Sometimes you realize that it’s time to walk away from a friendship, even if you don’t know how. Maybe you just grew apart. Or maybe all of the red flags have been raised and you now believe that you’re better off without that person in your life.
That’s ok, it happens.
When it comes to ending unhealthy friendships, whether they are romantic or platonic, there’s a right way, dare we say a healthy way to do it.
As the New Year approaches, we asked our resident advice columnist Dr. Sherry Blake for tips on how to end the toxic relationships in our lives properly so that we enter 2018 a little lighter.
“First, you have to realize the relationship is toxic because we know when something is wrong. We know there’s a problem but we don’t say, ‘this relationship is just really unhealthy,'” says Blake, a clinical psychologist. “You have to recognize that you’re in a relationship that is choking you out.”
Dr. Sherry suggests that this magical moment of realization means recognizing that it’s time to walk away. How does one do that exactly? It might be a little easier than you think.
“You have to start by asking yourself do I want to be in this person’s environment at all? If the answer is no, you need to end that phase by just saying, ‘I know we’ve been friends for awhile but at this point in my life, it’s become very unhealthy for me.’ You’re not being angry about it and you don’t have to be rude.”
So how do you walk away for good after you’ve said all you’ve needed to say? How can you not look back? After all this is someone who may have been a close friend or loved one for many years. Dr. Sherry says it can be done.
“Be clear, if this relationship is over, then it’s over, so walk away and don’t look back,” says Blake. “As long as you’re not sending mixed messages by posting old pictures with that person or walking down memory lane in text messages, you can move on and they can too. Also remember that it’s very important not to talk negatively about them to other people because you’re making an independent choice and you don’t need to justify why you needed to walk away. A lot of times where we break off or we don’t want to be in a relationship, we want everybody around us to feel the same way towards that person and it’s okay that they don’t. It’s perfectly okay. When you and a friend have mutual friends and that initial friendship ends, don’t get angry because they choose to continue to maintain that relationship. Just set boundaries, wish your old friend well and do what’s best for yourself.”
As you welcome 2018, take heed to this advice sis and think long and hard about who you need to leave behind in 2017.