4 Hidden Benefits Of Toxic Friendships

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Toxic friendships may not always start out as bad — you probably wouldn't have become friends with them in the first place if that were the case.

But at one point or another, a friendship can deteriorate over time due to several different reasons, and the aftermath can feel just as tough as a breakup. That said, there are some benefits of toxic friendships to keep in mind as you move forward with your life.

Whatever the reason, often it's just as hard to walk away from a toxic friendship as it is a toxic relationship with a lover. 

Trust me, I know. I went through a horrible breakup with one of my closest friends at the beginning of quarantine and I’ve taken the time to really start understanding our friendship while spending time away from each other.

Hidden benefits of toxic friendships

RELATED: 3 Major Clues That Your Friend Is Actually Toxic

Low-key, I believe that leaving this friendship was one of the best things I could do for myself and I became a better person because of this breakup. 

1. You learn to stop trusting others right away.

For whatever reason a toxic friendship has started to break apart, the main underlying issue is that both sides lose their sense of trust and faith in the other person. 

After going through such a traumatizing experience, you might want to stop trusting others altogether. 

I know how it feels to think, “If my closest friend can betray me, then anyone can do the same.” 

That may be true, but understand that you did your best and gave the other person the benefit of the doubt to maintain the trust between you two. 

Maybe this was the type of wake-up call that you needed to learn that not everyone deserves your trust.

After getting out of a toxic friendship, keep in mind that your trust is a privilege that friends or lovers need to work for; trust isn’t just a free hand-out. 

Don’t just think of yourself as having trust issues from this bad relationship, but instead know that this was one bad experience and you learned your lesson not to naively trust anybody and everybody.

2. You can now focus your energy on yourself.

Personally, I am extremely introverted and I love to spend time with myself.

When I choose to spend time with others, I feel that I am giving the other person the privilege of taking my time and energy. I enjoy being around a lot of people, but when it comes to actually interacting and socializing with others, I can only manage one or two people at a time.

After separating yourself from a toxic friendship, you realize that you’re free from the burden of constant worry and stress. Take advantage of this time to redirect your energy towards activities or things that nourish your wellbeing.

Whether it be picking up a new hobby, learning a new skill, or taking time to self-reflect, it’s time to work on your personal development.

RELATED: 4 Signs You're Stuck In A Toxic Friendship (& How To Deal With It)

3. You can spot red flags from a mile away.

After the grueling experience of a toxic friend breaking your trust, you now have the knowledge of what red flags look like. 

You should have an idea of what early signs of a toxic relationship or friendship looks like. This works to your advantage because knowing exactly what turns you off allows you to start setting boundaries for yourself and others.

If someone you just met has an eerie similarity to a toxic person you have met before, know and recognize the signs. Your fight-or-flight instincts exist for a reason! Understand how you feel when confronted with certain situations and behaviors so you can protect yourself.

Turn your experience of pain and hurt feelings into a learning experience in which you can start recognizing unhealthy behaviors and habits in others. 

4. Saying no becomes easier.

Congratulations, you have achieved a sound state of mind that helps you recognize red flags and invest in yourself.

The next step in becoming a better person after a toxic friendship is to not just set boundaries, but also learn how to say no when you feel someone is overstepping those boundaries.

For different people, boundaries can mean various things.

Boundaries could include: allowing the other person to have their personal time, respecting the other person’s personal space, not badgering about the other person’s life, or respecting the other person’s likes and dislikes.

Some friends don’t mind spending 24/7 with each other, and the same goes for relationships too. However, there are definitely people like me who need to have their personal time and space away from others in order to ‘recharge’. 

Setting boundaries indicates that you really understand yourself and what you need for your mental wellbeing in a friendship or relationship.

Strong, independent women and men most likely all have their own boundaries they live by.

Becoming a better person does not only mean to treat others better but to stop getting hurt and knowing yourself so well enough that you know exactly what you need from a friendship.

RELATED: 12 Types Of Negative People That Lead To One-Sided, Toxic Friendships

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Rachell Lee is a writer who covers news, love and relationship topics.