Social commentary and think pieces

10 August 2018

What a toxic friendship taught me about being a good friend

I feel like people talk a lot on social media about toxic relationships. And in so many different forms and perspectives. It could be an angry tweet about your ex, a whole blog post about how your ex best friend is a bitch, or in this case 'what a toxic friendship taught me about being a good friend'. 

I think lots of the things put online about toxic friendships and relationships come from quite an angry, upset point of view. And that is completely fine because hey, if you've been put down constantly by someone you see as a friend or partner then you have every right to be pissed off. But looking at topics like toxic relationships through social media never gives you much idea of an outcome for whoever has dealt with it apart from those who's confidence has been hugely knocked. 
And believe it or not, being victim to a toxic friendship doesn't always come out too badly in the long run. I'm all aware of the fact that I sound just a bit crazy saying this, but please, hear me out...

My experience of a toxic friendship started in Primary school and lasted eight years. My primary school class was full of very confident, louder characters. My 'best friend' was someone who was largely looked up to, but was constantly manipulative, intimidating and would without a doubt be bitching about you behind you back when you weren't there, and it all came out of her own sadness. Deep down I think most of the girls in the class knew this, but god forbid anyone got on the wrong side of her. 
Towards the last few years of primary school I was the only friend she had left, everyone else decided they didn't want to put up with her anymore. The question everyone reading this will probably be asking themselves right now is why didn't I leave? And to be honest I've asked myself that too. But those American, high school, 'mean girls' style movies are no exaggeration when you see the different social groups they have. You've got the jocks, the popular girls, emo's, nerds...
Primary school is only a little different in the sense that there's even less choice. You've got two sides, popular and unpopular. And to make life easier for myself I chose to be friends with this girl because she was popular and I'd probably have more problems at that time if I chose to sit in a circle and read Harry Potter with those who were deemed 'unpopular'. This is why I was trapped in a manipulative friendship. Because I was too worried about what I'd look like to other people. 

The situation escalated from petty comments to full-on manipulation and I've only recently come to realise just quite how unhappy I was. My 'tween' stage from about 8-11 was horrible and I'd have the biggest meltdowns, a large part of this was because I'd spent so much of my life from the age of four to the age of twelve in a very toxic friendship. The situation carried on until the the beginning of my second year at secondary school and only when I went and spoke to a girl I knew from primary school about everything did I ~finally~ make some new friends and escape the toxic friendship I'd previously been in. 
Making the first move in developing a new friendship was definitely nerve wracking, especially as I'd never really had a long-term 'friendship' outside of my toxic one. But it was so simple and I quickly hit it off with the girls who I am best friends with now. Thinking about it, I'm actually very lucky to have found the right people on my first try at making friends.

So, going back to my point that not every toxic friendship ends badly, I actually made some of my best friends once I'd cut the toxic friendship out of my life. I made a so many genuine friendships out of the situation, which I am incredibly proud of.

If I've learnt anything at all from being in a toxic friendship for such a long time it's that being a good friend is the best thing you can be and that I will never let anyone intimidate me in that way again.
And although I would have preferred not to have been caught up in that kind of a friendship, everything has a bright side and mine is that (corny as it sounds) I'm stronger now and more able to spot a toxic friendship before it becomes dangerous. And honestly, I think that because I had a bit of a crappy time when I was younger I've dealt with lots of situations that have happened prior to that with a much better perspective.

Back then I probably wouldn’t have been able to identify what a good friend and a bad friend really were, without stating the obvious. Now I know that a friend is someone who cares about your feelings and wellbeing, is honest with you and if you’ve upset them will actually talk things through with you, will apologise when they’ve done wrong, and wouldn’t talk trash about you even if you’d had a falling out. This is everything I didn’t have as a young child, so I really appreciate my close-knit girl group and all their qualities as I lacked them so much when I was younger. 

I also think that from my experiences in the past I am quick to notice when I’ve said or done something mean to someone unintentionally, purely because I am so scared to be like the girl I was ‘friends’ with and I would never want to treat someone anything like the way she treated people. Because a friend is not someone who will manipulate you, make mean comments, and publicly embarrass you for their own entertainment. That’s just a bully. 



  1. Love this post... we can definitely all relate and have learnt a thing or two. I sure have.

  2. I've learnt so much from toxic friendships, they are horrible at the time but you come out the other side and there are some good lessons to be learnt!
    P x

    1. Definitely! They always give you a better perspective for other situations x

  3. I love this post! I think it's so important to learn from situations like this and use it to become a better person / friend.
    Gorgeous post!

    Thea x

  4. I completely understand you because I was also in the same situation. But now when I look back I'm thankful for that because it helps me to become stronger person. Thank you for sharing your experience! Wish you a beautiful weekend!

    1. Me too... sort of! It's definitely something to learn from x

  5. such a heartfelt post
    thank you for sharing
    some great points raised

  6. I have definitely had my share of toxic friendships! You are so right though, they can be beneficial in the end because they teach you so much. x

    Kate Louise Blogs

  7. Nice striped outfit!!
    Looks good on you babe. . .

  8. This is a great post, it really spoke to me


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