How To Use Graduation To Cut The Toxic People Out Of Your Life & Have A Fresh Start
Graduating from college is one of the most bittersweet things that can happen to someone in their twenties. After four (or more) years of discovering who you are, exploring career paths, and fostering some pretty great friendships, it's easy to see why taking a step into the real world can be equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. But closing this chapter of your life is also a great time to take a closer look at your relationships. Cutting the toxic people out of your life might not be something that you make a conscious decision to do as college comes to an end, but graduating definitely presents the perfect opportunity.
College is a time when most people are figuring out what they want out of life and who they want to surround themselves with in the long run. Sometimes, this process can definitely take a little bit of trial and error. The friend you made during Welcome Week who you continued to party with but who also ended up backstabbing you might not be someone who you want to continue seeing after graduation. The same goes for the hookup buddy who you've always wanted something real with but who made it clear they just wanted something casual. That doesn't mean that these are "bad" people, but graduation is a good time to get closer to your ride-or-dies, and let go of the relationships that have reached their expiration.
1. Reflect on the people you spend the most time with.
It's probably safe to say that we've all had a friend at one point or another who we liked, but also didn't feel all that close to. Sometimes these friendships can surprise us and blossom into really amazing life-long relationships, and other times, it becomes clear that the friendship wasn't meant to be.
College is college, and there's nothing wrong with continuing to hang out with someone who you just have fun with. However, many people notice a pretty significant shift in their priorities post-grad, and if you can't grab a coffee with someone and talk about the not-so-fun parts of your life, then maybe it's time to move on.
2. Be honest with yourself about the friendships that are no longer serving their purpose.
This might sound harsh, but IMHO, relationships are really just connections we make out of the human necessity to feel like we belong. And thus, every relationship (platonic or otherwise) we have is because it serves a specific purpose. The purpose of some friendships may just be to have fun and go out, while others may serve a more emotional and supportive purpose! Both relationships are necessary, but pretty much any type of relationship can take a turn for the worst and become unhealthy. That doesn't mean you should immediately call it quits after the first fight you have with someone (disagreements are normal), but the longer you remain friends with a toxic person, the harder it becomes to walk away.
So if there's someone in your life who consistently keeps bringing out the worst in you, they could be considered toxic to your wellbeing. And once you realize who they are, using the end of school as a natural, slow fade might not be the worst idea.
3. Accept the fact that people (including you) change.
At this point, the potentially toxic people in your life have probably come to mind. Maybe they didn't start out this way, but maybe they did, and you're the one who's changed. That's OK. It's important to accept that college can change people, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worst. Both are normal, and if you stop talking, it doesn't necessarily mean there are hard feelings. Sometimes people just grow apart.
The good news is, there are tons of awesome people out there who you will meet and befriend over the next few years, so don't fret. Look at it this way: If you're bogged down with the same old drama, then you might not have room for these healthier and more mature relationships.
4. Realize that it's OK to let relationships fade away.
The easiest thing about moving on from certain friendships after graduation is that you honestly won't have time to dwell on it. Once you're out there in the world, grinding to pay your rent and build your career, your social life is probably going to become less active. This means that even finding time to hang out regularly with your besties isn't going to be easy, so there's a pretty good chance that by not actively making time for the toxic people, they may just drift away.
Of course, it's always best to be honest and upfront with someone about why you're drifting away — but sometimes, (just like with a regular booty call) after a certain amount of time has passed without speaking, you might just not have much to say.
If you were at one time very close with someone, then it might be cathartic to have an honest conversation about why you think it's best if you part ways, but at the end of the day if you don't feel like you need to explain yourself, you don't have to. They'll probably feel the same way, too.
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