Who has time to waste on people who bring you down? People who won’t stop complaining about the weather, or who say the word “can’t” on a regular basis. What’s worse is when these people say the word can’t in regards to your efforts or put you down so that they feel better about themselves. Here’s my story on how in my twenties I slowly realized this and decided to end a friendship.
In college I had a friend who was often the life of the party. I met her when we were freshmen on the track team. To put it mildly, she was not Coach’s favorite. He expected way more out of her based on her times from high school, times that seemed impossible when she under performed in college. She couldn’t explain her sudden slowness, nobody could, it seemed that instead of trying hard she took to complaining and blamed him instead. But we were all young and all complained a lot, so no one thought much of it. When she and other friends quit sophomore year we all still remained friends. I continued on with the team and these friends would be my escape when I needed time away to let loose. Drama with her would come and go in this group, but never directly with me. In my opinion, at the time, she was temperamental but she meant well.
After college we all continued to email regularly and stayed up to date on each others lives. She invited me to be a bridesmaid at her wedding, an extravagant affair that started off with a very dramatic bachelorette party. I caught more glimpses of how she was becoming less of a well meaning friend and more of a negative force. Regardless the wedding went on with me and other friends by her side.
helping prepare her wedding day programs
Soon after her wedding I was hired for an unknown amount of time at a new job close to where she lived. While waiting to learn how long my contract would be, she invited me to live with her and her new husband. I thought she was being so generous, but this move would allow me to see her true colors that ultimately would make me push her out of my life.
Because our friendship had been fostered out of a group setting, I never had to face what this person was like one-on-one. Living with her, a newlywed with drama that you’d only imagine you’d see on scripted television, was more than difficult. Besides the passive aggressive household they kept, her disdain towards my new relationship with the guy who would eventually become my husband was too much to bear. When she told me that my new relationship “was not special” and she criticized me for telling her about things he would do or say, I realized how mean she was. It all started to click. Other friendships she had lost, other fights she had, the drama that “happened” around her, the one common denominator was her. To me, she was a bully, and I knew better than to continue with the friendship. I was hoping to be cowardly, to move out and then only communicate via email and slowly phase the friendship out of my life. But instead it erupted in an alcohol induced screaming match in a bar. The next day I moved out (I had already found a new place) wrote a long email explaining how I felt and wished her well.
What I learned most from the experience was that toxic people don’t have a place in my life. This was probably the worst way to end a friendship and something that would likely not happen again. I also learned who my true friends from that small group were. I remain close with one, another one completely shut me out without ever hearing my side and the third stayed neutral, though that friendship waned for different reasons. It now surprises me when I’m asked about this friend since I cut myself off from her so completely I have no idea what is going on with her life. I think it also surprises the people who ask, I guess it seems unlikely that a friendship can have such a drastic break. Nevertheless I’m happy I learned how to be brave, stand up for myself and see myself out of a bad friendship.
Have you cut off “friends” in your twenties? Was it a blow up or did they go away slowly?