365 Challenge: Day 247 – Toxic

Toxic: when two friends no longer mix well and the relationship has run its course


Friendships are often the thing that holds us together when life throws too many lemons our way. Friends have your back, they show up when you ask (or even when you don’t) and they offer a sympathetic ear when you need encouragement. Over the years, friendships continue to grow stronger and deeper as the connection forges even more tightly than before. But what happens when things aren’t the same anymore… is it okay to walk away from something that has become toxic?

I’ve had many friends over the years… grammar school, high school, college and even those in my twenties. For the most part, I am not as close with many of them as I was once. Our separation in nearly all the instances was just that: a separation due to physical proximity or the momentum of life situations. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but life takes you in different places and you grow apart; it’s sad, but it happens. There are a few who you can remain just as close with and you adore every minute of it. At the opposite extreme, on occasion, you need to make the tough decision that the friendship is no longer the same, and for the better of both people involved, it’s time to walk away. It’s not fair and it’s certainly not fun, but if the friendship as become toxic, why would you want to continue to hurt one another. Perhaps it’s over jealousy or a stupid incident that just won’t go away. Maybe it’s the way one or both friends change in their own individuality. Religion, politics, opinions and life experience can often help formulate who you are and who you want to be… and sometimes, as you age, those things evolve and take you down a different path.

It’s hard to say goodbye when someone dies. It’s harder in some ways to choose to walk away from a friendship, knowing you will miss the person and/or be reminded of the past too often. There should be some effort put into repairs, but if it’s clear there’s a fork in the road, or in this case, the relationship, it might be okay to walk away from it. It doesn’t change the connection you once had. It doesn’t erase the memories of good times. You might find your way back to being friends again in the future. When the core of the current friendship starts to crumble or change its form, staying in it might end up hurting you more in the long run.

Friends often rely upon one another so much, it becomes second nature. If someone’s thought processes or needs change, it’s not always clear or obvious at the moment. A fight might change the nature of intimacy for a long enough period that the bond is not strong enough to remain stitched together. If one person feels anger, jealousy or abrasiveness, it can start eating away at you to the point where you don’t enjoy the time together. But even when a sense of obligation tells you to keep texting or calling, visiting or going out… it may be time to analyze the whole situation before you keep pushing to fix it. I’m not saying once you have a few fights, it’s time to throw in the towel. You should always make an effort to repair, but when the core things that once kept you close no longer exist, it might be time to accept the changes and walk away as happier people.

Life is short. People change. You want to be close with those who make you happy and whom you love. It may be different people at different times, and it might end changing the nature of your existing friendships. If you are intensely close, you probably will withstand the changes, but if it’s causing more grief, tension, concern or issues than the positive aspects, it’s probably time to move on. The thoughts in this post are not about anyone specific; moreover, it’s about recognizing there are start and end times to everything in life, including life itself. It’s always beneficial to make something good last as long as possible, but on the flip side, if it’s no longer good, figure out how to fix it and/or move on from that friend who makes you feel bad, be upset, get angry, act differently… or just makes your day far worse. It’s okay to walk away when you’ve tried to fix it but the connection has vanished, or it’s just not a good one anymore.

Bad friendships suck… I’ve had a few and had to move on. How about you?


About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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  1. Well that’s the downside of growing up. When you are a child you think you’ll be friends for life. Then you grow up and take a look back. You realize like you said that some relationships held and others not. If the relationship really poisons your life then yes you should let it go. Maybe Peter Pan had it all right? 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. i don’t know how you do it, but sometimes you hit me straight with the word of the day. i am experiencing a situation like this at the moment. it’s hard. i am thinking about it a lot and i still don’t know what to do. i know, at some point i should just let it go, but it’s easier said then done. in the past i walked away from people who weren’t good to me. i decided my happiness is more important and that i don’t want to spend my time with people who don’t appreciate me or make me feel bad. it was easy. but with good friends, it’s something entirely different. it’s a hard decision to do, because there are so many memories. the worst thing is to go, when the other person doesn’t even recoginze what’s wrong and it wouldn’t matter. that’s the worst. so yeah, i am struggling with that right now and i do not have the answer right now.
    i walked away from one of my best friends years ago, because the relationship became toxic and it made me feel bad about myself and everything. so at some point i had enough. after some years we got back to what we had. it’s great now and i am happy i gave that person a second chance. but right now, i don’t know. that’s also one of the things i wanted to ask you, or would like to have your opinion on. maybe you could include this in the challenge. take “second chance” as word of the day?

    Liked by 2 people

    • As for your own issue, I’m sorry. That’s definitely not a good feeling, especially going through it twice. Ultimately, if the relationship with the friend is causing some issues, and (s)he doesn’t see it, you need to do something for your own health and welfare. If you don’t say anything, it’s bugging you. If you do, you risk hurting him/her but it will also bother you — so you are stuck either way. Maybe slowly putting more space between you for a while to test the waters… less chatting via social media/text/phone (whatever the method) until you feel things are better with more space. If the person doesn’t realize they are doing it, and you’ve tried to explain it before, it may not help for a big confrontation either. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • that’s exactly the point where i am right now. i have put some distance and we slowly drifted apart. and it’s weird and she doesn’t see it. so it’s hard. but i guess, the big confrontation needs to happen. not good, but sometimes for the best! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. At my age my friendships are mainly positive ones. I’ve learned to practice forgiveness more readily, realizing that we all make mistakes and that life is too short to hold grudges. Besides, it’s an obligation to be forgiving, not optional, in my life, so it helps with sustaining relationships.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That makes perfect sense. I sometimes hold on to a grudge a bit too long but I do let it go.

