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Have you ever reunited with a toxic friend and found they changed?

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MichelleCarmen

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I know many of us decide to dump a toxic friend and recently I quit talking to a friend I''ve had for 22 years! That is a LONG time and it''s weird to not be calling her. We talked at least 2 X per week and during our last conversation, I told her I had had it. I couldn''t listen to her repeating the same problems over and over and never listening to my advice (yet asking for it continously).

I realize every time she called me, she had so many problems (or would create drama), that I felt gulity and burdened as if it was my job to solve them.

Reading Musey''s post about "forgiveness," makes me wonder for those of you who dumped a toxic friend, did at any point in the future, you reunite with that person and discover they had changed and now you two are friends again? How long did you wait?
 

fieryred33143

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Well we weren''t friends for 22 years but we were friends for 8 years. She and I just ended it after her wedding. She felt I did a bunch of things wrong, I felt she did a bunch of things wrong, and then we just ended it.

We had a blow out around January where because we said we ended it we felt that we could just be completely honest with how we felt about each other. I told her things I had never had the nerve to tell her before because she was always so sensitive. She told me some things too that I''ve heard from her before but she went into more detail about why it bothers her.

Since then, we''ve slowly been repairing communication. It isn''t like it was before where I would literally have 50 emails from her in my inbox in one day talking about complete randomness but the tone of the emails have changed. She was always an all about her person and now she''s actually making an effort to ask me how I''m doing and really paying attention to my answers. She remebers things that I tell her and brings it up later to ask about it. And I in turn am realizing that she is who she is so I set my expectations lower. We aren''t best friends anymore and she has stopped using me as her go-to person for everything but we are civil towards one another.
 

Bia

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Nope. I once, JUST ONCE, reunited with a friend, and it turned out she was exactly the same...just older and even more unhappy.

Someone said it it Musey''s current thread: People never really change that much...or something like that. For the most part, this is true (yes, there are exceptions).
 

musey

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Date: 3/24/2009 12:04:40 PM
Author:MC
Reading Musey''s post about ''forgiveness,'' makes me wonder for those of you who dumped a toxic friend, did at any point in the future, you reunite with that person and discover they had changed and now you two are friends again? How long did you wait?
Yep, I ''reunited'' with one after about two years. She seemed to have changed a lot, but I didn''t feel the need to pursue the friendship. We''d grown apart in that time.
 

tlh

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No. But I am am very closed off. I don''t get back together with exes, ex-friends, ex-lovers - nothing. I''ve had many toxic friends try, but I find when they come back looking for forgiveness - it is again, just them being selfish... once again, they get to unburden their GUILT on me... thus turning me into the bad guy if I refuse their apology.

However - just because I say. "Thank you for taking the time to say that, I am sure it was difficult." Does not mean I''ve forgotten... bruises on the heart just don''t heal. I don''t hold on to anger because that is unhealthy - so I do genuinely forgive the person... and then - walk on by.

Now you were friends for 22 years. Was this friendship ALWAYS toxic? I have some friends that I''ve had for a long time... but these relationships are healthy. Sure sometimes bad things happen, and you prop your friend up, and carry them through the rough patch - but when rough times happen for you, they are the first to offer their hand up, or a crutch.

Friendships evolve. Just like you change. Sometimes you want to hold onto the friend because you''ve known them such a long time... but just because you''ve had more time together, doesn''t mean you grew in the same direction.... so when it is time to let something go - I prefer to open the hand and blow a kiss - than to try desperatly to cling on to sand that has already run through your fingers.
 

CNOS128

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Eh, no. Once I''m done I''m done.
It takes me a long time (and a lot of guilt) to finally dump a toxic friend, and once I''ve made that decision I see no reason to revisit it.


