We became friends after I helped her into her job
I worked at a professional development institute a few years back where I met Pallavi. I on-boarded her by giving an induction and helping her settle in her new job. She and I became good friends. We shared a comfort level with each other that I didn’t feel with other colleagues. She helped me outside her scope of work with my tasks and I did the same whenever she needed my help.
I also met Archana during the same time and hit it off really well. Pallavi, Archana and I became close friends and colleagues and began to meet even after work. Archana was an extremely positive lady and Pallavi loved that. At that time, I was not quite enjoying my job and for many odd and petty reasons, I was always complaining.
The first few times, Pallavi tried to understand me and also helped me by giving advice on what I can do to change things in my life. However, after a few weeks, she realised that my negativity about life in general was unrelated to the circumstances. It was a character trait that was too difficult to change. I think I had started affecting her and she was getting irritated that I was always complaining about everything. She also felt that the vibes she was getting from me were full of negativity and hence she started cutting me out slowly and steadily.
Related reading: My boyfriend takes everything I say negatively, what do I do?
I drove her away with my negativity
Every time I had something negative to say, she would get up and go to the washroom. Later she began calling her other friends and started ignoring me. She never directly told me about how she felt when I was being negative, but one day I couldn’t help but ask Archana about Pallavi’s changed behaviour towards me. Archana told me that she wasn’t happy, because she was being affected from the negative vibes of my non-stop complaining.
At first, she started getting up in the middle of any negative conversation. Later she stopped responding to my text messages. She never directly stopped talking to me but she started keeping a little distance.
She never directly stopped talking to me but she started keeping a little distance.
I felt very bad that she was not able to understand how I felt. Later one day she sat me down and told me that she liked everything about me, except my negative attitude. “While I understand that you may have problems and I will help you face them, you don’t have the right attitude to solve them.”
At that moment, I knew that she wanted to keep a distance from me yet also make sure that I learn from this. Today we still are on speaking terms, but we are definitely not as close as we used to be. I have changed as a person because of her, but for some reason, I also feel the distance she created between us. She made sure she cut me out of her close social circle yet kept a civil relationship with me.
From my story, you can learn how you can break up with your friend yet still be on talking terms.
Related reading: 5 ways we push love away without even realising it
Start keeping a distance from them. Having said that, if they initiate a conversation, be civil and respond, but keep it to a minimal. Allow them some time to change, but if they don’t, then just let them be and you can keep yourself out of any conversations or activities that aren’t good for you. Tell them that you are busy with something else that needs your attention and be sure that it is something long-term, for example, preparing for an exam or learning another language, etc.
Ignore them when you think they’re toxic
Whenever you see that their behaviour or actions aren’t good for your well being, then the best thing to do is to make an excuse and leave. You may not necessarily come across as polite, but if you can give them hints about your ignoring them, it will be noticed. This, in turn, will force them to ask you about your changed behaviour. At that time, you can calmly explain to them how your priorities are different, but still you’d like to keep in touch with them for the good person that they are.
Find a common friend to tell them
If you don’t think that you can directly tell them, then find a common friend who can do it for you. However, be sure that this friend isn’t going to play Chinese whispers and miscommunicate what you mean. Always focus on how it’s positive for you and for the friend you want to keep a distance from.
Sure, it’s a tricky situation, but if you handle yourself with grace and respect the other person, a lot of these awkward things can become easier.