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Toxic Friendship Advice

"I Want to Cut My Hurtful Friends Out of My Life"

This week's confession comes from our anonymous Confession Booth group in the TrèsSugar Community. Weigh in with your advice below.

In the past couple months, there have a been a couple semi-isolated incidents where each of my four closest friends have made me feel totally taken advantage of and not worth their time. These incidents have ranged from smaller things like ignoring attempts to make plans to spend time together, to much larger issues where safety, common sense, and basic manners haven't been taken into consideration. I'm a pretty reasonable person, but I am not the kind to let most people walk all over me. I've made exceptions for these friends for years, because we've been so close. Now, I've decided that enough's enough: I haven't spoken to any of them for lengths of time ranging from a couple days to a month and a half. During the month and a half, they haven't made any attempts to speak to me either. 

I'm reasonable, love my friends, and understand that by no means have I been a perfect friend either. But these incidents go beyond "I'm mad at you for breaking our plans last weekend so I'm going to ignore you for a few days" or whatever. These are incidents that have made me sad and hurt, have made my cry and have panic attacks in gas station parking lots (and I'm the most low-anxiety person ever, so that was a huge indicator to me). Going into details with other people, everyone's agreed that these friends have treated me like shit. But I'm feeling conflicted about basically making a conscious decision to cut these people out of my life/limit how much they're a part of it. That feels extreme to me. How would you react?

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Quriosity Quriosity 3 years
I've done it and even though those so called "friends" were part of my everyday life for 8 years,I cannot feel better about my circle friends now that I chose to keep in touch with because I know every one of them are true. I have good friends and acquaintances and even though I can count the number of good friends with just 1 hand, I'd rather that than having a bunch of friends that I'm not very sure of. Think about it, why keep them around if they don't bring you positive energy, make you a better person, and be what friends are supposed to be? That's some unnecessary stress that you don't need to deal with and definitely don't worth your time and effort. My suggestion is, you can fade out and slowly have less contact with them and say that you guys grew apart, rather than bluntly refuse to see or speak to them to avoid any drama. Hope this helps, good luck!
Amanda576 Amanda576 3 years
My define Best friends as people I can go months without talking to but feel like no time as been missing when were together. i have 7 friends like that.. But friends that put you last, cancel plans all the time, are friends you don't want. just wean off them slowly .. its not your job to keep in contact its a two way street. but you don't need to cut them from your life, just lower what they mean to you.. instead of good friends there just friends now.. go out and meet some new people.
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 3 years
I agree with the others. I'd like to add a couple of things too. Experiencing a panic attack over these friend's actions is a major red flag -- about you. Cutting out people who treat you like shit is extreme? That is a huge red flag. Your inner self is screaming with that panic attack: "You, the one person I have to depend upon is not protecting me against harm and I'm going to get hit again!" The question is why did you continue to give when all signs were actually to stay far, far away from them? Why didn't you tell them in the moment their actions weren't OK with you? Why do you need to ask a group of (albeit caring) strangers to give you permission to let go? You've got a type of dependence on others that isn't serving you. A panic attack is an indication this is pretty deep. I just have a feeling there is something far more significant than these friends who are already pretty much out of your life. Maybe in your past but you want to believe you've overcome all that? Please go get help. The panic attacks may show up again at a very unfortunate time, protect yourself and act now. Be your own best friend, that's what is really needed.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 3 years
You absolutely should not maintain relationships that stress you out and make you unhappy. If I were you, I would focus my energies into making new friends and improving yourself. My only question would be what does "cut them out of your life" mean to you. Does it mean not making any more efforts toward the friendship? then I would encourage that. But if it means some sort of dramatic breakup to try to make them hurt like you feel they hurt you I think that's a bad idea. If you just stop calling and communicating you can move on with your life without burning a bridge. And that should also assuage whatever guilt you're feeling about this situation.
henna-red henna-red 3 years
I kind of see many relationships sortof as a bank deposit kind of deal, or as a well.....we both go to the bank to deposit, we both go the bank to withdraw.....if one is doing all of the spending and another all of the saving/depositing, then the relationship is out of balance and won't work. I don't see things as a tit for tat....we each need different things at different times, and sometimes when one has more need for a longer period of time, there is more take.....but eventually, there is a need to give back, to return what's been shared, or it's not really shared, just used. I don't find it necessary to keep people in my life who do nothing but take, or who give only grief. My life and love and time are more valuable to me than that. I don't find it extreme to cut users out of my life, or to not give my precious time or energy to anyone who does nothing but stress me. I find it necessary to draw lines, boundaries around myself and what I'll allow into my life, and what I won't. Those boundaries sometimes mean that I cut people out. It sounds to me as though your decision to remove some people is the right decision, absolutely. A panic attack is some serious stress, and the best way to deal with it is to remove the cause of the stress! So trust your instinct here. If there is no real give and take, and it's just take, your "friendship" is an illusion and what you're really losing is not a friend. Best of luck
dikke-kus dikke-kus 3 years
I think if you're not really benefiting from these so called friends its a good decision to move on. I wouldn't second guess it, especially if they aren't even responding. Its too bad that you couldn't call some of this out while it was happening? Also I just read something about women's friendships as a system where when you give something you expect something back almost like a tally. If one keeps giving while another doesn't give back then then one will feel slighted so the friendship ends. According to the experts that's how it is. So sometimes friendships end.
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