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Toxic Friends vs. Healthy Friends

January 20, 2012

I realized recently that when I talk to one of my friends on the phone, I instantly start doing something productive without thinking about it.  My dishes seem to be done in no time and she does the same.  I told her, “Every time I talk to you, I get so much done.  It’s awesome!”  We laugh, we talk each other through difficult times, give each other tips on cooking and crafts, and we plan fun gatherings with our other friends.  It’s very uplifting.

I compared that to conversations with another friend.  I sit down and have to choose my words very carefully.  I feel stressed.  When the phone rings, I know she’s going to need or want something and I know it’s going to be bad news 99% of the time.  I’ll hear nothing from her until the next crisis and the things I’m going through will be overlooked.  If I don’t respond soon, she’ll leave a message in her nicest voice saying, “Hey, I hope you didn’t drop off the face of the earth.” but then it’s OK for her not to answer my calls for a couple weeks or more.  If she offers to take me out for lunch, I know there’s a catch or that it’s basically payment for another favor she’s about to request.

I have a life and contrary to her belief, I’m not sitting around waiting to hear about the latest dilemma with her ex-husband.  Everyone needs a friend and she’s certainly going through some hard times, most of which is self-inflicted, but I have to face it. This is a toxic friend.  I’m glad I helped her through the worst, but sadly there is nothing for me in this relationship.  Things aren’t going very well with her new husband and I fear getting sucked into the ugliness of another divorce when she finally gets around to calling me.  I warned her about red flags in both marriages, so it’s double frustrating to see her marry these guys anyway and then ask for help when it becomes a nightmare.  She does praise me up and down, but it’s basically for being her rescuer.  That doesn’t feel like friendship though.  I feel more like her untrained therapist.

Backing away from toxic friends has been one of my best decisions and has given me a lot more time to invest in healthy friendships. I still love them though and hope for the very best for them.  The frequent drama just isn’t good for me or my family.

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 20, 2012 1:26 pm

    I know exactly what you mean.

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