There are good friends, and then there are toxic friends. If we're honest, we've only got about two, or three or four really, really good, ride-or-die friends.
These are our go-to buddies, they know us, they like us, they support us and they love us on our good days and our bad days. Sickness and health, thick and thin — these few good friends are there by our side.
We should be thankful for them and love them back forever.
Then there are some friends who are toxic — dangerous and deadly. Well, maybe not deadly, but you get the point. Some of these toxic people we keep as our friends, and we ourselves know deep down in our hearts that they're only slowing us down and passing off negative energy in our space.
Your friends should be a reflection of who you are, and what you believe. You go together because you row together.
It's not a sin to cut off friendships that you feel are hindering you from realizing your dreams in life. The problem here is that sometimes we don't cut off people we know we should because that negative energy has a strange hold on us. We succumb to it gradually, by keeping them around.
For you to open your life to all the possibilities and opportunities that exist for you, toxic, negative people have to be removed.
Florence Isaacs, author of the book, "Toxic Friends/True Friends," writes, "A friendship is between two peers. There has to be balance in a friendship for it to be healthy -- not one person whose needs get met, and another whose needs are overlooked."
She goes on to write, "Toxic friends stress you out, use you, are unreliable, are overly demanding, and don't give anything back."
Studies have found that individuals with great friend groups tend to live longer. A reason for that could be that they have something to live for in their friendships. A bad friend can have the opposite effect.
It takes time to develop friendships, and if we're willing to put the time in, we want to know that we are putting it to good use. Marriage may be forever, but friendships, especially with the wrong people, don't have to be.
Some toxic people are blatantly unaware of their negative impact, while others tend to gain a kind of satisfaction from being the source of confusion and chaos. Some of the most dangerous people come disguised as your best friends -- be discerning. You need no one's permission to walk away from them.
Toxic friends have an uncanny ability to make you feel trapped in the friendship. This could be because they don't have anyone else in their life and they try to keep you around by controlling you. These friends will be jealous, they will discredit you and they may even bully you, not because it's their nature, but because they want you to stay.
It is at that point that you know it's time to leave the friendship.
What if your only friends are toxic? Let them go, and intentionally choose to connect with people who have a positive outlook on life. You want to be friends with people who are going somewhere in life, and who give uplifting energy to the people around them.
Remember, you don't need hundreds of friends. You need one or two or three crazy, good friends. Don't be afraid to set yourself apart to focus on your dreams. Sometimes, it's the price you can afford to pay that makes all the difference.
Originally published on the author's blog.