When you start to make positive changes and improve yourself, you expect your friends to be excited and happy for you. Nobody expects a close friendship to turn toxic, but unfortunately it happens. I can tell you firsthand that it’s devastating when once close friendships crash and burn during a time that should be exciting for you. Toxic friendships don’t always mean that your best friend is actively sabotaging you Mean Girls style, they can happen when you have simply grown apart and chosen different paths. Read my 5 truths about personal growth and toxic friendships and see if anything resonates with you.
Creating personal growth in your life won’t sit well with some friends
If you are transforming your life with positive changes, whether it’s gaining confidence in yourself, losing weight, maybe starting a new career, you’re going to lose friends. Period. People who aren’t comfortable with change will find your evolving life hard to swallow, maybe because it reminds them that they are stagnant in life, or maybe they aren’t used to you standing up for yourself. Maybe your whole friendship was based on the negative behaviors that you kicked. Self improvement will expose the friends that don’t have your best interests at heart. Be prepared to lose friends, for it to hurt a lot, and then to get over it and feel happy. Losing friends may not seem like it, but it can be a blessing in disguise.
A toxic friend is not necessarily a bad person
The thing about toxic friends is that sometimes they don’t mean to be toxic at all and are generally pretty good people outside of your shaky friendship. Maybe they just are terrified of change, and can’t understand your new perspective. Most toxic friends come in the form of people who aren’t supportive of your successes, talk behind your back, or are judgmental of your goals. I’m talking about the friends who leave you feeling drained, negative, or down about yourself every time you see them.They aren’t bad people but that doesn’t change the fact that they are toxic to your personal growth. Take a good hard look at your friendships and notice who is trying to get you to go back to your bad habits, who cuts you off when you’re sharing something you’re proud of, who tells you you’re not a good friend because you’re not putting all your attention on them. Those are the kind of people you don’t need.
Ending the friendship doesn’t have to be dramatic.
I can look at my former group of friends with love and respect for the time we spent together, but at the same time know that they are toxic to my improved self. I don’t spend my time gossiping, but I used to with them. I don’t like to have shallow surface conversations all the time, but I used to with them. I don’t spend my time complaining about the present while reminiscing about the past, but I used to with them.I chose to be positive, work towards the future instead of being stuck in the past, and stop making fun of people because it made me feel better about myself, and unfortunately that caused some awkwardness and distance in the friendship. People grow apart and choose different paths, and my path just didn’t have room for their negative energy. I’m not saying to cut off friends who don’t agree with you all the time or who have different goals than you, I’m saying it’s important to have friends who are authentic. Ending a friendship doesn’t have to be a big, dramatic fight. You could try to discuss how you’re feeling with them if you’re interested in saving the friendship; maybe they don’t realize how they’re affecting you and can shift their attitude. If that’s not the case, you have two options: you can directly say you need some space, or slowly stop hanging out with them. Leaving it on a good note leaves room for re-connection if you feel they may grow in the future.
Leaving toxic friendships will free up your energy and time to spend on supportive relationships
Here’s the hard part: even though they don’t mean to be toxic, and are generally good people, they’re still toxic and you have to move on. Leaving a friendship is just as hard as leaving a romantic relationship, especially if you still love and respect that friend. I had to do it, and it bothered me for the better part of a year. I asked myself the same things over and over “why don’t my best friends understand me, why are they so caught up in trivial and negative things”? I lost sleep over it, cried about it, yelled about it, but in the end, I came to understand it was for the best. Now, I only spend my time with people who celebrate me, support me, and love me unconditionally, and who I celebrate, support and love. It’s an amazing feeling to be surrounded by people I know only want the best for me. I’m happier, more confident, more fulfilled, more inspired! Great things come from dropping the toxic friends.
Never hide your positive progress because a friend isn’t happy for you
Toxic friends have their own underlying issues that are causing them to act in an unsupportive way towards you, don’t take it personally. It’s an indicator that they aren’t happy with themselves or their lives, so it’s not you it’s them. Just because people aren’t happy about your amazing progress doesn’t mean you should hide it. Shine bright like a diamond yo, you worked hard to manifest change in your life, don’t let a few doubters dull your success. Surround yourself with friends who are proud of you and push you to do better. Assess your circle and only keep the awesome people around. Any friend who doesn’t leave you feeling uplifted, supported, and happy doesn’t need to be a friend, and life is too short to associate people who don’t appreciate the beautiful soul that you are. Just know that you are not the only person to go through this. It may feel lonely now, but soon you’ll find people who will appreciate who you are and who you’re trying to be, and it won’t feel forced or lonely. Always follow your intuition, if someone is constantly bringing you down, it may be time to reconsider the friendship.
Have you had any encounters with personal growth and toxic friendships? Tell me about it in the comments below!