I am the Toxic Friend — How to Move On When You’re the Bad Guy
Scrolling through my pictures on facebook a few months ago, I started to notice a pattern. A huge blast of photos with an ex-friend of mine, and then a lull, and then another blast of photos. This pattern carried on throughout my entire history of photos until all that was left at the top were scattered photos of myself alone or with my family. My downfalls as a friend were illustrated clear as day in front of me in the form of a facebook timeline.
By the time I graduated high school, I had already lost three best friends. When I left my freshman year of college, I lost another, and by the time I graduated from college, I lost the closest best friend I might have ever had. But here’s the thing — I didn’t lose any of them. I systematically sabotaged each relationship and pushed them out of my life, and I am in no position to contact even a single one of them for reconciliation.
I don’t seek out sympathy, or even advice — my own choices in life have led me into a position where I have almost no close friends. But why did I end up in this place of isolation? And what am I supposed to do to move on from this?
The truth is, I don’t have any special answers. I’m not filled with advice for others going through things like this. The answers that I have tried to come up with to “get over” losing a friend have all come up fruitless, and it is because I was looking in the wrong place.
I placed blame anywhere it would fit — but like a misshapen puzzle piece, I forced and pulled each cardboard reason-they-were-wrong into the grand scheme of my life and none seemed to fit. It wasn’t until last fall that I began to come onto something that might actually help me move on.
While working my first job out of college, I picked up a second job as a part-time barista to make some extra money. One of my co-workers at the time was going through AA, and he was in one of the stages that required him to write out every conflict he had ever had and rationalize why that conflict fell on him entirely for blame. At first, I didn’t grasp what the rational was here — conflicts in my life varied for so many rhymes and reasons — but after sitting on it for a few hours, I started to realize that the reason I’ve lost all of my closest friends is because…