Am I a toxic friend?

broken heart love sad

There is something I have been thinking about for a long time now. In recent years, I have had a couple friendships end. Presumably, these endings were because of some things I had done, at least according to the enders of the friendships. The thing was, I didn’t really see what I had done wrong.

According to these people, I was a bitch, a complainer, a gossip, and a downer. I was a generally negative person, and as such I didn’t deserve to keep these friendships any longer.

I thought and thought about these descriptions. I have never considered myself as any of these things, but, maybe, I am. Does this make me a toxic person? Am I a toxic person? If I were to describe myself as a friend, I would say I am kind, funny, thoughtful, and that I go out of my way to help and support the people I love. But, maybe this isn’t true. Or at least, not entirely.

I know I can be a gossip, and a complainer. Part of me feels like this could be because I am also a writer. I like the minutia of the human experience. I want to see how others react when they hear a secret. I don’t go out of my way to be mean when I share gossip, but after these break ups, (which is what they were), I truly considered if I had been a bad person by relishing this human behaviour.

Thinking back over the years, many hard things happened in my life, resulting in a generally negative attitude, I suppose. I also came to find that I was suffering from depression. Now that I have received help for this, I have come to realize that I was ill with depression for far longer than I admitted to myself. Possibly eight years or more. This too, contributed to my negativity.

The point I want to hit home is that we are starting a new year, where we are all too eager to dump the old and replace it with whatever is new and shiny. I don’t believe I was a truly toxic friend, but perhaps I was hard to handle and be around. Instead of asking me if I was okay, or even suggesting that I did not seem like myself, my former friends decided to ditch me. I have struggled around this concept for a long time. I would like to encourage you out there who feel the need to ditch your difficult friends to ask yourself a few questions first. Is this friend truly mean, or are they unhappy? Has something big happened in their life that they are having trouble moving past? Am I being too judgmental or placing expectations on this person that they don’t understand? Are they hurting me, or are they just annoying? Should I offer this person a shoulder instead of showing them the door?

I am not sad any longer that these relationships ended. Sometimes that happens, and sometimes it is for the best. I do encourage everyone to do what they feel is best for them, and if that means moving on from a friendship, then you should do so. I do ask though, that you don’t just cut a person from your life, or send them a cruel email to prove that you are a better person. Try kindness. Always kindness. Perhaps your friend is just suffering from mental illness and hasn’t realized it yet. Maybe they are toxic to themselves and need a helping hand to get out of the muck.

Until later… this fat lady is… recovering from negativity.

 

Photo by burak kostak on Pexels.com

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About Whitney Sweethttp://fatwomenare.wordpress.comBio: Whitney Sweet is a poet and writer of fiction. Her work has been included in A&U Magazine, as well as Mentor Me: Instruction and Advice for Aspiring Writers anthology. She is the winner of the 2014 Judith Eve Gewurtz Memorial Poetry Award. Her poetry will be included in the forthcoming Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poem Anthology (October 2018) and essays can be read in the Far Villages: Welcome Essays for New and Beginner Poets (2019) She is the creator and editor of T.R.O.U. Lit. Mag, a literary magazine dedicated to love and diversity. Whitney holds an MA in Communication and Culture from York University, as well as a BA in Creative Writing and English. When she isn’t writing you might find her laughing with her husband, napping, knitting, cooking, or petting her dogs.

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