BAG: ELLEN AND JAMES
Keeping and maintaining friendship as an adult is hard. Bloody hard. It's a depressing realisation to know you were only friends with people because you saw them five days a week; be that either school, uni or work. I don't make friends with people just for the sake of things, I actually find it really hard to make that initial jump into trust. But there comes a point when you have to weigh up "is this friendship causing me more harm than good?"
For me, there's two types of toxic friends I've had encounters with - the manipulator and the ghoster. They can make you feel different things, but in the end, they're both equally as toxic and can make you feel like utter shite. So here's my mini guide on when, and where to say sayonara bitch.
Gets you involved with a big group of friends and makes you feel welcome and you get involved with loads of activities. They help you out with some really personal problems because at this point they are really trustworthy. You get comfortable. They begin to influence your decisions without you ever really realising it, though others from the outside can see their level of control over you.
Issues arise when you finally have to say no for any reason. When their control is questioned, they make you feel guilty, put the pressure on and even then you might still not fully realise the extent of their control. I began desperately trying to make whatever up I'd done wrong, as they controlled "my" friendship group.
Breaking up this one was hard - it meant exposing how much I had been manipulated and a level control I hadn't see. It meant leaving a group of friends, who weren't really my "friends" to begin with. But really, it was distance and time. Removing myself from situations they were in and putting space between us. My biggest tip: no friend should make you feel guilty, and speak to others around you to make sure your behaviour isn't wildly changing.
You always meet these in person and they are ace, to start off with. You find topics that you're both super interested in, mostly as you're meeting on some mutual interest already and just seem to click. Finally, they get you, and suddenly everything is oh so easy. You seem them face to face for ages and it's easy to keep in contact with them.
When the reason you stop seeing them, that's when the problems arise. Your messages sit at read, unanswered. You start to wonder what you did that warranted that kind of response. You see that they're still socialising, still hanging out with others, so you begin to develop a complex. How did I screw up? Did I do something? Say something? Am I just not good enough? I've poured over messages and let me tell you, I still can't find a reason.
Ending this is hard. It involves playing their game. Delete whatsapp/fb chats/ messages. Cleanse your life of them. No need to tell them, if they're interested, they'll ask. It's no skin off your nose.
THE TAKE HOME POINT: Being someone's friend shouldn't make you feel guilty. You shouldn't look back at messages and interaction with worry constantly. Friends are there and you can interact with them in hundreds of different ways. Some of my pals I speak to mostly in group chat, others I can go months with without hearing anything from them, and that's okay. But as soon as you feel bad for existing, end it. Rip it off like a plaster. If you need to tell them, think about why they are toxic, and what telling them might do.
YOU ARE A BABE, AND YOU DESERVE GOOD PEOPLE AROUND YOU, LET IT HAPPEN!