“You are who you hang out with.”
Perhaps one of my mother’s favorite things to quote to me. She isn’t wrong. She’s actually very right. (No surprise there!)
Fortunately/unfortunately I was homeschooled. I didn’t have your typical middle and high school experience. I tried out public high school for a couple months my freshman year but was happy to go back to being safe at home with no one to make snide comments outside of my YouTube comments section.
Toxic people are everywhere. School, work, and sometimes sadly even at home. I’ve been one to struggle with not voicing my opinion or taking myself out of hurtful situations because I’d rather the other person not get hurt in the end. This is something I’ve been working on for years and I feel that I’m almost in a place where I feel comfortable enough to push people aside who aren’t doing me any good.
“They’re like this because they come from a bad home/ have a bad job.”
It’s incredibly upsetting when you want to befriend someone who treats you poorly because they can’t control their surroundings. You want to help them, lift them up and support them yet they keep stomping on you anyway. I believe everyone deserves a chance to redeem themselves however, if they continue to repeat the same negative behavior, it’s time to end that cycle by not entertaining your friendship with them anymore.
“They don’t know any better.”
I’ve been notorious for making this excuse for people. It’s not your job to parent your friends. You can certainly encourage and support your friends in making grown up decisions and learning life lessons but you are not responsible for holding their hand. It may seem easier sometimes to just do things for them instead of answering their questions or explaining to them how to handle a situation but in the long run you are doing them, yourself and your friendship more harm than good. If they want to DO better, they will. If they don’t, that’s not on you.
It may take you time to realize that you have a toxic friend(s) but once you do it’s time to start the process of fixing the situation. This can range from talking to them about it and trying to save your friendship to simply letting them go. Of course we all want to remain friends but if after calmly and respectfully telling them about your concerns they don’t try to change, it’s time to let go. Letting go is very difficult and easily painful because you don’t want to hurt them. It’s necessary to put yourself first in this situation though. Your mental health and well being is just as important.
It’s possible to be civil.
As someone who hates ending friendships I’ve learned it’s possible to remain “friends” but to know they are not someone you can trust or can spend extensive time around. It’s okay to see them and have conversations as long as you remind yourself that their negativity, their dependence on you, and other interactions do not reflect on you. From the get go you know that their behavior is a reflection of themselves and has nothing to do with you. You couldn’t “be a better friend” to make them change. You can’t “just help them out this one time” anymore. You can’t rely on them as you would a typical friend. Maybe one day they’ll change but for now, put yourself first and be grateful for the people you’re surrounded with who are good to you and make great friends.
Maybe the top of this should say *Dear Taylor Nation.