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.
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