Cut it Out: When it’s Time to Cut Out Toxic Friends

Let’s face it: sometimes, friends fight. Your best friend might have stolen a shirt you wanted to wear out. They might chew with their mouth open and you just can’t take it anymore. It’s only normal to get annoyed with the friends in our lives. But sometimes, a friendship goes south and it’s time to cut that person out, for the better of your own life.

As a 21-year-old woman, I’ve had plenty of friends come and go. Some I got into catty fights with and things were never the same. Some I just grew apart from; life gets busy and you can’t keep in touch with everyone. The most consistent friends in my life I’ve known since elementary and middle school. Those are the friends that I can count on no matter what happens, and no matter how long we’ve been apart or haven’t talked. But some friends I cut out on purpose, because I knew they were toxic in my life and the friendship would end eventually anyway (probably badly).

There comes a time in everyone’s lives, I believe, where you realize some people around you just aren’t really your friends. You know the ones. They’re the people that will talk about you behind your back as soon as you leave. They’re the people that do things that purposely make you angry. You might try to save the friendship, but I’ll give you a word of advice: these people aren’t your friends anyway.  So why try to fight for something or someone that wouldn’t do the same for you? Keep these types of ‘friends’ in mind when you are deciding whether or not to cut someone out of your life: 

1. If your ‘friend’ is a story topper. 

There’s one in every group. You could have surfed a 100-foot wave and done backflips on the board and this ‘friend’ road a 250-foot wave AND won a contest for it. Guess what? These people are usually liars. Think about it. Everything you’ve ever done, they’ve done the same thing? Did they live your life too? Were they there? Chances are, the answer is no. 

These people just want to be the center of attention and want all the praise for themselves, and no one likes or needs these kinds of people. Sometimes, you did do something great and deserve all the attention and praise. Don’t ever feel guilty about that. There’s a huge difference between a friend that appreciates what you did, and maybe tells a story that relates to yours, and a ‘friend’ who is just trying to one-up you. Trust me, you’ll know.

2. If your ‘friend’ is overdramatic and loves to start trouble.

I’ll be the first to admit that I can get a bit dramatic sometimes (okay, a lot). But I know how to hold my tongue (okay, sometimes) and I usually know how to pick my battles. This ‘friend’ does not. Someone looks at their significant other? That person needs to get hit. They don’t like someone? This is solely the only things that come out of their mouth for months, regardless if the person deserves it or not. Now, we’ve all done this. We’ve all talked badly about someone we didn’t like or someone that did us wrong. But if the person didn’t do anything wrong…what’s the point? Sometimes people piss us off, but this ‘friend’ will never let it go, and expects you to hate the person just because they do. Guess what? You can like whoever you want. 

3. If your ‘friend’ does more bad than good for your friendship, or your life.

Friendships shouldn’t stress you out or make you angry. Your friends are the people you’re supposed to be able to go to when you are stressed or angry. But if a ‘friend’ only provides these two feelings, there is an obvious problem there. If you only have bad experiences with a ‘friend’ then there is really no reason to keep that person around, for your own sake. They may be leading you down a destructive path, which is an obvious reason to cut them off. They may just not be providing you the love or respect you deserve. After awhile, enough is enough. 

Rachel Fox, a senior English major, said, “People should be cut out of your life when they do more negatives to your life then positives. If people don’t love you for who you are and don’t give you the respect that you deserve, then they don’t deserve to be in your life.” 

4. If your ‘friend’ only uses you for their benefit.

Does your ‘friend’ only text you when there’s a party going on, or a bar they want to go to? Does your ‘friend’ make sure you have money, or food, or a ride home at night? This person may be taking advantage of you, and no one deserves this. These kinds of people feed off of everyone else, yet bring nothing to the table, which isn’t fair in any sort of relationship. 

Keri Mullin, a senior accounting student, said, “I think you should cut others out of your life when they keep you from reaching your full potential. Any relationship should be equally balanced between give and take and it takes a toll on the person if they are doing all the giving and not receiving the same appreciation in return.”

Mullin added, “It can be exhausting trying to keep anyone in your life when they make it obvious that they don’t care about you or what you do for them. No one deserves to be treated any less than they are putting forth.”

5. If your ‘friend’ always wants you to be there for them, but are never there for you.

As a good friend, you should always be there for your friends when they are upset, worried, or confused about something. Everyone needs someone to listen to them, no matter how big or small the problem is. Even if there is no advice or reassurance given out, sometimes it’s just nice to have someone to talk to. These ‘friends’ don’t do any of this, but expect you to always be there for them. If you have a problem, it needs to wait, because their problem is obviously much more important. 

But when you finally get a word in edgewise, you can count on the fact that this ‘friend’ will not be sharing any heartfelt advice. In fact, they’ll probably be sitting on their phones or ignoring you in some other way, because their problems were already solved and yours don’t matter. But they do. Never let people make you feel like what is wrong doesn’t matter; we all have the right to have problems and we all need advice sometimes.

Casey Allocco, a senior communication student, said, “There comes a point in your life when your friends should be quality over quantity. Pick the friends who you know are in it for the long haul, everyone else isn’t as important.”

Sometimes, friendships don’t work out. People may realize that they don’t get along, they may realize they have too many differences, or they may just grow apart. Some friendships hurt to lose, but there are times in life where it is better to give up a friendship, especially a toxic one. Everyone deserves friends who love and care about them, who are there to listen to their problems and make them laugh while they’re down. No one deserves to be treated unfairly, or be ignored or disrespected, especially in a friendship. There are hundreds of ways someone could be a bad friend. But if you have any kinds of ‘friends’ that match the criteria above, it may be time to look closer at the friendship and realize that you are probably better off without this person anyway.