When to let go of toxic friendships

As the years change, so do you. 

As the years change, so do you. 

I was in third grade when I moved from Fiji and started going to school in America. I was quiet and shy because I didn’t know how to interact in this new environment. As I started getting used to how kids my age interacted, I slowly started to talk.

One girl in particular seemed to take a special interest in me. She decided to take my eraser every other day and put it in her desk. She didn’t mean harm; she was doing it as a joke and a way of getting me to speak to her. This was the start to a beautifully grotesque friendship.

As the years went by, the girl who stole my erasers became part of my daily life. I went to her house every other day. Our parents treated us like our families were one.

Some people can point to one person in their friend group and say, “We’ve been friends since we were in diapers.” Most people have that one friend that just gets them because they have been together since before they could talk or they met and formed an everlasting bond.

However, as high school came around, I noticed that every year something dramatic changed between us. Either I heard her talking bad about me or she would expect me to prove my friendship to her. I started to regret our friendship. I slowly started to see our friendship become toxic.

There can be many signs as to whether a friendship is toxic. A major clue is if your friend values his/her happiness over yours or is your constant source of stress. Then it’s time to reevaluate the friendship.

When my senior year rolled around, I decided enough was enough. I weighed all the pros and cons of having this friendship. “Is this worth all the stress and drama?” I asked myself. After days and days of dealing with this internal fight, I made up my mind. I decided to stop talking to her.

Just because you have been friends with someone for x amount of years doesn’t mean you have to stay friends forever. Nevertheless, cutting the friendship off immediately can be harsh.

Fortunately, there are other ways to let the friendship go. One method can be like handling a breakup. Talking with them about why things aren’t working out or telling them how you view the friendship from your end is an example.

Researchers at Mayo clinic wrote a book called, “The Handbook of Happiness.” One of the chapters stresses the importance of friendships. The researchers showed, “Good friends are good for your health.” People who maintained and developed friendships throughout their lives were healthier and happier overall. Friendships not only help you cope with the hard times, but improve your self-confidence and self worth.

You don’t have to keep toxic friends around just because they have been there for years. Evaluate the friends around you on a daily basis. Keep people who uplift and encourage you to be the best. Surround yourself with people who uphold the same morals and values as you. Put people in your life that make you smile and genuinely laugh.

Although I’ve stressed the importance of keeping the right friends around you, we’re missing one important thing. What you put out is what you attract. Meaning, if you’re negative and are a pessimist, that’s what you’re going to attract. If you value trust and loyalty, show it before you expect it. Be the friend you want.  

Naomi Prasad is a sophomore chemistry and biomedical science major from Federal Way, WA. She enjoys painting, swimming, flying kites and being at the beach.