By Emma Spear
Growing up, I was that girl who always had to have a best friend. I took the term seriously and took it to heart.
If I saw you as my best friend, that meant I had to be your best friend and no one else could have that title in your life. Looking back, I realize how ridiculous this sounds. But at the time, the term “best friend” was important to me.
Now that I’m older and I understand what it means to have multiple best friends, do I have a friend that I might turn to more than the others?
Sure, but regardless, best friends are ultimately the people you turn to when life gets rough. And you’re there for them when you need them and vice versa.
However, as time has gone on, I’ve learned that “best” is a pretty strong word to use at times. And just because we think someone might be the best, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are.
Labeling someone the best doesn’t mean they don’t mess up.
I’ve unfortunately had a hard time keeping friends in my life. And I’ve had people in my life I referred to as my best friend not show up at the times I needed them the most.
Labeling someone the best doesn’t mean they can’t be toxic.
Oftentimes, after this person let me down, I drew the line when it got to be too much.
We’re human and it’s natural for us to become tired of the behaviors. And for me, that’s when I’ve learned to cut people off, even if they are my best friend.
And it’s usually after the first three months of the friendship ending that I realize how toxic the other person was, and I realize how the toxicity rubbed off on me.
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I started noticing that when this other person was around, or when we talked, my battery would drain faster. I realized how much their presence impacted me.
I noticed a change in my personality. I realized how cruel these friends made me at times.
As much as it hurt for the friendship to end, life became easier. And I realized how much the other person’s place in my life affected me and how I portrayed myself to others.
It made me realize I could potentially become toxic to others, and that’s not what I want to bring into this world.
Since then, I’ve had no issue cutting people out of my life the second they demonstrate toxic behavior. And I feel it’s so much more productive than letting the person stay in my life when they’re not serving a purpose.
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Just because someone becomes toxic in your life doesn’t mean they weren’t initially the person you thought they were. It doesn’t mean the positive times you had with them weren’t positive at first.
But you are allowed to outgrow people and sometimes that means cutting them off.
You can still care for the people in your life that you outgrew, but do it from now on. And realize when it’s time to cut off ties completely.
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Emma Spear is a student, paraeducator, writer, and contributor to Unwritten. She has a passion for writing about mental health, self-care, and education.
This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.