2017 pushed me too far; whilst I’ve pretty much been a people pleaser, when it comes to friendships and relationships, something switched this year. I found myself dreading seeing one too many people, inwardly groaning when a certain someone came up on my Instagram feed, and sighing when I saw my phone flash with certain names…you know the feeling, I’m sure. So, I took the plunge, and started refusing to give any more time or energy to people who don’t make me happy, and binning these toxic relationships has genuinely improved my way of life massively…so I decided to share a few tips on how I did it, and how you can get started, too.
1. HAVE A REALITY CHECK
Some friendships stand out straight away when you’re thinking about unhealthy relationships (you’re thinking about one right now, aren’t you?), but some are harder to identify. The best way to spot toxic relationships is honestly just to ask whether it makes you happy or not; nine times out of ten, a truly toxic friendship or partnership will be draining more than it is joyful – you’ll find yourself focusing on past happiness and not anything that’s currently pleasing you. Don’t dwell on how great it used to be – focus on how little you’re getting out of it, now.
2. GIVE THEM A CHANCE
There’s a big difference between a friend who’s going through a tough time and one who’s bringing you down – the first will respond with love and understanding when you tell them you’re missing them or not getting the support you need – the second will make an excuse, best case scenario, and will tell you it’s all your fault, in the worst. At least you tried.
3. QUIT ‘EM
Once you’ve decided you don’t want someone’s brand of toxicity in your life, it’s pretty simple: stop accommodating them. Cut them out. Run away. Throw scrunched up paper at them until they get the hint…you get the idea. You don’t have to make it into a huge confrontation, or create animosity; it could really be as simple as deleting a phone number.
4. RECOGNISE YOUR WORTH
It can be really easy, especially around this time of year, to find yourself reaching out for toxic relationships, just because you’re lonely. The thing is, you left that person in the dust for a reason, and chances are, welcoming them back into your life could be pretty terrible for your mental health. Before you pick up that phone, make a mental (or actual!) list of all the reasons you sacked them in the first place. Chances are, you’re better off.
We all have relationships that aren’t as beneficial as they could be, at some point – but most of the time, chances are you have some that are pretty damn awesome, too. It can be really tough getting away from someone who’s harming your wellbeing, but good friends and family, and a little love and positivity coupled with the occasional glass of wine and some good, gutsy laughs will get you through. Promise.
So, those are my ‘top tips’ for getting rid of the emotional drain that comes from a truly toxic relationship for next year. Personally, I’ve cut three or four people out in 2017, and although it was hard, and I had to be pretty strict with myself…I can’t remember the last time I felt so damn good about the people I’m surrounding myself with.