Struggling with toxic friendships and want to know how to end them in a respectful way? Here are some helpful tips on how to cut off toxic friends without being rude.
Friendship is a vital part of life.
But did you know that adolescents and teens who smoke most likely have friends who smoke, reinforcing their decision to smoke?
Good friends give our lives meaning, support, and love. And bad ones are harmful to our mental and emotional health.
Toxic friends seem like good friends at first, but their true colors show eventually. These toxic friendships can be emotionally draining, manipulative, and even abusive.
Some signs of toxic friends: They belittle your worth, criticize your choices and achievements, and are complaining and abusive. They always take from you, but never give you anything.
How To Cut Off Toxic Friends Without Being Rude?
If you have a toxic friend, and find it difficult to break away because you both have known each other for ages, you have to learn to cut them off without being rude.
Don’t be disagreeable when you disagree with their behavior.
Here’s how to cut off toxic friends without being rude:
Tell them to stop their behavior.
If it is a friend who has recently turned toxic, a feasible way to deal with them is by telling them how their behavior has affected you, and you’d want them to stop.
The important thing is that we should understand the type of friendship we are having, or how our friend is changing for the worse, and take stock of how it is affecting us.
There are many ways that toxic friends can get under your skin and make life difficult for you.
People like them seem to be inescapable in our modern world, and every encounter with them can ruin your day, no matter what.
However, do not be certain that they will start and keep supporting you, your dreams, or your goals. They may do it for a while, but since it is not in their nature to be kind and good, they will revert to their old toxic selves.
Set strict boundaries with your toxic friend.
If you have identified a toxic friend, set boundaries with them.
This means setting limits on how much time you spend with them, what you talk about, and what you are willing to do for them.
Here are some tips for setting boundaries with toxic friends:
- Be direct and honest with them about your needs.
- Don’t be afraid to say no to their requests.
- Don’t feel guilty about setting boundaries.
- Stick to your boundaries, even if they try to guilt you into breaking them.
Drift apart from the friendship.
The first thing to do is to understand the difference between friends and confidants.
A confidant is someone that you share your thoughts and feelings with and who you trust with sensitive or private personal information.
A confidant may not be your friend. People who have known each other for a long time often trust each other with their personal information, even if they do not count each other as friends.
Your lawyer and your doctor are your confidants but usually not your friends.
A friend is someone who does all the above and more, like supporting you through thick and thin and being there for you in any situation.
A friend is expectedly your best confidant. A successful friendship is based on trust and accountability.
A good friend is a confidant who is sensitive, trustworthy, and empathic.
On the flip side, a toxic friend is one who regularly gossips about you. You notice them gossiping about your mutual pals and have a strong suspicion that they do the same behind your back.
Toxic friends are unsuitable people to share your secrets with.
If you decide they are neither a confidant nor a friend, it is easy to drift apart without telling them anything.
When two people drift apart, they gradually become less friendly and their relationship dissolves without being apparent. They slowly lose interest in each other, and their interactions become less and less frequent.
Finally, they cut themselves off from the relationship irreversibly.
End the unhealthy friendship.
If you have tried setting boundaries with a toxic friend and they are still not respecting your needs, it may be time to end the friendship.
This can be a difficult decision, but remember that you do not have to put up with toxic behavior.
Here are some tips for ending a friendship with a toxic person:
- Be honest with them about why you are ending the friendship.
- Be direct and firm, but respectful.
- Avoid getting into an argument.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends or family.
Make A Clean Break From Them.
Sometimes, when our best friends become toxic or abusive, as the last option, we must decide to break it off.
Remember, toxic people are not a good option, even if they are your last option for friendships.
Even if you can’t seem to make friends easily, perhaps because of your shyness or social fear, compromising to have toxic friends will make your life unhappier and more stressful.
So, even if you have to end up feeling left out, miserable, and alone, a toxic friend is not the answer to your mental health or mental peace.
A clean break means blocking them on your social media and messengers, as well as blocking their email addresses and phone numbers.
Discard anything that reminds you of them. Avoid places that bring them to your memory. Do things alone. Find a new hobby or a passion project to work on.
Join a group or charity where they are not present.
Prepare to cope with the emotional fallout.
Cutting off a toxic friend can be emotionally difficult. You may feel sad, angry, or even guilty.
As experts suggest, you have to allow yourself to feel these negative emotions instead of avoiding them.
Let yourself grieve the loss of your friendship. Learn to embrace your difficult emotions.
Here are some tips for coping with the emotional fallout of cutting off a toxic friend:
- Don’t beat yourself up for ending the friendship.
- Take care of yourself physically and emotionally.
- Focus on the positive aspects of your life.
- Talk to a trusted friend or family member.
Do not hold grudges or seek revenge.
Toxic friends can severely erode your physical health and mental well-being, even after you end the friendship.
It is helpful to not harbor any grudges against them when you break up.
In fact, you should avoid holding grudges against anyone, because they hurt you more than the person you’re angry with. Grudges keep hurting you for a long time.
Research shows holding a grudge can harm your physical and mental health, deplete your energy, minimize your future success, and can lead to depression and anxiety.
If you hold a grudge against your toxic friend, your “best revenge” is to forgive them for the sake of your own well-being.
Forgive your toxic friend.
When you forgive them, you relieve yourself of the suffering and prevent the mental and physical consequences.
Forgiveness is an act of self-compassion that releases you from the negativity loop, allowing you to move on in your life with peace. Learn to forgive.
Forgiveness helps you avoid engaging with them in a vengeful way.
Forgiveness keeps you calm at every impulse to return their insults and abuse, particularly when you are upset or drunk.
When you forgive, you forgo your wish to harm them back.
Forgiveness protects you from staying on their radar, as they wait for the right moment to attack you.
Study: Peer pressure to smoke: the meaning depends on the method, L. Michell, P. West, Health Education Research, March 1996.
Stop being a “good friend” to a toxic friend, but keep your dignity.
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Author Bio: Researched and reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy. His expertise is in mental well-being, positive psychology, narcissism, and Stoic philosophy.
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