Once upon a time I was unknowingly/forcibly set up to give someone advice, since they were having issues in school. Thankfully to me, they never called to get this advice, but I was stressing over what to even tell them in the first place. The situation was dealing with toxic friends in school and I didn’t know how to give advice in a way that didn’t seem too over the top. I’ve dealt with a lot of toxic people, though it was more prevalent in high school, you can have toxic friendships in college and beyond as well.
Since I never got to give that advice to the girl that needed it, I figured now I can adequately type that advice out in a format that works better for me anyways!
Toxic friends come in all shapes, sizes, and ways. Sometimes you might not even recognize that a friendship is toxic. You might be the butt of too many jokes, they might put you down with back handed compliments all too often, they might steal your ideas and pass them off as their own, they may blame situations on you that you had no control over, they could use you as the scapegoat, they could put you in uncomfortable situations and call you a wimp if you feel scared, they may be pressuring you, or a number of other things.
In my experience, the only way I could handle toxic people, was to cut them out of my life. I’ve always been rather independent, and so it wasn’t too hard for me to cut someone toxic from my friend circle. If it caused other friends to abandon me as well, that was tough cookies, but it didn’t really sway me. I thought it was petty for someone (normally the toxic friend) to tell mutual friends “not to hang with me” because I stopped being their friend. I mean, that’s elementary school level pettiness.
Although, you could also talk to your toxic friend and explain that they make you feel terrible. Perhaps they don’t even notice what they are doing is hurting you. Now, if you tell them this and they laugh it off/brush it off, or call you a “wimp” for not liking being made fun of….well, they probably won’t ever stop, so at that point, it’d be in your best interest to cut them out of your life. No one deserves to be the butt of every joke in a friend circle, that is absolutely terrible. And no one deserves to have situations they have no control over be blamed on them either.
Friends are better had in quality, not quantity. If you only have one amazing friend that you can trust your entire being to, that is leagues better than having 100 friends that you wouldn’t trust with your problems. On that note, toxic friends will only bring you down and make you feel worse. They can even cause undue stress that no one needs, especially in college/grad school/careers where you will probably have enough stress as it is. Friends should be there to help you when you are stressed, not to insult you and make you more stressed for not complying with their ever need.
It might seem like the end of the world in high school to stop being friends with someone, but in the long scheme of things, it isn’t that big at all. High school friends tend to (not always) drift away after college. People move away to other states or countries, and some people never leave. Some people grow up and others stay stagnant. Move on your own path and don’t let a toxic friend who doesn’t want to grow up, keep you from growing up.
I might often say I don’t have many friends, but the friends I do have I can talk to about anything and I trust that they will give me the unfiltered, blunt advice that I need in any situation and the sugarcoated assurances I may need in others. I have acquaintances too and online friends that I might not get to meet in real life (sadly) but I know are amazing people.
Surround yourself with amazing people and you’ll find that you were amazing all along.
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