Have you ever been stood at a party or someone’s house, staring into the eyes of a ‘friend’ who just insulted you or made a rude joke at your expense, and thought to yourself: why am I here?
Throughout secondary school I made some new friends. Funnily enough, people actually warned me not to be friends with them before I even was, but I still got close anyway. You know, being all lonely and insecure like I think most teenagers are when they’re twelve.
Time moved on, and I’m not going lie, we had a great few years – and I’m not salty about that. I will always treasure those memories. But a couple weeks ago the relationship finally turned sour, which I think a part of me had always expected really, considering the type of people they were.
It doesn’t mean there wasn’t some degree of hurt, though.
I’m not going to delve into the details, obviously. But it didn’t end well. When I saw they’d been deliberately malicious (again), I took a deep breath and did what I’d been meaning to do for months: wipe them from my life. This meant unfriending them on social media and leaving some Facebook group chats. It meant taking down the old photos on my wall and resisting the urge to tear them up. It meant moving on, for good.
And there’s no going back.
Now, this may sound like an immature move from me, but actually I don’t think it was. It wasn’t a rash decision, I took weeks and weeks to think about it, and I decided I wasn’t gaining anything from their presence in my life anyway.
It had become a toxic friendship that mainly left me feeling sad and unhappy; and that is not one I wish to partake in any longer.
So on that day, after a few surprisingly easy clicks, they were gone. Poof. And I definitely feel better for it.
The reason I think it’s important to talk about this is because I’ve just experienced a fairly normal situation in life, and some of you may encounter it too. A particular Tumblr post I spotted the other day (created by the online counselling college) is worth mentioning here. My old friends literally ticked every box. Every. Single. One. So here are a few questions that you could apply to your own situation – if you ever find yourself struggling with this problem.
When feeling unhappy in a friendship/relationship, ask yourself:
1. What am I getting from this relationship? Is this person there for me when I need them most? Do they build me up and bring out the best in me?
2. Is this friendship draining, or is it mainly negative? Do I feel like I’m being used? Are things always about them?
3. Can I be genuine and real – and just myself – with this person? How are they likely to react if I share my honest thoughts?
4. Do they care about my feelings, my views and opinions? Or do they treat my like an object whose feelings don’t count?
5. Am I putting up with things because it’s started to feel normal? Am I scared that no one else would want to be my friend?
In my view, having no friends is better than clinging onto people who don’t treat you right. You’ve got to let go sometimes. People change and go in different directions. That’s fine. It’s okay to drift apart. It’s also okay to realise you’re not happy anymore and do something about it. That’s life. People move on. They will say horrible things sometimes. They will turn into people you thought they weren’t. They’ll surprise you. But their words don’t define you and your actions.
It’s fine to say you’ve had enough.
I hope, in my own humble experience, that I’ve been able to relate to some of you. I think this happens to everyone at some point, and it really can be a big deal, so let’s not be afraid to talk about it.
For me this is certainly a change, and hopefully a step in a new direction. I will never forget those friends, but I will never regret my decision either.