There’s an old quote that says “A man is known by the company he keeps”, and no other saying fits this article better. There’s more depth to this little sentence than you might think, which is probably why we’ve all been hearing it since our childhood. Our friends shape our behavior, if you choose them right, they can either inspire you to become the best version of yourself. But if not, they can lure you into the lowest depths of your negative potencies.
People know you by the circle you surround yourself with, not only because of the apparent association between you and those friends but also because your habits will be a reflection of their habits. Some friends, if toxic enough, can create a venomous plague in our thoughts that can seriously affect our mental health. This causes a hindrance in your growth and functionality as a productive individual, and it’s an issue to be dealt with immediately. This article is here to guide you through the process of a social detox, point by point. Keep reading!
Is It Okay to Distance Yourself from Fake and Toxic Friends?
That’s a complicated question because it can’t be answered objectively. However, there’s a simple rule to always remember; YOU should be at the top of your priority list. Nothing comes before you, your mental well-being, and your product functionality. If you neglect aspects within yourself, even when they’re being damaged over time, it’ll only push you deeper into depression. That’s unacceptable, and preventive measures must be taken no matter how harsh they may sound. Don’t think of this as being selfish, because the ‘good’ friends aren’t under discussion here. We’re only talking about distancing yourself from the ones that are actually toxic, in the literal sense of the word.
Who are ‘Toxic’ Friends?
They’re jealous of your progress, they’re envious of your valuable possessions and never miss the chance to remind you about your insecurities. Whatever you think you lack, they’ll sneakily bring it up, mushing it into your faces whenever they can. They’ve always been self-centered, and never choose to help you at the cost of their leisure. In fact, they insult you, and no matter what you say, they’ll always somehow play the victim as if you’re the one at fault. If these qualities are anywhere to be found in your friends, then it’s clear that they don’t have any empathy for you. So why should you have it for them?
How About Best Friends?
Honestly, if the status of a friend can be ascertained as ‘toxic’ as per the above description, then they shouldn’t be your best friends in the first place. Think about it, what sort of impact do they have in your life? How much do they contribute to your happiness, if at all? What have you gained and lost over the years through this friendship? If you’ve got a toxic individual in the shape of your best friend, then the answers to these questions would be terrifyingly underwhelming.
If they haven’t contributed to your happiness, then think about their contribution to your sadness and depression. How many times have they managed to make you feel worthless because of your insecurities? How many times have they disrespected you without making it obvious? It’s important to give yourself a reality check with hard-hitting questions like these, to know whether your ‘best’ friend is a friend at all. They’re toxic, and they do not belong in your life under any circumstance. Which brings us to the next part of this article.
How to Slowly Distance Yourself : 8 Wisdom from People Who Have Been Through This
1.Be Guiltless and Cut Ties Clearly
Ending a friendship isn’t easy, just like any other relationship. But the questions you’ve asked yourself above should make it absolutely clear in your mind that what you’re doing is in your best interest. You’re leaving a person that doesn’t value you and doesn’t care about your well-being. There’s nothing to feel guilty or ashamed about – be absolutely doubtless about that before you begin. This will help you end things on a clear not, as you won’t feel needlessly apologetic for it. It’s important to send a clear message of termination to the person you’re distancing away from so that they don’t obstruct your path repetitively.
2. Create a Reminder Script
It can be a tricky process to move through the end of friendship, especially when you’re the one who cut the ties. Your mind will play tricks on you as you experience the grieving period, giving you reasons to be guilty about. It makes it easy to forget what you clearly considered while taking the decision of ending it. Hence, it’s an important step to write down all your thoughts and reasons that made the toxic nature of the friendship clear to you. Read it out loud in the mirror every time you feel unsatisfied with your decision. This will not only help you in coping with the artificial guilt, but also in maintaining higher friendship standards for the future.
3. Keep Prominent Boundaries
A toxic ex-friend has controlled you and your thoughts in the past, and they’ll try their best to keep doing that. They can’t accept the fact that you’ve actually broken free and you don’t care about their baseless blame games. When this happens, they’ll refuse to take no for an answer and may even become an angelic version of themselves to lure you back in. You must make your boundaries absolutely clear to them at this point, and let them know respectfully why you can’t even consider going back to it.
4. Limit Contact and Get Rid of Them on Social Media
By now, you’ve made it clear to them that your boundaries are strong enough to keep them away from you in all ways. You don’t want to see them physically even again, and you don’t wish to keep any sort of virtual contact with them either. Seeing their posts on social media (which can also be manipulative) is pointless, and will only make the process harder for you. Get rid of them on all social media platforms and don’t look back.
5. Reward Yourself
No matter how bad they’ve been to you in the past, it’s never that easy cut off all sorts of communication with a person who at least you saw as your best friend. So, set rewards for yourself resulting from desirable behavior in this process. For example, if you’ve managed to stay away from stalking them on twitter for a whole month, buy yourself a nice dress. If you’ve ignored their texts for over two weeks without fail, have lunch at an expensive restaurant and post it on your page! This will motivate you to stay away from a relapse, reminding you how positive you feel since you’re away from them.
6. Fill the Void
Any sort of deep friendship, no matter how toxic it is, takes one’s time and energy throughout the day. Your mind and body must have been accustomed to doing activities with the person you’re distancing away from, and a sudden end would naturally leave an empty void in your days. This becomes a breeding ground for negative thoughts and feelings, which shouldn’t be allowed. To counter this, find ways to be positive and active during these times. Take up hobbies, such as knitting, baking, cycling, learning the guitar or going to the gym. Which brings us to the next point!
7. Take Care of Yourself
During the course of that toxic friendship, you might have become inhabited to taking care of others. Now that you’ve got more time and energy on your hands after breaking it off, invest some of it in taking particular care of yourself and the needs you have. Drink more water, start exercising regularly and be conscious about keeping your diet healthy. Positive measures like these will let you know what you’ve been missing out on!
8. Give It Time
Every wound, whether physical or emotional, needs time to heal. No matter how many times you remind yourself of the truth, the heart finds ways to be sad about the end of a bond. It’s totally okay to give yourself some time to cope with it. Sleep on it, read the script you’ve written, watch a Netflix series you like – do whatever it takes to pass the challenging times. After all, you’re now in control of your life.
It’s hard, that’s for sure, but every bit of it is worth it. A temporary period of grieving is a lot better than spending your youth with a friend who constantly looks for ways to make you feel worthless. No matter what you did for them or for the relationship, it never mattered to them, it was never ‘enough’ to make them realize your true value. You clearly deserve better. Taking a stand for yourself isn’t only good for you in the present, but it’ll also build your character and teach you never to lower your standards in the future. All the best!