Toxic friendships will make your crazy. Find out how these people had the strength to move on.
Friendships are a beautiful thing. A good friendship means you have someone to call at 2 a.m. when a problem is eating you alive. You get to learn and grow and have fun times together. Your good friends have your back— they tell it to you like it is and support you when you're a wreck.
Happiness studies show that people need at least 1 significant relationship in their life to be happy. Because we are social beings, it's natural and healthy for us to seek out others for mutual closeness.
But what if that connection goes wrong and becomes toxic. Sometimes people change — or maybe we didn't really know our friend in the first place. You now discover that this person doesn't value or care about you friendship. You feel angry, hurt and betrayed.
The following are three stories of good friends gone wrong — so much so that their relationships became toxic, and something had to change:
1. The Jealous Friend
Justin spent almost fifteen years living near his good friend. They hung out all the time and traveled together. Over the past few years, his friend became very jealous of a work opportunity that he wasn't asked to be involved in. This led to his friend spewing ugly gossip over his bitterness of feeling left out.
As an understanding friend, Justin dealt with it for awhile. However, it came to the point where it could not be tolerated any further. He got real and had it out with his friend. He told him how he felt and that no true friend back stabs his bud. All of their activities together ended and it was devastating for Justin.
Even though they run into each other constantly, Justin thought it was better to stop hanging out then being around someone who would not be happy for his success. Justin says: "It's not easy, but better to find those people who are cool with me than wondering when the next ignorant comment is coming my way."
2. The Emotional Vampire
Emily became good friends with Heather over a four-year time span. Heather and Emily had a blast at their workplace and it made the days and evenings go by quickly. They decided to take their friendship away from work and started hanging out after hours.
Over the last 6 months, Emily began to take notice of activities that bothered her about Heather. She drank herself into oblivion so much so that she slept with tons of guys, wrecked her car and began neglecting her own children.
Heather was a hot mess. She even started to make everything a competition between the two of them — who had the best car, the best guy and who made more money at their workplace. Heather also began trying to use Emily for anything she could get.
Emily continued to stay by Heather's side thinking she would bounce back — it was not meant to be. She drained Emily to the point she had no energy left for Heather's never-ending needs. Emily states: "She was an emotional vampire who sucked the life out of me. My anxiety level was through the roof!"
After several intense conversations, Heather just didn't get it. Emily slowly began to pull away, but Heather would use any excuse to communicate — even if it meant making up nasty, untrue stories about Emily.
Luckily, they stopped working together and after several months of Emily pulling back, Heather finally got the hint. Emily missed the friendship at first but by the end, really didn't care. She was over it!
3. The Friend Who Takes But Never Gives
Cindy was Madeline's ski instructor. They had so much fun that Madeline thought they should get together outside of the ski lodge. For a few years, they had a blast! Recently though, Cindy began to notice that Madeline became a "what have you done for me lately" friend.
Cindy says: "It felt like she could only see me as an answer to needing something. There was no give and take anymore." She would cringe when she saw Madeline's number come up and had no interest in hitting the talk button. She got sick of feeling like Madeline's personal assistant instead of her good friend.
Since they weren't forced to see each other at the lodge, Cindy just pulled away. It was sad in the beginning because she felt the grief we all feel when we lose someone close to us. But at this point, Cindy feels relieved —her time is freed up to concentrate on all the other wonderful, caring people in her life.
All these stories have one thing in common — taking without giving. Whether people are talking behind your back, draining the life out of you, or using you for their own needs, it always about them.
We are all at various phases of our lives with lots to learn. Do yourself a favor — forgive them, have hope for them, and move forward.
None of us are perfect and people teach us what we need to know. Remember the lessons and use them to grow, live better, and most of all, be happy.
Lori Peters is a radio show host, writer, and speaker in happiness and well-being. She serves adults who are interested in keeping their happiness levels up and writes about happiness and relationships focusing on those over 35. Check out her free resources, services and sign up for her monthly newsletter at the Happiness Hangout.