Toxic Female Friendships
Ok, so you've been friends with another female for a few years. You've tried hard to ignore her backhanded compliments, because you didn't understand why she would say them and maybe you're hearing her wrong.
You've tried hard to ignore the spiteful things she says about you to you and behind your back. (You want to believe that the gossip mill is wrong.)
For some strange reason, you can't shake the fact you just know she kind of wants you to fail, that she's happy your relationship is rocky, that you've lost your job, or whatever. She constantly is bragging about her successes and you are honestly happy for her. But...
When you attempt something great, like getting a book deal, suddenly she must get one too.
When you start a blog, she'll tell everyone how much she hates blogs and that bloggins is stupid.
When you have a baby and start writing about it, she starts telling everyone why she doesn't want a baby and how life sucks once you have a baby.
On and on the list goes. You're pretty sure whatever you do, she'll either race out and try to catch up, or she'll critcize you for doing it.
Yes, it's the Toxic Friend (otherwise known as The Frenemy, thanks to Sex and The City.) We all have them, or had them.
I attended a book launch party last night for my very good friend Lousia McCormack, whose recently released debut novel is about dumping a best girlfriend. It's called Six Weeks To Toxic.
There are number of reasons you should by Six Weeks To Toxic, at your bookstore, off Amazon.ca., or even Chapters.Indigo.ca
1) The books is amazing. I couldn't put it down. I stayed up until 3 a.m. to finish it. The last book I did this with, for a Canadian author, was two years ago, with The Bird Factory, by David Layton.
2) She's my friend. Which means she is also your friend. She is definitely NOT a toxic girlfriend. She once took me to the hospital, when I was all alone in the city and having a medical emergency when I was pregnant, even though her favorite show, America's Next Top Model, was on that night.
3) The book is sexy and raunchy (in a good way.) The cover is brillant and cool.
4) She's donating part of the sales of Six Weeks To Toxic to a charity for literacy. Come on! How many authors do you know who do that?
5) She's Canadian. And we should all support Canadian authors, because it is hard work to write a book and get it published. And most Canadian authors, save for Margaret Atwood, would get paid more money if they worked part-time at McDonald's for a year.
But it is also about a friendship between two women which goes south over six weeks. All women can relate to that.
McCormack is right. Most females know how to dump a guy. Females do not know how to dump females. And it's hard to pinpoint that exact moment when female friendship turns from rocky to non-existent.
It took me a lot longer than six weeks to ditch my Former Toxic Friend. I'm sure she will tell you, and whoever else will listen or care (not many) that she ditched me.
Like most male/female breakups, everyone wants to be the dumper, not the dumpee. (Unless you're like me. I liked being the dumpee.)
Though I have had bad breakups with men, I can't really name one who would ruin my night if I ran into him again. Breaking up with a female is different. You DON'T want to see them ever again. I would leave any place that my Former Toxic Friend was at, if it wasn't imperative that I be there.
You don't want to attempt small talk with a Former Toxic Friend when you run into them at a party, bar, or book launch. Because you are soooo past even wanting to try. And, after breaking up with a Former Toxic Friend, you feel better about life, and you don't want to ruin that feeling that took weeks to get to.
A good friend is one that you should be able to blackmail, but you would never. Female friends always do know more than your male partner, because that's what females do. They share their most intimate secrets, most of which you are completely embarassed about.
How could I break up with Former Toxic Friend? She knows too much about me! But you realize that you know way too much about them.
That's once difference between female-male breakups and female-female breakups. When you break up with a man, you know they'd never pass on your secrets, because they probably weren't listening to them in the first place.
But human decency should keep your trap shut about Former Toxic Friends.
And, also, I kind of even forget I was once close with this Former Toxic Friend, let alone remember her secrets. That's what happens with all breakups. Time heals all wounds, it is true.
The Fiance, for years, has been saying to me about my Former Toxic Friend, "She's just not a nice person," and The Fiance NEVER says a mean word about anyone, so I should have listened. I kept telling him, "NO, she's ok. She is!" He would just shake is head and say, "How come you can't see it?"
I finally did see it, about three years later. But, you know, like a breakup with a boyfriend because it's just not working out, ditching a female friend is a lot like that. You know it's just not working out, but what do you say? Can you really call a girlfriend and say, "Listen, I just think you are not nice, haven't been good to me, and I don't want to be friends with you anymore."
You can say that to a guy, but a girl? No, you just have to stop returning calls, stop calling her, and, eventually, you just aren't talking anymore. You aren't going to get that much sought-after "closure" dumping a Toxic Friend. Oh well.
Sure, I remember the good times and there were times she was a good friend, but I've moved on. And, so, hopefully has she. What it was, really, was just a relationship (friendship) that was just not working out.
The tricky part is when you travel in some of the same social circles as your Former Toxic Friend. Because you are over the age of 25, you don't expect people to "pick sides."
I never even bother telling mutual friends we're not friends anymore. I just change the subject, if her name comes up, and fast. One of our mutual friends, who maybe kind of knew about our break up, said, "Well, that's just her. Doesn't she just say mean things to everybody?"
Also, there was another one of our mutual girlfriends who knew I wasn't talkint to my Fomer Toxic friend, and called to bitch about her. I honestly said, "I don't want to talk about it. It makes me really uncomfortable."
While I may not like my Former Toxic Friend, bitching about her doesn't make me feel any better. It just a procrastination tool, and I had work to do!
I much rather forget about her altogether, than talk about her.
In any case, much like breaking up with a guy, you do forget about the breakup. You realize you haven't thought of you Former Toxic Friend in weeks. It's liberating.
And, it's kind of a good thing to break up with a toxic girlfriend. It makes you reevaluate other friendships, and realize who your true friends are, and you stop wasting time on those who, for whatever reason, make you feel bad.
Buy Six Weeks To Toxic. You'll laugh, you'll cry, it's better than Cats.