What You Should Do When Your Best Friend Becomes Your Bully

Twenty20 / ashltorres
Twenty20 / ashltorres

We all fight. It’s in our nature, and it’s something we can’t avoid. However, there comes a point when a fight with a friend becomes more personal–the fight escalates to uncalled-for jabs, rumors, and petty attempts to get your attention. Sometimes, your former friends can become your bullies.

Not every friend in our lives is meant to stay. And if your so-called “friend” is deliberately trying to hurt you and make you unhappy, that friend is not worth your time.

Here are some tips to coping with that loss and keeping those toxic people out of your life:

DON’T:

1. Don’t linger on what you “should have said.”

When you’re laying in bed at 3am, wrestling with that “I should have said…” ghost, remember that if that person were really your friend, it wouldn’t have mattered what you said or could have said. They wouldn’t have tried to intentionally hurt you in the first place. Sometimes, there are people who are hurting so much internally, they take it out on their loved ones. And no matter what you said or “should have” said, it wouldn’t have changed the fact that they are unhappy.

Fighting with friends is one of the hardest things we all have to do during our lives, but if they’re true friends, you both won’t be thinking “I should have said” in ten years, when you’re sitting on your porch together, drinking wine and reminiscing about those “golden college years.”

2. Don’t take their bait.

Whether it’s a snarky comment to a friend that traveled down the gossip train, or a passive-aggressive tweet you stumbled upon, don’t bite. If their attempts at communication have boiled down to mean, immature jabs at your person hood, they’re not worth your friendship or time. Surround yourself with people who love you and support you, both in person and on social media.

3. Don’t text and drink.

If you haven’t blocked them from your phone (see DO #1) and are keeping lines of communication open, their name might seem pretty appealing after that fourth shot at the bar. Whether it means blocking them temporarily before you go out drinking, or letting a friend or significant other handle your phone for the night, make sure you have pre-drinking plans in place for your future drunk self. Drinking can bring out our worst, especially when we’re hurt. Even though the jumbled, almost incoherent insult may feel like a great idea at the time, chances are, you’ll wake up in the morning with a brand new problem on your hands. Drink safely, ladies and gents!

DO:

1. Block them from your phone and all social media sites.

I know – are we in middle school?

But here’s the thing–the blocking is not meant to serve as a petty symbol of your deteriorating friendship, or a virtual slap in the face to remind them you’re on the rocks. The block is for your own sake. I know as well as anyone else living in the technological age, there’s nothing more masochistic than scrolling through your ex best friend’s Insta, angrily lingering on pictures of them looking happy without you.

Take my advice–block them, at least temporarily. That way, when you’re feeling particularly moody, you turn to something healthier and more gratifying than sending that “screw you” text that has been hanging out in your drafts.

2. Surround yourself with people who love you.

I’m 97 percent positive this is on every single “Do” list of every single listicle – for good reason.

Surrounding yourself with positivity is the first and last step of every heartache, loss, or disappointment. You don’t have to spend every waking minute with your squad–time to yourself is healthy too (see DO: #3). But taking time to call your friend while you’re drunk and looking through old photographs of you and your former best friend is what friends are for. They’ll put up with your sappy “I thought we were going to be friends forever” sob stories, and they’ll give you tough love when you’re tearing yourself apart in a moment of insecurity. Reach out to your friends and family if you’re feeling beaten down by a bully, especially one you used to consider a friend.

3. Take some time to yourself.

A healthy balance between self-love and time with friends is crucial for dealing with a mean girl/boy who broke your heart. Whether it’s journaling, baking, working out, or, as I like to do, binging on Netflix on your couch and feeling sorry for yourself, it’s okay to spend some time alone with your own thoughts.

Do whatever it is you like to do, and do it often. You don’t have to learn how to paint to forget about a mean comment made about you on social media. If you want to rock out to Pandora while reading trashy magazines all day, do that!

Being alone can seem scary and unappealing because the chances of you getting depressed and lost in your own thoughts are much higher than if you were surrounded by people. But sometimes, we need to face those thoughts in order to move on. So, sit with those thoughts, learn how to handle them, and when it gets to be too much, pick up that magazine or put on your gym clothes, and indulge in your healthy distraction.

Whether you’re in the middle of an unhealthy breakup with a friend or an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, don’t lose sight of yourself. Don’t let a bully make you feel less than who you are. Take care of yourself, and let that toxic energy out of your life. Put down the phone, and embrace the silence. In a few weeks or months, or however long it takes, you’ll start to recognize that who you are is not defined by what a mean-spirited person thinks of you. Chances are, who you are is pretty great, and they’re missing out. TC mark

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