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Good Friendship Turned Bad

Updated on December 20, 2014

Have you experienced that emotional drainage from a tough situation with a friend you've known for years? What about that one time, when that friend you've looked up to, just shut you down completely on an idea that you wanted to talk about? Well, look no further. I want to share my story, and in hopes that this will help you out. By the way, feel free to reach out to me with questions, also -- I want to build an on-line support group, to see where this goes!

Recently, I made a decision to move on from a friend that I got into a text argument with. I realized that this so-called "friend" preferred to spend over 20 minutes going back-and-forth with me on the text messages, as opposed to just spending 10 minutes to review my work for a job submission. However, in the midst of the argument, I was internally strong enough not to curse at him, or say things that I would regret saying later. The truth is, I wanted to be emotionally independent for a long time.

Sometimes, you can salvage the friendship depending on the situation. A very good way to salvage a troublesome friendship, is to set a solid boundary between yourself and that friend. One tip that works very well, is when you're doing great with your personal life, and your life is filled with enough good friends to a point, where you wouldn't have space for that troublesome friend.

But sometimes, that option isn't do-able enough. Sometimes, you'll run into consistent problems with that friend, to a point where it's eating up your personal life. That's when you've really got to set your foot down. Now, I'm a pretty friendly, outgoing and personable guy, so I don't recommend being distasteful to scare away that friend.

What I recommend doing, is telling that friend something like this:

"You know, I'm very sorry that this friendship isn't working out. I've tried many times to salvage our friendship, and for some odd reason, we keep butting heads with one another. I wish you nothing but the best, but I feel that it's in our best interest to part ways. I'm sorry, but I need to move on with my life."

If the friend doesn't understand or accept that, then here's another tip:

"Yeah, I know it's not an easy decision, believe me. I'm sure you'll do great in your life. If you need a friend to talk to, there are websites like YouTube that can help you out. Have you considered those options?"

Allow this friend to speak. If he/she apologizes, stay firm and say:

"I understand, and I accept your apology. I wish you the best. You'll find a really good friend -- right now, I need to focus on my life, and hope that you understand."

From there, that friend will come to understand, and you should be set to leave the conversation from there! Of course, if things get out of hand with this friend, then it is advisable to contact your local police for help.

So, the whole point is to end the friendship politely, and not engage in shouting matches. You want to firmly establish your healthy boundaries, and be free of any emotional attachments or regrets.

The main reason I'm touching on this topic, is because there was a time, where I discovered my new self and my new passions. Before then, I was a low self-esteemed guy that allowed himself to be stuck on a dead-end job, and took verbal abuse from my supervisor on a regular basis. So, it turns out, my long-time friend was getting the joy of seeing me down and depressed, and wanted to use me as a "punching bag," if you will. There were times where he was there for me, but it went to a point where he was continuously yelling at me on the phone. However, anytime he saw me happy and pursuing my passions, then he started making snide remarks without providing any constructive advice. I gave him my lending ear, and upheld his opinions only to find out that most of his opinions were detrimental to my life. Of course, I could elaborate more on the damages he's caused to my personal life, but I'd rather focus on the productive process of moving forward and letting the right kind of friends naturally come, while I continue progressing in my everyday life.

My Ultimate Question Is:

1. Would you rather end a bad friendship while you can, and allow yourself the time to heal, while you make better friends? I had to acknowledge that trying to salvage the friendship was creating ongoing issues and problems that were bad for my emotional health.

2. Do you really have time to deal with a friend that's jealous and envious of you, when you're trying to move forward with your life?

3. If this "friend" was costly, discouraging your passions, and continually making efforts to destroy your reputation and badmouth you, is it really worth salvaging that contact?

In my case, I determined that the outcome would be more beneficial, if I chose to simply move on.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment below. I want to reach out to others in a tough-situation with friends, and perhaps, create an on-line community to exchange our stories of friendship struggles, and provide helpful advice to one another.

Mistakes to avoid:

1. Avoid talking about this past-friend altogether. You may confide with someone close, or you may reach out to a YouTube channel to discuss those issues. But, the only way for you to truly move on, is to make new friends by establishing common interests! Never let the past-friendship be a topic!

2. Also, the emotion may drag with you at work, and that is perfectly normal to experience. A helpful tip is to keep yourself humored daily in general. You don't want to reveal any of your personal life at work, since that kind of information will only come to haunt you. Instead, confide with someone that you know that you can reach out to. In essence, it's really better to take a couple of sick/personal days off work, until you're mentally cleared out and ready to take on those tasks. After all, you'll want to stay in good standings with your current boss and co-workers.

3. Sometimes, I'll even find that when I go out to different bars and venues, I'll run into toxic situations with people that I meet. Sometimes, they'll try to get an attitude or lash at me in an attempt to seek some type of emotional reaction. In that case, I'll laugh it off, and I'll keep in mind to shred through the bad seeds to find the good ones. Some things just aren't worth wasting your emotions on. You are in control of your space, realm, and emotions.

4. If you must, keep yourself pre-occupied with the hobbies and interests that you enjoy doing, and keep working towards your personal goals. I believe that this is the true path to happiness, and it's a great way to connect with new friends!

