Woman annoyed with text message

Friend
or foe?

It’s easy to assume everyone you meet will have your best interests at heart, but some people are only out for themselves. Getting ensnared in a friendship with someone who doesn’t really care about you can be tough, but staying in the relationship can be even tougher. Sometimes you just need to cut ties and move on, and we have some tips for doing just that.

Expert advice

We asked April Masini, relationship expert behind the critically acclaimed "Ask April" advice column, to share some insight into moving on from a toxic friendship. “Have you ever noticed that everyone talks about, and writes books on, and dedicates songs to how hard it can be to get through the loss of a romantic relationship, but when it comes to those that are platonic, mum is the word?” she asks. “The truth is, though, that they can be just as — if not more — devastating.”

"Your time is valuable. Make the most of it by streamlining your social circle to include only the people who really matter to you."

Toxic friendships defined

There are many different types of friends — some people become ultra-close, others are work friends or gym friends. Toxic friends though, are the ones that don’t offer you much in the way of support. “So-called friends who mooch your money, strain your sanity, take up all of your time or put you in situations where you simply don’t feel comfortable are not friends at all,” explains Masini. “These are also the people who aren’t easily blown off because they either don’t get the hint that you don’t share their friendly feelings or because they just don’t like taking no for an answer.”

How to say goodbye

While it may be difficult — and it may sound mean — the best way to end this kind of toxic friendship is to be honest and simply say that you don’t think you should be friends anymore. But then what? “If she pushes for an explanation, which she probably will, don’t waste your energy listing all the reasons why she’s become a burden. Simply let her know that you want to focus on the positive things in your life,” advises Masini. “This should clue her in to the fact that she’s not one of them.”

Between real friends, family, careers and social activities, you’re too busy to waste time on people who bring you down. “Your time is valuable. Make the most of it by streamlining your social circle to include only the people who really matter to you,” Masini says.

More about friendship

5 Ways to make your friends hate you
4 Signs she's not a real friend
Making new friends as an adult

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Comments

Comments on "How to ditch a toxic friend"

Lizbeth December 17, 2013 | 1:35 PM

i'm actually scared to leave my 'toxic' friend, because I feel like if I do, all my other friends that hang out with her will turn on me. Like, she knows so may people its crazy! and i'm just random loner that has no social skills and the only reason she hasn't gotten rid of me is because she is relying on me for advice and company when no one else is available. Thinking about it, if I were younger than her (im about two years older) and she were friends with people I didn't know, she would probably be bulling me.

Amanda May 24, 2013 | 2:09 PM

I'm going through something very difficult with my "Used-to-be" best friend.I have been friends with her since the beginning of Middle School. I'am very close with her but lately things just don't feel like they used to feel. We barley talk on the phone anymore and when we do its always about her. I have tried plenty of times trying to explain how I feel to her but its like its going in one of her ears and out the other. she has a decent job so she does work regularly but never has any time for me what so ever! She blames it on her hours she works but every-time I try and check in with her to make plans for our next hangout she is always busy hanging around other people and doing other things I'm starting to give up on this friendship,And I really don't know what to say or do anymore. Please can somebody Please give me some friendly Advice? I don't know where to turn to. Thanks:)

Veronica February 08, 2013 | 6:30 PM

This was a really good article and rings so true. As we grow up, you realize who you should and shouldn't have in your life and it's important to recognize that. You don't have to be best friends with everyone.

Lisa January 21, 2013 | 11:05 AM

In my younger, stupider years, I started to become a toxic friend to my dearest friend. Some people mature faster than others, I guess. Once I realized my behavior and went through counseling, I changed, gave a complete apology for my behavior and thanked my friend for sticking around. So, of course I believe that some people can change and I've mended some friendships in my own lifetime with people who are dedicated to self-awareness and self-improvement and who value me for the right reasons, and I in turn value them. But yes, there have been others that I had to cut, because they just lacked the awareness of their harmful behavior. So, in sum, there are those who can change and there are those who wish to maintain the status quo. It's tough to figure out which ones are which. I will say, though, I learned long ago that simply feeling sorry for someone is never a good reason to be friends. Eventually, it backfires, and you never come out looking good for it.

Tiffany October 29, 2012 | 4:25 PM

I agree with the article. We only live once - it's important to surround yourself with positive people!

Hannah October 29, 2012 | 9:54 AM

Though I do agree it's really important to not let negative people into your life, sometimes they need you way more than you need them. I have a few toxic friends, but instead of cutting them out I severely limit my time with them.

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