I have always been surrounded by great friends who got my back no matter what I am facing. They have always shown their love and support for me not only in big matters but also in small ones.

I once read in an article by Rania Naim that support system comes in the form of great friends. I am a firm believer of that, but it makes me feel guilty. The thing is, I was not a great friend to the people who saw me as their friends. I took most of them for granted.

Here is the story.

I used to be what the internet pertains to as a toxic friend–the friend who is jealous about her friends’ successes; the friend who is too self-absorbed; the friend who is not trustworthy; the friend who lacks empathy; and most of all, the friend who feels entitled to her friends’ attention. 

When I was in 7th grade to 12th grade, it never occurred to me that I was a toxic friend. I thought I was just a fair-weather friend–the kind who is only there for the good times but when the going gets tough, tends to vanish. 

I started considering myself a fair-weather friend when I was in 10th grade. Although I was part of a great friend group, my presence was not always felt by them during their hard times. There were a lot of times that they needed shoulders to cry on, but I am always missing in the frame.

Frankly speaking, I thought that they were the problem for not understanding where I am coming from not realizing it was me all along. 

I remember, there were a couple of times that I ditched them. Instead of trying to build my relationship with them, what I did was strain it more by doing the bare minimum to bridge it.

I already put on my mind how the word “sorry” should always come hand-in-hand with change, but when I was in 10th grade, that fact was something that holds no importance to me. Instead of change, I tend to accompany my apologies with effort. I would write letters and buy food for my friends hoping that by doing so, I will get their pity resulting for them to take me back in the group.

On days when I felt like they were the ones who did me wrong, what I did was fit myself in other friend groups to let my real friend group feel that I am fine without them.

After we parted ways because we decided to go to different schools for senior high school, that is when I realized how much they were understanding me despite my shortcomings in the friendship.

The reason they never made me feel like I was doing a horrible job in the friendship was the fact that they have accepted me already–they have accepted how childish I can get, and how emotional I can be.

Although being a fair-weather friend is bad, knowing that you are a toxic friend, in general, is way worse. I figured I was a toxic friend (not just a fair-weather friend) during the early months of quarantine. 

The early months of quarantine led me to discover a lot of things about myself. Some of those discoveries were small like the fact that journaling does not work for me no matter how hard I try to while some of them are big like the fact that I was a toxic friend to those who consider me as their friend.

The negative traits that were evident when I was in 10th grade heightened when I became a senior high school student. I started becoming more jealous of my friends’ successes and more irritable of their down moments.

They may say otherwise because I tend to accompany them most of the time especially when they have their problems, but the thing is, sometimes I tend to not take their problems into heart and just say what I believe I should say given the situation.

I remember, there was this certain quote that went around the internet that said that the reason why we listen was to reply and not really to understand the situation. Frankly speaking, that quote hit me hard because it spoke volumes on how I am as a friend.

If there is one thing I learned from being a toxic friend, it is the fact that no matter how detrimental you think your friendship is for your friends, some of them will stay not because they consider you as a great friend, but because they are choosing to see you in a positive light.

I once had a talk with one of my senior high school friends and I asked her how, despite all my shortcomings, and the times I tested both her patience and understanding, chose to remain by my side. The simple answer she gave me was the fact that I am not completely toxic in the friendship.

She agreed when I told her all about my toxic traits, but she told me that those traits do not encompass my whole being.

According to her, there were times I shared memorable moments with them that made them cry, laugh, and happy; there were times when I became the source of their laughter because of my idiotically childish antics; there were also times when I made them think through the thoughts and advice I tend to share with them.

She also told me that although I tend to be absent most of the time, the times when I am present is what she values in our friendship.

When she told me that, it made me realize that great friends see both your negative and positive traits, but chooses to focus on the positives. My friends are aware of how draining I am as a person; they are aware of how irritable I can get; they are aware of how many lies I have spouted, but despite that, they continue to see me as their friend.

Because of that specific lesson I learned from being a toxic friend, I realized how blessed I was for having my friends. Although that is the case, I must stop taking them for granted. Their acceptance of me should not be my excuse to embrace my toxicity. Instead, it should be my reason to try my hardest to improve how I am as a friend.

The thing is, it is never too late to to be a better friend.

Right now, that is what I will try to do.


Hello,

Thank you for reading! I appreciate it a lot.

This is a piece that reveals a lot about myself, but I fought the urge to not post it in my blog because I know that someone out there might find it helpful. The path to self-discovery is really ugly. You will not only discover positive attributes about yourself, but also negative ones.

If you want to be updated every time I have a new post, subscribe to my email list. I will gladly notify you.

