Caroline Rules: Toxic Friends
How Do You Ditch a Toxic Friend?
Caroline Manzo puts the real in The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and her fans relate to the reality star's no-nonsense attitude, focus on family and, above all, abundant common sense. Check back at Glo every Monday as Caroline helps solve your most pressing dilemmas.
The Dilemma: Ending a friendship is a topic we've touched on here at Glo, but the actual dissolution of said relationship is not just tricky, it can also be downright stressful. Sometimes the person you think is your best friend forever can morph into someone you can't stand in only a matter of years. Or perhaps you recently made a new friend who turned out to be nothing but bad news. While most of us know how to end a romantic relationship, navigating the end of a friendship seems much more difficult.
Caroline's Ruling: I'm sometimes amazed at what we “allow” ourselves to endure. First, you need to define the friendship/relationship. Is it a true friendship or just an acquaintance? True friendships are very rare; there is love, understanding and forgiveness that can withstand the test of time.
A friend is the one you tell your secrets and fears to, the one you can trust to be there for you at your lowest moments without judgment and is there to celebrate the highest of highs with you and for you. An acquaintance is someone who comes into your life but isn't your “go to” person, the one you tell your secrets and fears to. You may go out socially now and then or work alongside them daily, but they are not the ones you call when you need real friendship.
If you find yourself in a position to have to end a relationship with a friend, a true friend, then you have to do one very important thing first: talk to them. Make him/her understand what you're feeling, define the situation clearly and honestly. You owe it both to yourself and your friend. If there is no resolution or understanding, at least you can say you tried your best and were honest and straightforward about your feelings. Your friend heard it from you and no one else.
If, at the end of the conversation, you have no resolution, then at least you can tell them directly that the friendship is over. Never let it be heard through gossip; you both deserve more than that.
An acquaintance is a different story. If you find that your new friend isn't all that they represent themselves to be, just take a casual step back. I firmly believe that when you first meet someone, you are usually talking to his or her “representative.” People are on their best behavior when they first meet. It takes a little time for the real personalities to surface. No big deal, live and learn. I don't believe there's a need for a heart-to-heart unless there is a situation that really bothers you. If it's just some behavioral or personality quirks that turn you off, then step away, don't be so accessible. No need to bring unnecessary drama into your life!
In my life, I have a handful of people whom I call friend. I treasure their friendships and am so grateful for their presence in my life. I have tons of acquaintances; they come and they go. Sometimes for specific reasons, and sometimes for no other reason than life gets in the way of spending time together. I don't dwell on it. Life's too short. Live it with honesty to yourself and those around you. Trust me, you'll sleep much better at night!
From marriage dilemmas to family issues, Caroline's got the answers!Photo by Michael T. Greco