doesn’t say what she actually feels. And maybe none of these thoughts are true but I know this to be true: Lisa is a good person. She is kind and generous. She is thoughtful. She is a great friend. She has had her share of grief; her share of let downs. She deserves to be happy. Maybe what we have will last forever; maybe it won’t. But I’ll tell you this, if your ‘friend’ can’t be happy for you when you are happiest, what kind of friend is that? And THAT has absolutely nothing to do with me.
Lisa posted this sweet quote on my Facebook wall today about falling in love
and I wrote the following response. I think it is rather on point. In spite of everything I have gone through and though I’d never wish it on anyone, I feel so very fortunate to have found two amazing loves; two amazing people who love(d) me in spite of all of my flaws and have made my life all the better.