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Horrible Best Friends: Exploring the relationship of a Toxic Friend

Updated on March 11, 2015

Have you ever looked at your best friend and wondered why you are friends with that person? Literally wonder what made you like them in the first place and wonder if you still like them and want them in your life? Did you also feel that little pang of guilt for feeling like that about someone who was supposed to be your best friend? To infinity and beyond? Always? Through thick and thin? I have, and boy did it feel horrible to think that way about my best friend.

We had met about 10 years ago in high school, I was 15 and she was 17. She was older and a little exciting to me because she was not like me at all. She had friends, she smoked cigarettes, she didn't care what people thought of her, she wasn't shy around the boys (if you know what I mean), and she was LOUD. It was like she was everything I wasn't, including her having fairly questionable morals whereas I had slightly more acceptable morals, having grown up in a loving Christian household. Have you ever seen that movie Beaches? Yeah, pretty much like that minus the sad dying in the end. During those 10 years I let her influence me a little, I let her into my life, we allowed each other to be best friends and share everything with each other. She would tell me when I was being too emotional or overreacting and I would do the same for her. I grew to love and trust her throughout the years.

There was one major thing with her, though, that I always knew but just accepted from her: She had PROBLEMS. Capital, italicize, and bold P-R-O-B-L-E-M-S. Being her best friend, I thought it was my responsibility to help her with her problems, those big problems that she felt so helpless with and wanted to change so badly. I cared so much about her that I was experiencing so much stress; it would actually cause me anxiety, trouble sleeping at night, and would interfere with my high school and college work. All of this pressure because I cared so much about my best friend and her living a good life. Yet, I was the only one trying to fix those problems or come up with ways to make them better. It seemed like she had no intention of trying to make her life better, or trying to make those things better on her. Think about it, when someone had a mental disorder like depression (me), anxiety (me), they do not sit there and complain about it without trying to change it or make it better for themselves. When someone does not have a job but does have bills to pay, they find a job and pay the damn bills! For someone like me, when someone treats you like you are nothing, you get them out of your life and leave them behind. I used to have the excuse for her that she had no one and she was still only in high school. Then it became that she was only 20, only 24, only 27. I ran out of “onlys” for excuses for my best friend.

This is the "best friend" tattoo her and I got together. I love Disney, which is why I agreed to get it. I have since added "to infinity" above my "and beyond."
This is the "best friend" tattoo her and I got together. I love Disney, which is why I agreed to get it. I have since added "to infinity" above my "and beyond."

After I went to college, things started to change for me. When I got back, I saw that she was still the same old person. Still smoking (not holding that against her) in her apartment where she sat all day, in the mess that had accumulated throughout that week or day, complaining about not having money to do things (yet not getting a job), being unable to hold down a job due to being lazy or being fired because of her attitude (despite several warnings from bosses and even me telling her there is a line), using and lying to other people (she always had an excuse), and NEVER taking help offered to her that would have made her life better. In the 10 years I have known her I saw her turn down at least 15 opportunities to do something with her life and ruin at least 5 others due to not wanting to try. Not wanting to try. I saw this and asked myself, Who doesn't want to try to make their life better when it is going awry? I started seeing all the things about her that actually made her a bad person. Probably the things that had been there all along that my 15 year old brain decided it didn't care about. Things that my 24 year old brain knew I didn't like around myself. Things I clearly knew I had purposely pushed out of my life previous to her because I knew they were not something I wanted in my life. With all of this, I also had myself to think of. Because of all the stress she was causing me, it took a large toll on my mind and my spirit. I was putting myself out there for her to try and help and be there for her, and she just took and took it from me. Don’t get me wrong, she dealt with some of that from me too, but it was rarely ever the same thing twice. With her, it was always the same 4 things over and over again: I hate my life. I don’t love my boyfriend. I don’t have anywhere else to go. I need to get a job so I can have money. Never any changes. In 10 years.

Of course, having given her the label of “Best Friend” for the past 10 years, I had a very hard time having these thoughts about her, and realizing that I did not want her in my life after all. There was not going to be a “to infinity and beyond” in this friendship and I was admitting it after 10 years and SO much drama. I felt guilty for a while, but then one of my other friends said something to me that made me feel okay about it. She shared a piece of advice someone close to her shared with her: She said everyone should take a look at who their friends are every 5 years or so, and weed out those who you have outgrown. Then I realized that I am not the same person I was when I was 15. People change and evolve because we HAVE to in order to grow and have new experiences in life. It is NOT a bad thing to realize who is holding you back, who is years behind, and who is there to enrich your life (as well as you doing the same for their life). There comes a time when things that were once acceptable, are no longer. Sometimes a friendship is kind of like a mini skirt; it does not go well in later years.

Have you made a choice like this about someone close to you?

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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      if you can't change your best friend's bad habits, it is better to leave her alone rather than getting into the same boat, you will sink together

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Izett 3 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Women are helpers and nurturers by nature so we tend to get into these relationships and endure them. If it weren't for women I believe relationships in general wouldn't endure. BUT having said that we endure too much of a bad thing often times.

      I've got my background in Psych and let me tell you, I 've gotten myself into plenty of damsel in distress friendships. I have enough problems of my own that when I find all we're talking about is the other person's problems then it's time for me to let go. Recently I've been realizing I have to let go of a friendship because there's always been an age difference of 10 years between us but we bonded over being neighbors and our daughters are same age. Lately her daughter and mine haven't been getting along and I realized that was the only reason I was enduring this friendship- she texts me at all hours for her romantic problems and depression. I have a painful chronic illness and I really don't need that in my life. We spend hours on her problems and about 5 minutes on mine...but what's worst is she's really looking for me to ease her emotional pain and fix her issues then she just repeats the same old destructive pattern. No thanks!!

