I Stepped Away From My Toxic Friendship – And You Can Too

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By Casey Reagan

Before going off to college, I let go of my best friend of 12 years. She didn’t like that I had made other girlfriends, and jealousy was not a trait she covered nicely. Her little green monster came out in blatant, passive-aggressive, and sarcastic insults. The damage done on my confidence, and the innocent bystanders I was developing a healthy relationship with, forced me to decide – is this worth it?

While this situation is tame compared to others, we will all pivot through the exhausting, destructive time in our lives known as the Toxic Friendship Warzone.

These relationships are never easy, even if they start out that way. We can all fall victim to this. I tend to see the good in people, am moderately oblivious, and am extremely extroverted; the toxic person I spoke of before was not the first in my lifetime.

Do not be fooled, these encounters come in all shapes and sizes. Some are more obvious, like the lying and passive-aggressive insults that I faced. Bigger cases occur in straight-up verbal abuse or emotional manipulation. Let it be known that you do not deserve this. These mere mortals carry mind tricks that supervillains and hypnotists envy. It can take months – or years – to pick up on the fact that there are other friends you could be making that will value everything you offer, and that is okay.

What can be so complicated is the fact that you may know you’re in a toxic friendship, but it’s never easy to get out. Your core social circle may have this toxic person’s presence wedged right in the center. The risk of distancing yourself from one hurtful human and losing so many others is daunting. Once the red flags start to sprout and the situation becomes more personal, you can find your way out; it just takes a few things to set that in motion.

It starts slowly, because these things take time. Sometimes you won’t even realize it. They may even be honest with you at some point by owning up to the manipulation of a situation for their benefit. But in their eyes, they were really just looking out for you. Sometimes you believe them, it’s easier that way. Deep down, you know there is a incentive for them, they’ll just never tell.

So you finally have the courage to start stepping away. Even just a few shuffles to the side is a good start. Maybe turn down a plan or delay responding to a message right away. This does not need to be a huge, altering gesture. You need time, too.

Do not forget that this is for you, not them. Once those shuffles become strides, you start forgetting about the distance.

And now you breathe again. Except this time, it’s different. This time, it’s your own air coming from an ecosystem that is all for you. Take this time to realize how strong you were for leaving, how wise you were for knowing you deserved better, and how encouraging you are to others who don’t quite have that strength yet. Now you breathe, and keep going towards that path.

Keep walking, and keep making those moves. I cannot promise that moving in that direction will take you somewhere better. You may be lost, and have to find a few paths along the way. This will not stop you. You are no longer where you were, living a life that was not always yours, and you deserve to find comfort in others that truly care about your well-being and growth. No matter how long it takes, or who helps you get there, you will have your own path, your own world to live and breathe in, and you will have the courage to step away.


Casey is part of the Contributing Writer Network here at Thirty On Tap. Apply to become a Contributing Writer HERE

{featured image via unsplash}

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