Being in my late twenties, I thought I had naturally evolved past toxic relationships. That kind of stuff was supposed to be so high school. I had convinced myself that I was living my best life. When catching up with old friends, I would brag about my adoring boyfriend, my stimulating job, and my academic endeavours. I would also explain how I was living such a mature life, free from childish drama and toxicity. I seemed to be trying to convince others that I had the good sense to only foster friendships with those who enriched my life. But, that wasn’t true.
You see, I had this friend whom I met shortly after moving to a new city (let’s call her “Marie”). We met through social media and immediately formed a bond. She showed me around town, invited me over for coffee, we even got matching tattoos. It wasn’t until a year or so into our friendship that I started noticing red flags. Looking back on it now, I see that I actually missed several red flags over the course of that first year, but the pleasure of having a close friend in a new city blinded me to the cracks in our relationship.
I was first introduced to Marie’s unforgiving side during a Halloween party last year. In a nutshell, a mutual friend (we will call her “Diane”) showed late to the party causing Marie to erupt into a volcano of insults and foul language. Marie left the party and for the remainder of the night, Diane received a myriad of texts in which Marie called her a terrible friend, instructing her to “rot in hell.” That night, I resolved never to make Marie angry. It was apparent that, should I want to keep our friendship afloat, I would need to bite my tongue from here on out.
Marie and Diane stopped talking after that. I was friends with both of them so it was difficult for me. Because Marie didn’t have any other friends in the city, I gave my time to her time instead of to Diane. In hindsight, I see that Marie’s lack of friends in a city she’d grown up in should’ve spoken volumes to me.
Following the Halloween party, I walked on eggshells around Marie. I didn’t have the energy to fight with her if I were ever to slip up. I’m sure you’re thinking I was foolish for not cutting ties with her at that point – and I was. I was too focused on the fact that I had made a new friend as an adult – something I find extremely difficult – and I wasn’t going to take that for granted.
Eventually, I did cut ties with Marie. We got in a heated argument one day and I made a decision to stand my ground. It wasn’t pretty and I definitely could have handled it better, but I needed my sanity back.
I guess by recounting this tale, I am trying to say (in a very convoluted way) that we deserve better. This story is not meant to convey that Marie is impossible to be friends with, nor is it meant to convey that someone who doesn’t fit in your life won’t fit well into someone else’s. It’s just to say that some people don’t mesh well with others, and that’s okay. If there is someone in your life who feels toxic, don’t feel guilty about distancing yourself. It is crucial to your mental health and well-being to rid yourself of those connections. Life is too short to foster toxic relationships.
My relationship with Marie was exhausting. We brought out the worst in each other. Ending our friendship made for a very trying couple of months, but I knew I deserved better. And so did she.