Q & A: Letting go of toxic friends
Q: I’ve recently distanced myself from toxic people in my life. Yesterday one of my old friends wanted to hang out with me. I don’t wanna let her back in my life. She emotionally and mentally exhausted me. She used to dump all her problems on me without ever asking me if I was okay or everything in my life was alright. I’ve come so far without her and bringing her back in my life would set me back. How do I go about avoiding her but in a friendly way without hurting her feelings?
A: I know exactly what you’re going through, and I know that it isn’t a good feeling. It’s happened to me before and it’s a waste of good energy. You need your energy, and it’s actually a great thing that you’re looking out for yourself by getting rid of anyone that is toxic to your system. It’s something that everyone has to do at some point, but not everyone has the courage to do.
Avoiding is not right, but it’s good to set boundaries. You should have nothing to fear just because you’re looking out for yourself. Stand up for yourself. Set the rules, explain that you are busy and if you have the time you will let her know. You never want to burn bridges with people because that bridge might be one you have to one day cross. However, you are clearly aware that her presence in your life is something you do not want, so you have to find a good approach to limiting interaction. I do want you to know that you are not obligated to do anything you do not want to do, and that includes hanging out with people you do not want to hang out with. Be kind but firm, and simply make it clear that you aren’t available right now. I feel as if your worry is that you might come off as mean, but that really is not the case. If she continues to nag you about it, then either you do not have to respond or you can say “I will let you know when I get the opportunity and we can hang out.”
When you’ve come as far as you have then you do not want to undo your hard work. It’s not selfish to look out for your own best interests because you need yourself more than you need anyone else. She might not understand it, but it isn’t for her to understand. Growth is important and you have to continue with your positive growth. Your journey towards happiness is valuable.
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