How a New Romance Led Me to End a Toxic Friendship

Towards the end of high school, I found myself trapped in a toxic friendship.

We all know the negatives that are associated with toxic friendshipsthey drain your happiness and fill your life with negativity—but when you're actually in a toxic friendship, it can sometimes be difficult to tell.

Mean Girls Mall Scene

(Mean Girls via Paramount Pictures)

Unfortunately, that was my problem. I wanted to believe that my friendship was strong, and that the negative feelings and irritating moments were just a natural part of having a close relationship with someone. But when I started dating a new boy, the toxic nature of our relationship became too obvious to ignore.

Scroll below to see exactly how a new romance led me to end a toxic friendship.

Right before my junior year of high school, my family decided to move to a different state, separating me from my close friends and officially making me the "new kid" at school. I was insanely nervous about making new friends, so when I almost immediately clicked with a girl in my class I was understandably excited.

Mean Girls Cady and Karen at Lunch Table

(Mean Girls via Paramount Pictures)

Our friendship started off very strong. We had the same sense of humor and we complemented each other's goofy sides. There was never a quiet moment when we were together, and I was constantly amazed at how easy it was for us to talk about anything and everything. We quickly became inseparable, spending every free moment at school together and synching up for fun activities on the weekends. We were a great little duo—at least, it seemed that way.

Slowly, I started to notice some not-so-great things about our relationship. She had a desperate desire to be the center of attention, so she was quick to put me down in group settings. She would always laugh it off and say that she was just kidding, but there was an unquestionable edge to her "jokes." Although I would listen to her complain for hours about her various life woes, all of my attempts to ask for advice were met with silence or a simple shrug of the shoulders. Stating that I wasn't interested in her chosen plans for the day usually resulted in passive-aggressive anger, and she was always quick to insert herself into any new friendships that I might have been forming.

Still, I was unfailingly loyal to our friendship. I told myself that her hurtful comments were just a poor attempt at a joke, that her non-response to my desire to vent was just evidence that I shouldn't be whining and that her constant desire to monopolize my time was just proof of how close we were. It wasn't until I developed a new romantic interest that I fully came to terms with just how toxic our friendship had become.

Couple Sitting on a Cliff

(via Unsplash)

As high school was coming to an end (because my timing is impeccable), I developed feelings for one of the boys in our class. However, being rather unskilled at relationships, we moved very slowly in the direction of actually dating, which left a few months for my supposed "best friend" to fully expose her true colors.

When I first told her about my new crush, her reaction was less than confidence-inducing, to say the least. She immediately frowned and asked me why on earth I would like him, which seemed like an overreaction considering he was a fairly normal, nice boy who I happened to get along with well. Her reaction made me nervous, but my feelings were strong enough that I decided to push it to the back of my mind and just see where things went.

Over time, my new crush and I started talking consistently and spending more time together. I was happy with where things were going, even though any mention of him to my friend was met with a roll of the eyes and acidic silence. I was confused about her negative reaction and even asked her if she had feelings for my crush as well, even though she had a boyfriend at the time. She vehemently denied that she liked him, but would never give me a straight answer as to why she had such an unfavorable view of our mutual interest in each other.

Still, not even her acerbic attitude towards my new relationship could bring me down. I was hopeful for the future of this new romance, and I didn't foresee any problems developing. That is, until my friend got involved.

Veronica and Cheryl Riverdale

(Riverdale via The CW)

She had known the boy I was crushing on first, and would probably consider herself closer to him—"closer"—meaning that they had a few classes together and were able to hold a conversation. Nonetheless, she took it upon herself to be the middleman that we never wanted. She would pass along things that I said about him and vice versa, adding in her own commentary and changing a few of the key details to make each of us question how the other felt. What she didn't seem to realize was that he and I spoke every day, so her lies were quickly weeded out.

When that tactic didn't work, she tried a different approach. She would constantly reach out to him and use every opportunity that they were together to trash talk me. She was always subtle about it, casually mentioning that so-and-so didn't like me or X person thought I was annoying.

At this point, the negative nature of our relationship had finally become obvious to me, but I still wasn't quite ready to give up. We did have a lot of fun times under our belt, and I was still trying to convince myself that the good outweighed the bad.

The last straw occurred when my new love interest and I were trying to decide whether or not to make things "official." We both really liked each other, but I was on the fence because we were heading away for college soon and I wasn't sure if long distance was the right move. Eventually my hesitation came up during a conversation between my crush and my friend. At this point, my friend was fully away of how much I liked this boy, but she definitively told him that I did not really like him and that I wanted to break things off, but I wasn't sure how.

Cheryl and Archie Riverdale

(Riverdale via The CW)

When this information got back to me I was shocked. It was the first time that my friend flat-out betrayed me, and it was also the moment that I realized how much negativity and drama this friendship added to my life. I was frustrated with my friend for a while and spent lots of time reflecting on the ways she was not a good companion for me, but this was the point I decided she was someone I no longer needed in my life.

I will admit, I should have handled the ending of my toxic friendship differently. It would have been better to sit down and have a conversation with my friend, but difficult conversations have never been my strong suit. Instead, I started replying to her messages less and less, until we eventually stopped talking all together. At that point, we graduated high school, so slowly removing myself from her life seemed like the most pain-free option, but I'm sure it was difficult and frustrating for her, as it did not supply any sense of closure.

Losing my best friend was very difficult. There are still times when I think back on the good times and feel a certain sense of nostalgia and sadness for the way things ended. Even though I miss our friendship at times, I still know that eliminating her from my life was the best thing I could have done. I'm a much happier person without that negativity weighing me down, and I've found stronger friendships that don't fill me a constant sense of guilt and anxiety.

It sounds like a cliché, but life really is too short to surround yourself with anyone who doesn't support you, love you and lift you up. Ditching toxic friendships might be hard, but it will definitely make you happier and it opens you up to building new and better friendships in the future.

 

Struggling to remove yourself from a poisonous friendship? Click HERE for tips on how to drop a toxic friend!