Ways To Distance Yourself From Unhealthy Friends Without ‘Burning Bridges’

Some say it's possible.
by Mylene Mendoza   |  Jul 4, 2020
Image: unsplash.com/@heftiba
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It’s not rare to encounter friendships that end up becoming toxic. You may have initially spent a lot of ups and downs together and practically go way back. But as time goes by, you start to notice that your bond is becoming unhealthy. It’s starting to take a toll on your own well-being. 

For most, the best course of action is to simply cut ties and let go of toxic friends. It restores a sense of inner peace knowing that you no longer associate yourself with that person. For others, however, it is easier said than done. Some find it hard to completely say goodbye to the person they once considered precious to them, even though it’s for their own good. Others just have no choice (because their parents are close friends or because they’re blockmates who constantly have to interact). But can there really be a middle ground? Can you maintain your friendship while distancing yourself from their ‘toxicity’? Some would argue that it’s possible. 

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Avoid getting personal with that friend.

You might still hang out and exchange opinions on the latest Netflix show you’ve watched, but it’s alright to just leave it at that. According to Psychology Today, you can still talk about impersonal things with that friend and even spend some time together. But you don’t have to share anything personal to them anymore, especially if you think they’d just use it against you. It’s okay not to open up to them if you feel uncomfortable doing so. Set up a boundary about what you want and don’t want them to know about you.

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Limit your exposure to that friend.

You don’t have to unfriend them on Facebook if you don’t want to, but maybe you can stop following their posts and turn off notifs from that person to distance yourself from potentially unhealthy activities they might do online. Being selective with what you consume online helps put you in a better emotional state, and that involves limiting your contact with unhealthy relationships. Similarly, you don’t have to feel obligated to let them in on your personal ganap. If you feel like you don’t want them seeing your posts online, then that’s fine, too. 

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Know when something isn’t worth your energy.

It’s easy to get caught up in our emotions when we have to deal with someone’s unhealthy behavior. But before you allow yourself to drown in their toxicity, ask yourself first if it’s worth your time and energy. Is this something you have to urgently address or can you let it pass by without any significant repercussions? Will allowing yourself to spend your precious resources on confronting them ultimately solve the situation? If it doesn't, maybe you'd be better off emotionally distancing yourself from them.

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Mylene Mendoza
Candy Staff Writer
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