      This was a great hub and topic!

    • baybpnk profile image

      Nicole 4 years ago from Michigan (the Mitten), United States


      That's exactly right. We need people in our lives who are going to be a good influence because whether we want to believe it or not, the people in our lives do rub off on us as time goes by. It's important to have good people around you who have traits that you not only like but also traits that you yourself want to have or keep upholding in your own being.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Greatly written and thought of. Friends are supposed to be trustworthy and there when needed. Sometimes you come across all sorts of friends and think they can meet your expectations that does not always happen. The choices you make are the choices you have to live with. Thank you for following me.

    • baybpnk profile image

      Nicole 4 years ago from Michigan (the Mitten), United States

      Exactly. That is a smart quote, by the way. Thank you for sharing!

    • Lady Summerset profile image

      Lady Summerset 4 years ago from Willingboro, New Jersey

      In my case, while growing up I ALWAYS had male friends. When I met this young woman, we hit it off fabulously. We like the same things, dress with the same styles, and even our husbands could be changed out for the other's without missing a beat. She has admitted to not being able to have long-term relationships with women. In fact, I'm truly her only REAL friend. I really do LIKE her! I just noticed (husband been saw it) that if I don't call, she won't call unless she needs something. I take full ownership of the fact that it is MY decision as to whether or not I continue as "best friends." I'm deciding to step down the title to "friend." I'm good with that and I won't then expect something from her that, at this time, she cannot give or is unwilling to give. As Maya Angelou says "when a person shows you who they are, believe them!"

    • baybpnk profile image

      Nicole 4 years ago from Michigan (the Mitten), United States

      If I could type correctly the first time I would have said "We change as we grow older." Alas, I cannot.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 4 years ago

      baybpnk, I believe life is a personal journey.

      I do not believe it is a weakness to have any type of friendship that you (want). I mainly illustrating the difference between the genders when it comes to friendships.

      Nevertheless if someone is unhappy with the friends they've chosen I believe the emphasis should be on them to learn how to choose better friends for themselves in the future.

    • baybpnk profile image

      Nicole 4 years ago from Michigan (the Mitten), United States

      Now, from your comment, it seems that you think it is a weakness of myself, and Lady Summerset to have friends like these in our lives. It does NOT mean that there is some other reason we chose to be friends with people like this. It's all about how we care more about that friend than they care about us, or in my situation, I cared more about her than she cared about her. Some people are just caring for others. THIS hub is about how we have to stop letting people who suck the life out of us into our lives. It's about learning to chose who to let in and who to push out.

      There is a definite difference between a mans best friend and a womans best friend, (especially when it's two women).Women connect emotionally with their friends, that's why we talk a lot and share just about everything. We depend on each other for that kind of support because that is how we build trust, you man. Haven't you ever wondered why women (perhaps girlfriends, mothers, or sisters to you) just can't seem to stop sharing how they feel? A lot of women are like that, anyway. Not all, but a lot.

      You just made me a little angry because you seem to think we ASK FOR FRIENDS LIKE THIS. Guess what? I didn't. Sometimes it just takes time for us to realize who should not be in our lives, even when others can see it right away. Exactly like being too close to see the problem, blinded, until you can see, or until you are ready to see.

      We women take our best friends seriously.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 4 years ago

      It's been my personal observation that women seem to have higher expectations from their 'best friends' than men have for theirs.

      Men tend not to "overshare" with their friends nor do we personally interject ourselves into each other's problems. We tend to keep discussions on the light side and bond through mutual interests/hobbies.

      Aside from loaning someone a few bucks or picking up the tab for a meal now and then our lives seldom become intertwined. I've known women who have said they'd rather hang out with guys than women.

      Nevertheless when it comes to friendships you want to spend time with people who are for the most part like yourself. They share your same values and enjoy most of the same things that you do.

      It's a mistake for anyone to allow them self to be 'used' in a friendship or taken advantage of . When one recognizes the friendship is for the most part 'one sided' where you're always the one initiating contact, shelling out the money for activities, being asked for favors over and over again it's time for you to examine you and your choices! You can only change you!

      Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse. There is no way of getting around that. We are always where we (choose) to be.

      "If it's on my plate I must have ordered it."

      Instead of examining our so called friend we need to learn more about why we (chose) to be friends with them to begin with so that we can avoid making the same mistakes in the future. One man's opinion! :-)

    • baybpnk profile image

      Nicole 4 years ago from Michigan (the Mitten), United States

      Yes, usually the people around us who really care are the first to express their dislike for that certain someone! For me, it was my mom, although I thought she was just being a mom and trying to steer me away from people she didn't really understand. A friend should be in your life for the good and bad, should look out for you, should care and have love for you. If you are putting much more effort into the friendship than she, then it's just about asking yourself if it is worth feeling this way; If it's worth feeling as if she doesn't care about you when you put much effort into caring for her.

    • Lady Summerset profile image

      Lady Summerset 4 years ago from Willingboro, New Jersey

      Wow, I was just thinking about this very thing on this morning. I've been trying to hold on to this friendship. If I don't hear from her out of the norm, I'll call. If I know that she is sick, I'll call. If I know she is facing difficulties, I'll call. On the other hand, if she doesn't hear from me - out of the norm -- NO call! My husband has been saying for a while that she's not a friend but I've been trying to hold on because I really like does concern me that she doesn't call to see how I'm doing, how I'm feeling, or what is going on in my life!


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