I can tell you that there were only 2 times in my life I’ve ever truly lost a friend. The first time, I was 16, and I hadn’t yet learnt how to be emotionally independent. I don’t remember much about how it happened — maybe I depended on her too much, but my friend and I stopped talking, and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. We eventually made up after a few years or so, but we were never as close as we used to be after that year happened.
I chalked it up to the changing stages of my life, to how we needed different friends after graduating from secondary school and moving to the next stage of our education, but maybe it was because too much time had passed in between. We simply didn’t know how to be friends like we were before. I’m not sure about this conclusion, because I never asked her what she felt. But I am grateful that we are at least comfortable with each other now.
I’ve lost other friends in between then and now, mostly because we just drifted apart after we found lesser and lesser topics to talk about. There are some friends you don’t need to talk to, but you know will still be around, and then there are others with whom you feel a strange empty gap when you try to talk to them again.
The last time I lost a friend was probably 2 years ago. I say this because the other people I’ve managed to piss off are still on talking terms with me. That was a joke. Haha. Laugh with me please. I’m saying that just in case.
Friendship Breakups And How It Sucks The Life Out Of You
Okay, so that’s a little blunt. But losing a friend really does suck. Sometimes, friendship breakups can suck even more because well. Friends forever, right? That’s what childhood taught us all, anyway.
You could breakup with a significant other, but there aren’t any protocols for “friendship breakups”. Those just happen, whether it is with a whimper or a bang, and you’re expected to just deal with it. Doesn’t matter if you feel crappy because your friendship is over, you’re not supposed to because the rest of the society tells you that friendships fade, and people drift away.
You’ll grow old and find that your friends have all gone, etcetera, etcetera. You can’t feel bad about losing a best friend, a close friend, or even a regular friend because that’s just how life is, etcetera, etcetera.
But I’m still pretty mad about this last friend I had lost — and it’s been more than 2 years now. I’m mad about how it happened, I’m mad about what I was told when it happened, and I’m mad that the reasons aren’t the same as what I’m being told now. I don’t feel angry all the time, but this anger manages to creep up on me more than I expect.
I don’t know how to completely get rid of the anger I sometimes still feel.
It was a friend I thought would be there for every big moment. Like how in HIMYM *spoiler alert* Lily thought Robin was going to be there for the big moments, but sometimes life doesn’t happen the way you want it to.
Toxic Friends — How To Know If You Have One Or If You Are One
So here’s a checklist to know if you’re a toxic friend (or if you have a toxic friend), just off the top of my head:
- Do you focus on yourself more than your friends?
- Do you not listen to someone else’s problems and instead keep talking about yourself?
- Are you an emotional vampire?
- Do you put other people down constantly — do you realise it?
- Do you do things to sabotage your relationships with others?
Most times, you don’t lose large groups of friends all at once. But maybe you know what it’s like losing a close friend, or maybe even losing a best friend because you’ve experienced it, and now you’re asking yourself if you’ve been a toxic friend. Maybe you’re asking if you’ve been a toxic friend to others as well.
It’s good to always be asking yourself questions like these to keep yourself in check. I like to just make sure I listen to my friends because I know I sometimes lack the patience to be sensitive to others. My EQ is not the highest and so I try to be more observant and sensitive to others.
Just don’t overdo it and end up feeling sorry for yourself and negative all the time. ’Cause that definitely won’t be healthy and you might just be perpetuating the “toxicity” in yourself.
Alright, so I’m not really an expert on how to tell if you’re a toxic friend, but a general guide is to probably get a feel on how you make others feel and see if people want to hang out with you.
If you’ve been way too self-centred and/or mean to others lately but you didn’t realise it, that could be a rough gauge. Or you could probably google it and find articles about it. That could be a rough gauge too.
But the best way to find out? Just ask your friend and be mentally prepared for the truth. I like to think that your friend will tell you the truth. That truth might not sound so nice to your ears, but it will definitely help you grow.
Back To Why Losing A Friend Is Not The End Of The World
As I grow older, I’ve realised that people come and go, as much as I refuse to admit it. It’s pretty hard to even meet up these days, let alone hang out enough to become a toxic friend. In fact, in our absences is where you can sometimes find that “toxicity”.
Because we’re so busy with our own lives, we’ve forgotten to reach out to the people we care about. Or sometimes we just don’t want to reach out. I’ve been there. I’m probably there all the time because most of the time, all I want to do is spend time by myself on my bed watching netflix.
So I’ve learnt to cherish the friends I do have right now. We’re trying, my friends and I. We set up dnd sessions… in which I try not to suck as a dm so everyone can have fun. I had a terrible dream last night that I was heading into my next session as a dm blind and made it terrible for everyone to play in… which probably means I should really start revamping my plans and rules so we can do a proper session.
P.S. If anyone has any dm tips, please send them my way.
*Featured Image Credit: Chang Duong | Unsplash
Originally published at Georgia Ho.