Join 190 other followers

Love,

Aaliziyah

91 thoughts on “What I Learned About Friendship From Being a Toxic Friend

  1. The first step to recovery is realizing we have a problem! Very insightful post; I can relate to it. Before I sought counseling, my husband once told me he did not feel emotionally safe with me, and my postpartum adjustment induced anger had made me toxic to those close to me. Hurting people hurt people, so I am on a journey towards healing. I cannot give love for others if it is not within me for myself! Good job being brave and posting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. I have told people now that this was true for me as well — I didn’t realize I was a bad friend back then, but I do now. I have apologized to people from my past, not making excuses although it is true, we often don’t know we are toxic. I love your attitude and philosophy here of honesty and understanding that we all do wrong things, sometimes intentionally even, but that by admitting we have done or been wrong, we can become better human beings and definitely better friends. Bravo on this brave and wonderful truthful and heart felt post. ~~ Jane

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the comment, Jane Tawel. Writing this post was actually hard for me because it reveals one of my biggest negative attributes. I’m happy that you found some insights through it :”)

      Like

  3. This is one of the good blog posts I’ve read recently. Admitting your previous flaw is somewhat brave of you and that is amazing. We all learn great lessons from our past and carry those lessons as we go on for a better person.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello again Aaliziyah! I admire you for your bravery on doing this and owning up to your mistakes. You’re still young and there’s so much to learn in life. Honestly, friends really come and go. You make it to the point that life gets too hectic and you won’t be able to keep up with your other friends. Only the closest of the closest ones will be left in your life and that’s okay! I’m also happy for you that your friends are very understanding even for your age. Keep safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! I believe it took you lots of guts to share this. You should be proud of yourself. It is hard to accept that you’re wrong, at least it is hard for me. Very inspiring reading. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Ivan Majhen! In my blog, I really embrace vulnerability because I know that vulnerability is the one that makes connections possible. I want people to know me not only for my name but also for the way I tell my story.

      Like

    1. Thank you so much, My Onni You. The thing is, I am a big believer that change starts within. It is up to me to act on my wrongdoings and correct them for the betterment of my future :”)

      Like

  6. It’s absolutely wonderful that you were able to understand where you were wrong and to correct yourself. No one is perfect and it’s important that we see our limits, our mistakes and try to become a better version of ourselves. you must be proud of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww! Thank you so much, annabolena87. I want to be proud of myself for realizing my mistakes, but I feel like it is too early yet. I am still in the process of correcting my wrongdoings. I agree with what you said that all of us should see our limits and mistakes, and try our best to improve :”)

      Like

  7. Your self awareness is very admirable. Keep it up! Many people had a difficult time seeing themselves objectively and understanding why they do the things they do, and more, how their actions affect other people. I’m proud of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww! Thank you so much, Nkem! Although we do not know each other personally, you stating that you are proud of me makes me soooo happy and proud of myself, too. Thank you so much for dropping by my post!

      Like

  8. Friendship takes a lot of work and it takes a lot of introspection to realize that you are the toxic friend too so kudos to you on that.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have also considered myself as the toxic friend. Our only difference is you have really great friends to accept and love you. Way back in high school, I ruined my best friend and I’s friendship, AS WELL AS in SHS just because I am a perfectionist. We are okay now, though. But never they way we were.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh… I know it is ugly for one to give unsolicited advice, but my mom always told me that everything happens for a reason. Even though your friendship is not the way it used to before, I believe that it made you grow in a way.

      Like

  10. I am a firm believer that every person can improve as a friend and as a person in some way. The key is the self-realization that allows us to acknowledge our shortcomings and the determination to improve them. Reading through what you’ve written here, I would say that you are most definitely on the right track!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Being able to realize such things about oneself is a great and noble quality! We should always strive to become better than what we were yesterday. This is wisdom and true progress!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am glad that you are able to identify the problem and act on it. This means that you are now more mature and ready for change. I wish you well, and I know your friends are still there, waiting for the “new” you to join them again.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am glad that you had change. I once have a toxic friend for 30 years. She used to be my bestfriend. But after everything i heard that she’s been destroying me to other people. I let her go. But maybe, one day, if ever she says sorry about what happened between us. I will forgive her because i still love her. I am just waiting for her to change.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This is a post that sinks deep! And you must need a lot of courage to put up something so personal out there!
    That is some simple but powerful advise.
    The part where you said they are your freinds coz they choose to see you in a positive light, is way too relatable!
    Thank you for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Don’t be too hard on yourself dear. You can be a toxic friend now and now that you knew, you learned from it. You have more people that you’ll meet in your life and when that time comes, you already know what kind of friend you wanted to be. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

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