Love, Life Stories, Advice

If your friends aren’t adding value to your life, let them go

Some advice on letting go of toxic relationships from yours truly.

I had a friend. Notice the past tense “had” and no, he’s not dead. We’re just not friends anymore.

I don’t want to go into any details since I still would like to respect the privacy of my former friend. But I do want to say that I was furious beyond words at the way he treated me.

The last time I had been so upset, I didn’t get accepted to my early decision college choice.

It only took maybe 10 minutes of texting to change the course of a 10-year friendship. He was rude and neglecting. His tone told me that he thought I was being clingy or dependent on him, and that infuriated me.

We had plans and I was confirming that the plans were happening because he had flaked on me several times recently. I guess he felt obliged to make those plans because we were “friends,” even though he never wanted to in the first place. He acted as if he had never even once truly considered me as a friend, even though we’ve known each other for so long.

Even though we were best friends in high school.

Even though I was his wingman whenever he was interested in a girl.

Girl resting chin on palm as she stares out the winder through slits made by wooden blinds.
[Image description: Girl resting chin on palm as she stares out the winder through slits made by wooden blinds.] Via Joshua Rawson Harris on Unsplash

I had thought he had changed because of college. I began to doubt that.

Maybe he just never truly considered me as a friend. And the thought of that hurt me more than anything. I texted him in a rage, letting him know I wasn’t going to talk to him until he apologized for what he had said to me.

He had said things that he shouldn’t have said if he thought of me as a friend.

He read it.

Silence.

That was last May.

I swore, ranted, and cried. I couldn’t believe it — I had just lost someone who I had known for most of my life and he was gone, just like that. And he didn’t even care.

I’ll be honest: I miss him a lot. And I am tentative about writing this in case he ever reads this article (he probably won’t though). But I can’t deny the fact that I miss the friendship we had and I had cherished it more than any other relationship I had had.

If he had replied to my message, I would have forgiven him on the spot and we would have still been friends to this day. We were supposed to be those friends who met up once every few years, even in their 40s and 50s. We were going to laugh and talk about the old days.

Girl with palm against window covered in raindrops.
[Image description: Girl with palm against window covered in raindrops.] Via Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

People in your life come and go, and you have to learn to admit and accept that. I know it sounds blunt and harsh, but if someone is doing you more harm than good, you need to know it’s time to reconsider your relationship with that person.

Ed Sheeran’s song “Save Myself” really hits home with this one:

And all the ones that love me they just left me on the shelf / No farewell / So before I save someone else, I’ve got to save myself

Before I save someone else, I’ve got to save myself.

Myself. Yourself.

In a relationship, you are the most important person. A relationship between two people means that both sides consider the other their equal. There shouldn’t be a power dynamic or unbalanced levels of love and affection.

If you’re currently in a toxic relationship that is hurting you, get out of it as fast as possible.

It’s okay to let people go from your life. It’s hard, and sometimes it feels impossible. But you can only know so many people in your lifetime. Consider letting go of a toxic relationship or a negative friend as opening a space for someone else to fill. Someone who will truly love and support you as much as you do them. To leave one means giving yourself an opportunity to meet a better someone. And don’t worry, there is always someone who will come fill that spot you left open for them.

And don’t ever blame yourself because your relationship has ended. It didn’t turn out well, so what? It just wasn’t meant to be.

Girl sitting on a bed holding a cup and burying her head between her arms.
[Image description: Girl sitting on a bed holding a cup and burying her head between her arms.] Via Asdrubal Luna on Unsplash

Hi, friend. You know who you are. If you’re reading this, please know that I don’t regret that we were friends, and I hope that you don’t either. Although we probably won’t ever contact each other again, I want to say thank you for being the friend you were throughout my childhood and my adolescent years.

I wish you the very best. Have a good life.

I’m letting you go.