After I wrote my blog post How to be a Less Shitty friend, I got multiple messages from my friends who disagreed with it. Apparently, I am an excellent friend. I am brutally honest and even though my words are hurtful sometimes, it gives them a much needed reality check. I am pretty much the Meryl Streep of friends. Feel free to send me cupcakes.
But the entire post was not about me. It was about peoplewho are unintentionally hurtful. Now, toxic people are a complete differentconcept. But how do we differentiate between a toxic person and an honestfriend? And what to do with abandoned relationships? Let me share my thoughts with you.
Unlike honest friends, toxic people will only push you to negativity. They will never guide or support you in anything but always be the first one to point out a mistake. Even when you are content with something toxic people will make you feel inadequate. For example, if you have a thriving career, toxic people will nonchalantly mention your child looks much thinner since you got back to work after your mat leave. If you choose not to go back to work the same person will tell you your life is a complete waste. You feel exhausted after spending some time with toxic people even though you can’t pinpoint what exactly went wrong.
An honest friend will tell you to remove the tag from your new top BEFORE you enter a party; a toxic friend will laugh at you in front of everyone. An honest friend will tell you if he thinks investing in a project doesn’t seem like a good idea BEFORE you invest your time and money in it. A toxic friend will encourage you to do it and later mock your choices. An honest friend will point out the mistakes on an essay you’ve been working on BEFORE you submit it. Honest friends will tell you how they really feel about you dating someone. They will never pick your side when you are the douche bag in any situation.
For our mental health and all over wellbeing, it’s extremely important that we identify toxic people around us. It can be a colleague, a friend or a family member. And when we do identify them, it’s better to either cut them off completely or build a shield around us. Toxic people are like parasites. They feed on the energy they suck out of others. If they don’t get any reaction slowly they lose interest and look for another prey.
The third kind is the one that’s more complex and possibly the most hurtful: abandoned relationships. When relationships slowly get rusty everyday, with no indication of ever going back to its original state. So what to do when it happens? When no matter how much you try to save a friendship it’s always met with aloofness? Stop forcing it. Don’t question your efforts in saving the dying relationship. Respect their choice and respect yourself enough to take notes and move on. People evolve, priorities change. It’s not always about us. Some people are too bitter to accept kindness. And it’s nobody’s fault. It’s crucial to remember that even if we don’t feel the same way about someone at the present all our past memories are true. All those distant, positive memories are as true as today’s flourishing ones. Believe in their authenticity and let the rest of it go. It’s important to internalize that when we are true to ourselves, we attract the right kind of people who value and cherish us for exactly who we are. And when we do find them, we need to treasure those relationships instead of wailing over those that didn’t last.
*KonMari: A Japanese method of tidying up created by Marie Kondo where you keep the things that “Sparks Joy” and discard the rest.
Day 07: March 13, 2019