      I understand what you mean about an obligation, very fair! Sometimes the friendship might not work anymore just due to differences, but that’s a different case!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve begun to set boundaries as I’ve gotten older. Toxicity has no place in my life anymore but it is hard to cut ties w/people whom you have known for years. For those that are not all out toxic, I have limited interactions with nowadays. It’s been a process for I think we all want to believe that our friendships are a good give and take, but reality is that sometimes certain ones are not. I have a hard time letting go and I don’t hold grudges. More than likely I make excuses for their bad behavior and I’m learning it doesn’t serve me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good points. I can’t think of any actual toxic relationships but I have lots of friends that I drifted apart from due to the aging process. I was reminded of that most when I went to my 40 year high school reunion. There were some kids I was “best friends” with at that time and yet I hadn’t seen them in 40 years. Sometimes I think I should have made more of an effort to continue the relationships. Just like a marriage, a good friendship does require some work on both sides. Also especially difficult if the toxic relationship is with a family member.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve had plenty cause of my natural personality. I actually have an ex-friend who is trying to be my friend again after ruining our friendship to the point that I had to break it off. That’s something I don’t understand. I move on in my life and then people want to come back. It’s definitely not good to let the toxicity in your life. You live and you learn and you move forward. Sometimes things can be mended though. I’ve let her back in my life but at a ten foot pole radius cause I don’t trust her anymore where my feelings are concerned. Learning is growing in all areas of life 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Now, this is kind of tough. Parting always hurts for me even though the both sides are equally responsible😢 I am basically quite accommodating and make a lot of compromise because of my innate nature off hating conflicts. But when the compromises culminates in pent-up frustration and become toxic which watts me away, I might back away and distance myself away from the friend in question to appraise my friendship🤔 and decide whether I’ll be better off without the friendship or not. At the end of the day, we don’t want to stress ourselves over forced friendship. And I think slowly walking away can be an option when necessary. It hurts though😢

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve walked away many a time because, yes, the relationship was toxic or because we’d simply outgrown each other. Friends enter each others’ lives for a time (a month, year, decade); we laugh and develop together, we share secrets, support and sympathize. It’s all part of the process called “Life” and it’s all good. There’s nothing wrong with moving on when the time comes, but it should be done with fond memories and lessons learned.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. How timely. I had problems with a friend back in February and I am working through this process right now. I am at the point of sending her an email to see if she wants to join the rest of the group for a birthday celebration, but I think this will be the last email I send. It’s definitely a difficult thing to let go of!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I really liked this post, it reflects my inner struggles as well.
    A few relationships of mine have had to be ended. Apart from the pain, a kind of shame has also arised because of having formed a negative opinion about people who were supposed to “must” in my life. There is a boundary beyond which i was not able to push myself. I even knew that few of them could not be substituted ever in the future.
    On the other hand I have been let go as well. So painful to realise that you do not fit into the life of a beloved any more.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh wow, I’ve lost so many friends over the years. Friendships and bipolar don’t mix well. Probably why all my closest friends are thousands of miles away, an irony in that. I didn’t stay in contact with anybody from school or college, I didn’t really like anybody that much if I’m honest! 😂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Oh what a great post! I wish I had read this yesterday but was having time and wordpress issues. But you summed up certain relationships perfectly. It’s true- there is nothing worse than holding on to a lousy relationship, but it’s often hard to do. I have been fortunate to make some amazing friends that I have kept up with for years. but there are also what I refer to as situational friends- friends that were great during a particular circumstance ot stage in yoru life. I wrote today about a friendship I had that I had to stop because it wasn’t healthy. Part of me still regrets that, but sometimes you have to get rid of the toxicity. I’m facing a thing now, which I will probably write about soon, with the girlfriend of my husbands good friend. She is toxic, and I’m afraid it’s going to destroy the friendship we have with this amazing guy. Nothing about life is easy, is it. But, I am glad you are my friend!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. You’ve touched upon a raw nerve here, Jay. My life’s road has drawn me to adopt beliefs that are not in sync with those I have always known and loved since I was a child. Now I wrestle with these wrought relationships that leave me feeling misunderstood. Rare, long-distance phone conversations with family and life-long friends usually leave me feeling sad. Reeling from a “toxic” family reunion I attended a few years ago, I found and embraced a phrase that has helped me to protect my sensitivities and make stronger decisions since then:
    “Do what makes you happy – be with who makes you smile.”
    This mantra has helped me to grow stronger in my own beliefs and to choose to say “no” when I feel that saying “yes” will lead to an uncomfortable end.
    I also do not attempt to discuss politics or religion with any of my lifelong friends or my siblings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry. It’s a rough topic, but I know so many of us have gone through it. I am sending a huge hug through the internet waves. Your mantra is quite a good one. I also agree about not discussing politics and religion, which is probably why you are and I get along so well. 🙂


  14. Very wise words. There have been times when friends have walked away from me and left me wondering why. More often, after a lengthy friendship, I realize I have “adopted” yet another needy individual and the friendship is one sided with me doing all the giving and the other person asking (or demanding) more and more. I fume for a while, internalizing my frustration and even anger, then have to “let them down easy”, which is extremely hard to do. I tell myself it is just not healthy to stay in such a relationship/friendship, but for a while I feel great guilt in always “being busy” or being caught “just going out the door.” It is hard, and your thoughts/message helped a great deal. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you so much for writing this! I’m a glutton for punishment. I tend to attract people that take advantage of my easy-going attitude. I end up with people that take advantage of me or that talk down to me. Narcissists seem to see me and go, “ahh! She’s a great target.”

    But this past year I have learned to recognize it and shut those people out altogether. I have to for my own happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

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