Thought Catalog
May 13, 2014

Keep Your Friends Close, Your Frenemies Far Away

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Shuterstock
Shuterstock

“It’s 2014. Everything can be deleted and restored. You don’t need toxic relationships dragging you down. Delete the bad ones, restore the broken good ones. Live a full life and die peacefully when you turn 90.”

We could only wish that it’ll be that easy. Getting rid of toxic relationships has never been easy and it probably never will be. We only realize that we are in them once things go spiraling down — we never see the red flags and whenever something bad happens, we just accept it and move on. I don’t think that should be the case anymore.

We’re all so focused on romantic relationships and their red flags but we fail to see that the real toxic relationships are the ones we’ve always thought to be great because we always have fun with our friends, no matter how serious the situation gets. Everyone’s focused on living the full life and just enjoying every minute of it and since the closest thing we have to magic is love, we also focus on that. But we never focus on our friendships because they’re just always there. And then we fail to see that we’ve been dealing with two-faced people who only care about you when you make your presence known.

Just because you’ve been friends since childhood doesn’t mean you owe each other a lifetime of friendship. Friends come and go and you meet new people weekly, if not daily. Out of the 7 billion people in the world, you’re bound to find that soul who was created by God to be your eternal best friend. So you’re actually free to let go of those people who only know you when they need you, who talk shit behind your back, who always use you as their shoulder-to-cry-on or as their Dr. Phil, and worse, who only know you when you’re throwing a party. It doesn’t necessarily mean that these people are generally bad, their preferences in life, character, personality, how they turned out when they got old, whatever you call it, just isn’t working for you anymore and you have to let them go because it already affects you differently than you’d hope.

It will be hard as hell. Removing these old, or new, friendships also mean deleting other ties or acquaintances too. Your common friends, your co-workers, your classmates, anyone else who can see that you’re trying to let this other person go, they will feel awkward and will try their best to avoid putting the two of you in one room, but will always fail at it. You will have to cut yourself from a whole web of connections even if you just want to let go of one person. It will make you feel awkward and lonely, and the gap that those long-term friendships would leave will be pretty hard to fill.

But remember that friends come and go, relationships get broken and all of this is completely normal. You just need to wake up and see that this isn’t really working for you anymore, and you have to let go. No matter how much it hurts, no matter how difficult it may seem, you just have to let them go already. You are not selfish by doing this. You are also not immature. This is not your typical middle school fight that you will ignore each other until the fight goes out of your heads and you remember that you guys are best friends. You are doing this because you cannot be stuck in these toxic relationships anymore. You’re living every day trying to shelf the pain of whatever they have done to you or the gut feeling that you just aren’t friends-friends anymore. You can’t do that to yourself. This is also a very mature thing to do because letting these people go stops you from talking behind their backs. Letting them go means you don’t meddle in their business anymore. I think people are mistaken that if you allow someone to be your friend, you also allow them to talk behind your back. Simply put, letting them go makes it easier to ignore them because hey, you don’t care anymore.

The best part about letting them go is you can be civil and not have any guilty feelings at all. You (should) know that they can take care of themselves and that you don’t really need to oversee their well-being anymore. Letting actual people go also rids you of the responsibility to be a good friend when, in reality, you don’t need owe them anything.

This whole process is painful but that’s normal. Sometimes you just need to remind and push yourself to do it, especially if that gut feeling has been in your gut for way too long already. TC Mark

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