You probably know how difficult it is to eat nutritious foods if you're at a greasy burger place. What about when you're trying to cut back on alcohol, but you're surrounded by people that are drinking? Both of these are great examples of how we are influenced and affected by the environments in which we create for ourselves.
Now consider your relationships with your friends. Are they encouraging and supporting you? Are they providing a positive and healthy environment for you to grow and be the best person that you can be? If the answer is 'no', then it may be time to sever those friendships.
When to Sever a Toxic Friendship
Sometimes we don't even notice how others are negatively affecting us.
Warning signs of a toxic relationship are:
- Feeling exhausted or emotionally drained after spending time with a person
- Feeling that this person constantly needs your support, but are unwilling to provide it in return
- Constantly getting texts or calls at all hours and expectation of immediate responses, without any respect for your time
Yes, relationships take work. However they shouldn't take that much work. If you're constantly consoling, repairing, and supporting, how does that leave you with enough energy for your own growth?
If you are surrounded by people that are naturally positive the energy is already there. It will take some effort of course and there will be conflict at times, but in general it is pretty easy. They support you and you support them. There should be a balance, not one person pulling all the weight.
Ask yourself these questions:
Do you suffer from low self-esteem?
- Do you feel the need to constantly justify your life choices?
- Do you frequently abandon your values or goals when you're around your friends or a particular person?
- Do you feel out of place even when you're surrounded by friends?
- When you're upset, do you usually suffer alone?
If you answered 'yes' to any of those questions, it may be time to think about moving forward and severing those unhealthy relationships.
How to Remove Yourself from Unhealthy Relationships
Cutting out those unhealthy ties is never easy. Often there is a backlash, and hurtful words might be exchanged. Here are some ways to make the process easier:
Understand that their anger is not about you.
These toxic friends may get angry if you try to move on. This can be for a number of reasons, whether they're insecure about themselves, upset about not being able to find happiness in their own life, or depressed and not willing to, or unable to seek professional help. Whatever the reason, it's good to remind yourself: even though the anger may be directed at you, it's not really about you.
Make an effort to spend time with old friends or seek out new ones.
Is there a friend that you haven't seen in a while? Rekindle that friendship. There is a reason you became friends with them in the first place, and it could lead to more positive connections with others. You can also find meetings or groups to join with similarly-minded people, and nourish those new relationships. Surround yourself with positive people that are also working towards getting and staying healthy throughout all facets of their life.
Remember you're not losing a friend, you're creating space for a better one.
Sometimes we have to take a step backwards in order to move forwards. You may be down one friend in the short-term, but if they aren't influencing your life in a positive way then it is time to make room for someone who will.
With anything in life, the right choice isn't always the easy one. However removing those toxic relationships will get you one step closer towards living a more happy and fulfilling life.
[Credit: Romaniello, John. When to Sever a Friendship. Roman Fitness Systems.]