Someone once said that if there is anything more painful than a breakup ,it’s a friendship breakup and I agree without a shadow of doubt. What I think, however, is worse than losing a friend ,is keeping a friend who is not adding any value to your or contributing in anyway to your personal growth.

I lost a friend of 5 years recently and no, he is not dead or anything ,we just decided that the friendship was really not benefitting neither of us and decided to call it quits. Painful as it was when it actually happened, now that I look back at it ,I am very happy that it happened. Important as friendships are ,nothing is as damaging as a toxic friendship ,just like it’s the case with any other form of relationship.

Friendships require a lot of energy and time to be invested in them so as to make them work and what I think is the problem with our generation is that we tend to confuse longevity of friendships with quality of the friendships so we end up in situations where we invest time and energy into unworthy friendships. Simply put, we assume the view that the longer you have been friends with someone, the more value the friendship has, which cannot be any less untrue. We do not look at the value that the friendship is adding to your life and if it contributing in anyway to your growth as a person.

Friends are supposed to be a significant factor in the betterment of your life ,whether its through  offering you a shoulder to cry on, putting you in your place when you seem to be losing your way or brightening your days when things are gloomy. You can get more of those from someone you have been friends with for a year than from someone whom you have been friends with since childhood. There is no direct correlation between longevity and quality of friendships and I think assuming otherwise is the mistake most of us make.

Toxic friendships are not only a waste of time and energy, they also significantly deter your growth as a person. Friends who do not contribute at all to you being a better person should be cut off without any hesitation, no matter how long you guys have been friends. Why should you sacrifice your development as a person just so you can have someone you call a friend .If the person you call a friend clearly does not have your best interests at heart, why are you keeping them around? Why are you wasting your time and energy on a relationship that is clearly symbiotic? Why are you putting the idea of a friendship before yourself?

Most people decide to keep toxic relationships for one, if not both of the following reasons:1. They feel like the friendship has been going on for too long to just let it go like that, 2.they are fearful of loneliness, of not having anyone to call a friend. I offer the following rebuttals to the above mentioned reasons;Like I mentioned at the beginning, longevity of a friendships is not directly proportional to quality of a friendship. You cannot sacrifice your personal development because you are scared of letting go of years of that friendship. You have already wasted enough time and energy over those years keeping that toxic friendship going ,do not waste anymore. LET IT GO. To the second reason ,no one has ever died from loneliness, but people do die from stress which is what a toxic relationship will give you. Lack of personal development as a result of a toxic friendship should be your biggest fear, not loneliness.

In the past couple of months, after deciding to go through this path of improving not only my mental health but me as a person ,I have had to cut off a lot “friends” out of my life because I figured, what would be the point of me taking this journey of personal improvement if I am still going to keep around people who are going to either deter this growth or not contribute anything to it ?I am not in anyway saying that they are bad people and I am the blueprint of a good friend. What I am saying, however ,is that I have decided to put me first. I have decided to only keep around me people who are going to contribute positively towards my life and hopefully I do the same in their lives too. Gone are the days of putting people and the idea of a friendship before me. Obviously I am not going to stop talking to those people I once considered friends ,I still and will always love them because they contributed significantly to a chapter in my life but unfortunately that chapter has been closed up. I will forever love and appreciate them ,but from afar.

I understand that letting go of people who were once an active and big part of your life is a scary undertaking, but what is even scarier is the thought of all the negative effects that those people can have on your life and your growth as a person. Only keep around people who are going to contribute to your personal development whether its through offering life advice, motivating you, pointing out what you are doing wrong etc. Those are the only kind of people you need in your life ,the rest is just deadwood ,a waste of your time and energy. Even if someone also considers you a toxic friend ,there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If your presence in their lives is holding them back or is of no significant value ,allowing them to let you go is the best thing you can do for them. At the end of the day, you cannot be the perfect person to everyone and that does not make you a bad person.

You have but one life and it is your responsibility to ensure that you live this life to the fullest, no one else is. If part of fulfilling that responsibility entails cutting off people who seem to deter you from living that life ,please ,get rid of them as soon as yesterday. Make a list of all your friends and really go through what contributions every single one of them are making to your life and make the necessary additions and removals. Do not exert your energy holding onto something that is clearly not there. You have limited time on this earth, do not waste any of it on unworthy causes and people.