In my post; What about your friends, I talked about how important it is to have the right group of friends. Your friends can influence you and lead you in certain directions, so having positive influences can be secret weapon for overcoming difficult times. I mentioned in that same blog that I would talk about toxic friendships next, which is what I plan to do today. I thought about many ways that I could come at this topic, things that I could say that would gently discuss bad friends; however, I have decided to just be open and use one of my own examples.
When my Husband and I moved into our first place together right after we got married we were new to the Military and very unaware of certain…things. Now in every society their are cultural pitfalls and certain cliques that should be avoided all together. In this case I had to learn by experience and as they say it, experience, is the best teacher. I had just had my first child and I didn’t know anyone, I wanted friends and I was very open to making some Mommy friends. Naturally, my neighbors two ladies who lived next to me, befriended me and seemed really nice…at first. They were always so nice to me and eventually they started inviting me to come over to their house and, “hang out.” At first it was just great, they would tell me all about the base and the city, where to go for the best discounts, and the safest places to shop. I thought they really liked me.
The more they saw me the more they wanted to know about me, the more they found out the more I felt like I was constantly being jokingly criticized or passively attacked for my beliefs or my lifestyle choices. I started to feel bad about things that I had once felt good about, I tried to be more like them to be accepted by them because I wanted them to know that I didn’t think I was better than them, or that something was wrong with the choices that they made for their life. I started to downplay my achievements to make them feel more comfortable. I remember the day, very clearly, when I was teased about having a college degree that I wasn’t, “using.” I left our park playdate feeling ashamed of myself and I couldn’t figure out why and that made me angry. I was really struggling with what to do when they invited a new neighbor to join the group, and they started doing the same thing to her. She was also a young, newly married Mother like me and I liked her, I felt relieved that someone else had come to join the group. I was hopeful that she and I could actually leave the group and be friends. To make this long story short, my breaking point came when I was listening to them gossip about all our neighbors, and then smile and chit chant with them like they cared.
I finally got tired of being drained, listening to all the gossip, pretending to laugh at their cruel jokes, pretending not to be offended by their passive aggression towards my lifestyle, and feeling really terrible after being around them. I finally called a spade a spade and decided that I would rather be my own friend then to keep putting myself through that every day just to say I have friends. The funny thing is when I finally walked away they treated me like I had been ex-communicated, but I honestly didn’t care. I made new friends with the same people they had said not to befriend. Those ladies where great to be around! Where they a little weird? Yes, and I found out that I actually prefer weird people to perfect ones when given the choice. Why, you ask? I don’t know exactly, I guess it’s because they have more character, they’re more like me. I found that hanging with the cool crowd was too hard on my Spirit. I embrace people from all backgrounds and different walks of life. I love meeting new people with different perspectives and different experiences from me, it’s exciting! I like to know people who speak different languages or grew up in a different part of the country.
Most of all, I like being around people who are unique and add positivity and love into my life. I feel so good when my friends add to my life instead of subtract. I learned the hard way just how important it is for me to have good friends who don’t poison me and fill me with trash. I felt a little like Lot who was vexed by filthy conversation. I was young, and immature; and yet, I learned very quickly what I can personally tolerate and what it cost to have toxic friends( I use this term loosely).
Okay ladies, time to open up a bit here, leave a comment about your experience with, “toxic friends.” I want to hear how you deal with people who tear you down or leave you feeling filthy after a conversation with them. Thanks for reading and remember to like and comment!