We’ve probably crossed paths with a few toxic people in our lives at some points, but to have a toxic best friend?

The word “BFF” brings me back to my good ol’ days of weaving colourful friendship bracelets and splurging my allowance at the jewellery store to buy matching necklaces to announce to the world: WE’RE BFFS 4LYFE!!!

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When you’re seven years old and having the time of your life with your best friend, you’d never think that a day would come where leaving the BFF-hood would be for your greater good.

The last argument when we were 17 marked the end of that era. What a shame, you might say? Nah. We each had traits that checked off every criterion to a toxic friendship. Clingy? Check. Lack of effort? Check. Raging jealousy? Hell, yeah!

Signs Of A Toxic Friendship

Always Me vs Her

When we first became friends, we also became rivals right off the bat. It’s easy to brush off our petty rivalry as “healthy competition”. Like, getting the best grades or being the most involved in extracurricular activities—but we didn’t stop there. Oh no, things got way worse between us tweens.

Each time we got a shiny, new gift from our parents—be it a new phone or a Barbie doll—we’d start looking like green-eyed monsters. Needless to say, it wasn’t the greatest look on either of us. Up until our teen years, we constantly felt the need to prove that we were better than the other. 

Never Being Able To Celebrate Wins In Life

Can’t even share good news without risk of getting put down, SMH.

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This meant that we could never be genuinely happy for each other no matter how big of an achievement. And when it came to realising dreams, we were each other’s harshest critics and biggest sceptics.

Here’s another sign that our friendship was toxic. It was hard to think of my then-toxic best friend as my support system.

She would constantly put down my lifelong dream of being a writer by being incredibly unresponsive whenever I let her read my work. I imagine it was the same for her when she showed me her drawings and was met with lukewarm reactions. 

The Lack Of Effort

I was always the one in the friendship who texted first; the one who extended the invitation to a weekend of shopping. For her birthday, I spent excruciating hours making a mixtape with a hand-painted CD sleeve and card. But in return, I received one-word text messages from my toxic best friend.

Looking back on it now, I would’ve been better off talking to my dogs. 

Coming Up With Excuses To Stay Friends

I don’t know why or how we stayed friends for so long. Somehow we just couldn’t “break up”.

We’d say, “Oh, it’s a shame to watch a five-year friendship go down the drain just like that” or “But she can be cool too…”, because maybe (just maaaybe) we could still make it work.

We need to stop coming up with excuses to remain in a toxic friendship…

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Breaking Up For My Own Sake

After 10 long years, I decided to call it quits. It definitely wasn’t a decision that I came to overnight because God knows we tried to end our toxic friendship many, many times before. But I woke up one day feeling more certain than I ever had before.

This was going to be the end of it, and for my sake, I was going to make sure of it. While it was difficult for me to imagine moving forward with my toxic best friend, I was certain that I didn’t want to feel the following feelings:

  • Disappointed in my BFF’s lack of responses and lukewarm reactions on almost daily basis;
  • Like I’d always be second to her, whose only purpose was to support the leading lady;
  • Like a fool by calling her my best friend when it was apparent that the friendship was one-sided.

And I did it over text.

But before anybody comes at me with pitchforks, know that the state of our friendship at that moment wasn’t worth meeting up over coffee in person to relay the news. I think we were both anticipating it and were just waiting to see who would cave first (🙋‍).

In the 10 years of our friendship, I spent more time trying to fix it than actually enjoying it. It was heartbreaking to accept that some relationships just can’t be salvaged, and if it comes at the cost of hurting yourself, then that’s not worth it either.

After shaking off an entire decade worth of weight off my shoulders, I immediately felt the urge to scream out in celebration of my freedom à la Dobby the house-elf from Harry Potter.