Hey guys! Hopefully everyone is having an excellent day! Today we're going to talk about toxic relationships-- what they are, how to deal with them, and how to move on. We have all probably been a part of a toxic relationship at one point in our life, whether it be a friendship or a boyfriend/girlfriend kind of thing.
I would define a toxic relationship as any relationship that is causing you to make bad choices for yourself or a relationship where you feel pressured and uncomfortable. In a relationship, you should never feel like you have to do something to please someone or to fit in. If you feel like you need to step outside of your comfort zone in a negative way, that is a huge indication that the relationship is not a good fit for you. Friends should encourage you and push you to be your best, but should never make you feel like you HAVE to do something. You probably realize when you're in toxic relationship. That's the easy part. The difficult part is trying to decide what comes next.
Deciding what to do next is very difficult. A lot of times we begin to make excuses for why we stay with the same people when they constantly make us unhappy. We'll say things like "but we've been best friends forever" or "he didn't used to treat me like this." We try to convince ourselves to keep these toxic people in our lives when all they really do is contribute negative energy to our lives. We need to stop making excuses for people. It doesn't matter how long you've known them or how perfect they were when you first met them. Those preconceived ideas of people shouldn't effect how you respond to their negative behavior. If you catch yourself making an excuse for why you're still friends with or dating someone, stop and realize what you're doing. You're hurting yourself by letting people control you or negatively impact you.
Once you stop making excuses, it's time to let the person go. The letting go part is different for each situation. Depending on how toxic the person is, you may still be able to keep them in your life. If you're still mostly comfortable with someone, you can stay friends with them, but maybe push them out of your inner group of friends a little bit. This can be tricky to navigate, and you need to do it with grace. I learned the hard way that you can't completely cut someone out of your life if they're still friends with your other friends. Instead of completely giving them the cold shoulder, start talking to them a little less and make plans with some different people. It's better to slowly fade apart because then both of you leave the relationship without holding anything against one another. Trust me, this is the way to go, which I unfortunately had to learn the hard way.
On the other hand, there are some people that you just can't keep in your life for as long as it would take to grow apart from them. If this is the case, explain that to them. Tell them that you need some space from them. Even if they are the reason for the need to grow apart, try not to tell them that, as it might make the situation worse. If you need to, blame it on yourself. When a relationship is really toxic, sometimes it's better to sacrifice a little bit of pride in order to make the transition easier and smoother. Your goal is to make the shift as painless as possible.
Sometimes the situation can be really difficult, especially when dealing with abusive relationships. I am obviously not a counselor since I'm only 15, so I can't give any advice except to talk to an adult. It doesn't have to be your parents. There has to be someone you can trust: a teacher, counselor, coach, a friend's parent, or even a friend who can help you get help. This is so typical, but the best thing to do is to reach out to someone for help. And if you're reading this and have a friend who is going through something like this-- reach out for them, even if they made you promise not to tell anyone. They may be mad at you at first, but if they can get help and start transitioning out of their toxic relationship, they will be so much happier and will be grateful for your help. Make sure you don't let your friends stay in the dark with their problems; be the friend they need while dealing with a toxic relationship.
Before you go, remember that you don't have to deal with toxic relationships. They're just dragging you down. It may be scary to let them go, but once you do you'll feel so much better and you'll have way more time to dedicate to finding new and better friends.
Thank you so much for reading! See ya later! <3