toxic friendships, aarp, sisters
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It’s Time To Get Rid of Toxic Friendships

Is your sisterfriend causing super stress? It might be time to cut the cord.

Protect your energy. A simple enough concept, but what happens when the one draining your energy is a friend? While friendship plays a vital role in most of our lives, knowing when one has become toxic, or simply run its course, can be just as important.

According to Psychology Today, “Toxic friends have a multitude of methods for causing damage: criticism, competition, deception, exclusion, gossip, bullying, manipulation, inconsistency and insults just to name a few.… It can be so well disguised that we may be almost unaware of the underlying infliction of pain.”

It’s a scenario physician Melissa Hague describes: “When you’re a child, you tend to be friends with the person sitting next to you in school. But as an adult, you can be more intentional about your friendships. You get to decide: I want to head in this direction, so I need to surround myself with people going the same way. When you don’t, you eventually start to feel manipulated or pulled away from your priorities.”

There’s a saying that goes, “Want to know who your real friends are? Have a child.” But in truth this can apply to a number of life’s milestone events. From childbirth to weddings, change can trigger odd responses from those closest to you — or reveal their true intentions — which is why learning to cut off toxic friendships can be essential in learning to live your best life.

Read on to discover five moments when it’s perfectly fine to put your foot down or cut ties altogether.

When you’ve simply reached your limit
You know that friend that completely irks your soul? The one that never allows you to vent without reminding you just how much worse they have it? The one that expects you to drop everything for them, but rarely reciprocates? The one always in some type of drama? Yeah, that one. The best part of adulthood is that we’re given the freedom of choice, meaning you have the option to walk away from those that do more harm than good. Learn to exercise that right without feeling guilty about it. You owe it to yourself.

During a pregnancy or after the birth of a child
Bringing a new life into the world is a serious undertaking, particularly for Black women, which is why protecting your energy is especially important during this time in your life. Life is about to get real, and anyone that doesn’t understand you may not be as easily accessible (or available for every happy hour) may have to be left behind. For first-time mothers, the advice will pour in freely and at times unsolicited, but beware of those that seek to berate or question your parenting skills. You’ve got this! Don’t let anyone, friend or not, tell you otherwise.

Following an engagement or wedding
Weddings can be notoriously stressful, and for some reason it’s an experience that can bring out the absolute worse in people, including those either unhappy with your upcoming union or those simply jealous it’s not their big day. Repeat after me: This. Is. Your. Moment. The wedding itself is just the beginning of the journey. Those unable to find joy in your new path may not be able to follow you on it.

After changing careers or receiving a new promotion
As the saying goes, “Some people want you to do well, but not better than them.” You know that friend that’s always discouraging you from pursuing that dream, explaining why you shouldn’t launch that business or giving you a reason why you shouldn’t tackle that new assignment? You know the one. While friends should absolutely be able to offer advice and (constructive) criticism, a toxic friend can plant seeds of self-doubt in your mind. Remember, just becausethey couldn’t do something, doesn’t mean that you can’t. Go for it.

When your health is at-risk
Guard your health as if your life depends on it, because it just might. Remaining in a toxic friendship can have unintended consequences, thanks to unnecessary stress that can manifest as everything from anxiety to sleeping problems. Those already facing health challenges may also benefit from eliminating friendships that cause more stress than good, particularly from those that seem to fall out of touch when you need them the most. Focus on your health and allow the rest to fall into place.

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toxic friendships, aarp, sisters