Is your ‘best friend’ toxic?

The older we get, the less tolerant we should become of those who bring negativity or unhappiness into our lives.

Being 50-plus has its advantages. Just think about the road you’ve traveled, and how many of life’s precious souvenirs you’ve scooped up along the way to even think of bartering age for youth. The older we get, the less tolerant we should become of those who bring negativity or unhappiness into our lives. Breaking up a love relationship is painful but parting ways with an old friend can be just as detrimental.

As a mature adult, it is certainly clear how the notion of lifelong friends is hands-down, a rare commodity. Experts say however that not everyone is meant to be a permanent fixture in our lives and this is OK. Life’s changes can also oftentimes bring a shift to a friendship that might cause the relationship to drift. People can change over time and a friend’s behaviors just might finally necessitate making a clean break. So how do you know, when it’s time to part ways with an old friend?

It’s OK to walk out of someone’s life if you don’t feel you belong in it anymore!

  • Jealousy and competition are a deal-breaker for any friendship. Behaviors that break your spirit, folks who gossip about or badmouth you, and those who have proven themselves to be untrustworthy should get to stepping and keep on walking! “Friendships are voluntary relationships that are supposed to be mutually rewarding, says friendship expert Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., and author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend.
  • Walking on eggshells with friends who are quick to anger is stressful! People who blow up, and who make you feel guilty or apologetic over the silliest little things should be pointed towards the nearest exit sign.
  • If talking about your friend is all you do when you get together, then this relationship is toxic according to Florence Issacs, the author of Toxic Friends/True Friends. Issacs defines a toxic friendship as one with no balance. “Toxic friends are always the centers of conversations and give you the brush-off when you try to share your life with them,” cautions Issacs.
  • If your friendship is one-sided and you’re the one who is always trying to keep the communication lines open, then your relationship needs to end. Life makes you unavailable at times but real friends do not let life’s interruptions interfere with their relationships. Robert Rowney, D.O., a certified psychiatrist and the director of the Cleveland Clinic’s mood disorder unit says, “If you don’t purposefully make time to see friends, it can really hinder the friendships overall and it’s one of the main reasons why friendships fall by the wayside.”
  • Good friends help you celebrate successes and rallies support during times of crisis. Folks who can get you through those rough times, communicate concern, understanding, and who just show up with a loving, open heart are people you can truly count on. Bottom line, if you have a friend who fails to offer a shoulder when you need it most, then a friend, s/he is not!