5. Making small accomplishments in your daily life will turn into big accomplishments. This will help ensure that you're progressing towards your true happiness!

6. Sometimes, confiding with someone close about your friendship issues isn't a good idea. You may find that you're not getting any type of emotional support, or that your pushing that other friend away. In that case, post your stories under my article below, or develop a friendship with someone who posts YouTube shows on these types of topics -- there are plenty out there that will be more than happy to provide the type of support group that you need!

7. The best advice I read on-line in the world is "take care of yourself" on an article dealing with family crisis -- nothing could be further from the truth!

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    • RickFord profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Ford 

      3 years ago from Dearborn, MI

      LyndaPringe -- Wow, it sounds like you've through a tough situation there. I can definitely relate to witnessing some co-workers turning against me, from the restaurant work experience. I like how you mentioned the "red flags" -- it's always good to shred the bad seeds from the good ones! Social life is always good, when we're around good people. Thanks again, and will post more thoughts shortly!

    • RickFord profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Ford 

      3 years ago from Dearborn, MI

      Maramerce -- I agree! This particular toxic friend has the same expectation. I learned that this friend (as well as my previous roommates) are no longer worth my effort or energy. It's always phenomenal to find connections with new people. It seems like the best thing to do is keep living life the way it's meant to be lived, and the good friends will come!

    • maramerce profile image

      maramerce 

      3 years ago from United States

      It amazes me that some people can treat you so badly and do the worst things to you yet somehow expect to stay in your life. That's insane. I feel like if you have any self-esteem or self-respect at all then you wouldn't put up with anyone treating you less than the utmost best. I treat everyone in my life like a precious gift, a king or a queen or a favorite so I have high quality relationships. I create high quality relationships and I demand high quality relationships. I don't settle for mediocrity in either love or friendship. I don't have a bazillion close friends. I have all the close friends that matter to me and just the ones I need to make life worth living.

    • lyndapringle profile image

      Lynda Pringle 

      3 years ago from Austin, Texas

      The situations you discussed with your version of toxic friends are easy enough to handle. The red flags are immediately apparent and you can make a quick decision on how far to carry out the relationship with this person at this point. For instance, in the work place, I was aware of those who enjoyed gossip as a hobby and I knew these people would also gossip about me as soon as I left the room. Dealing with those people was easy, keep them as casual work acquaintances but never share any personal confidences or gossip with them. The consistently snide friend is also easy to deal with-simply ignore that person and refuse to socialize with that person. The snide person knows exactly why you are avoiding him so a potentially confrontational explanation is not necessary nor does that person deserve one. It is fortunate if you can see the toxicity in these people from the beginning before you get to know them well and experience subsequent betrayal.

      What is much harder is the more subtle toxic person who does not display herself/himself until you are hooked in well into the relationship and have a hard time accepting the friend for who she is. It is tempting to make excuses for a supposed change in personality but, if you reflect on the friendship as a whole, you will notice red flags which you had failed to see before. I had a best friend in the work place whose first red flag I should have noticed was her controlling personality. Things always had to be her way but, because she was kind to me and said nothing but nice things about me to our bosses, I catered to her control issues. She was an attorney and I was a paralegal at the firm. I prioritized her work and did what she asked when she asked. I also did a lot of personal things for her such as babysit for her daughter, act as the intermediary in custody exchanges, was a character witness for a custody hearing. A side situation in the matter was that I was my boss' favorite although this did not seem to concern her, so I thought.

      After a few years, she became my boss' new favorite. I was sad but was willing to accept the situation and continue with my friendship with her and her daughter. After all, the boss was a married man, not belonging to either of us and who would do little for our careers anyway. Well, once her friendship with him developed rapidly, she came to see me as a threat. Once I became of no use to her, an expediency to her friendship with our boss, she enacted a campaign of harassment. I won't go into all of it other than stating that she had collated all of my very personal e-mails which I had sent her throughout the years and distributed them to my supervisors and possibly some co-workers. That, unfortantely, wasn't the worse of the betrayal. Her harassment escalated after I lost complete trust in her and stopped prioritizing her work and ceased doing whatever she asked of me unless it was work related. Her loss of control over me and the threat of my prior favoritism with our boss resulted in her retaliatory behavior. The boss was of no help. Once he had his new favorite, he expected me to treat her as an alternate manager of mine which I refuse. This led to a very ugly resignation.

      However, the red flag with both individuals should have been the unusual favoritism my boss showed with me. I was allowed privileges not allowed to others. I should have understood the inappropriateness of this behavior and realized that favoritism has a short shelf life. I should have kept my distance from him and concentrated on my job. As for my co-worker, I should have also understood that she would only be as nice to me as long as I acquiesced to her control issues and if I could be of use to her. I should have understood that it was easy for her to be a good friend and say kind things about me if I was treating her as a favorite over the other lawyers, prioritizing her work and doing a slew of personal things for her. A good friend does not stop being such once the other friend becomes of no use which is what happened to me.

      So while sometimes it is easy to spot toxic people; many times it isn't but the red flags are there and need to be examined. If a friend is overly complimentary and overly controlling, there is a connection between the two. However, much of what I experienced could have been avoided by setting firm boundaries in the office place by not becoming close to management and not creating bonding friendships at work.

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