I have one semi-toxic friend currently and I''ve distanced myself from her while not severing all ties. But she''s toxic largely because she''s totally lacking in self-awareness, and I don''t believe she''s capable of changing enough to make a difference.
 

decodelighted

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I''ve never reunited with a TOXIC friend, but I''ve had several long term good friendships that suffered rocky patches for one reason or another. Being able to survive conflict & hurt feelings & even some bad behavior (within reason) can deepen a friendship -- if both parties really want the best for each other & don''t have hidden agendas.

Sometimes I''ve had to adjust expectations & accept people as they are (at that time). Sometimes who people *were* isn''t who they''ll always *be*. People grow & change & sometimes take awful roads that hurt to watch.
 

Po10472

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TOXIC - capable of causing injury or death, especially by chemical means; poisonous

as defined in the dictionary.

The fact that you've said this 'friend' is toxic says it all, she's bad for your health. Its heartbreaking to lose a friend or break up with someone but these things happen, sometimes they just run their course.

I have had a really strange year in that 3 ex friends/lovers have all contacted me. Why? Because of the reasons TLH mentioned.......to ask for forgiveness without actually admitting to me what they did wrong; to make them feel better; because it suits them.......I don't know but I can't go back and won't at this point in my life.

I allowed them to abuse me before and make me feel bad, I'm not going in for another go. Ultimately you have to examine the good and bad points and work out if they are actually worth the effort and heartache. If you have someone in your life that bothers you so much that it kinda takes over and you have a pit of your stomach feeling about them, then its not a good thing.

Sometimes its the wrong time and forgiveness isn't always about the other person, sometimes its about you and you need to forgive yourself that you walked away and gave up that relationship. Its ok........maybe one day when the time is right you will be friends again but just now you can't and again, that's ok.
 

Sabine

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I had a friend that I don''t know if I would call toxic, but she definitely made me doubt myself and our friendship. I reunited with her because of a mutual friend. It made it a lot easier on a whole group of my friend for us to be friends. It''s weird because even though I do consider her a good friend and have noticed many more of her good qualities than I knew before, she does still have the ability to make me feel like I''m being purposely left out or not wanted (although I really don''t think it''s intentional).
 

monarch64

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Never re-united with a toxic friend. I''ve definitely parted with a few and am glad I did. My mother is notorious for keeping toxic friendships alive but doing nothing but bi*ch about them...kind of like her marriage. I have a tendency to put up with a lot in friendships and relationships in general, but there does come a point where I weigh my options and either stop dwelling on the negativity or put an end to the friendship or relationship. I can''t imagine that someone would ever change just because I told them why I didn''t want to continue the friendship.
 

Rhea

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Never a toxic friend, but I''ve grown apart from a few in a very dramatic way. This hasn''t always been the other person''s fault. After a couple of years, I''ve gotten back in touch with two. One just to check in and that was that. On my side at least, all the bad feelings are gone, but we aren''t friends. The other one I am actively pursuing a friendship with. We''ve grown up and all the better for it.
 

Gypsy

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Nope and not likely to. People rarely truly change.
 

Tacori E-ring

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I think it is very rare for people to change.
 

Lauren8211

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I just officially dumped a toxic friend for the last time.

We''ve been friends for 20 years, on and off, and now it''s going to just be OFF.

Every time we try friendship again, it goes down in flames. I''m done. She won''t change. It''s pretty rare that anyone ever does.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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I have a friend from college who I''ve remained in touch with, but not close. She lives in another state and we only see each other once every few years. We do, however, keep in touch over the phone. She was kind of toxic when we went to school together, one of those friends who was only there when she wanted/needed something, and she was really superficial. I''ve often questioned why I stay in touch with her, because the few times I''ve seen her since college, she''s driven me mad. Her attitude also bothers me sometimes when we''re on the phone. She''s married and has a child, and I''m just engaged, and she talks down to me a lot. I had dinner with her a few weeks ago when I was in her city on business. It was like I was talking to a totally different person. She wasn''t as shallow as I remembered; pretty down to earth actually and we had a great time. Not once during the meal did I have the urge to stab her with my fork (yes, I''ve been there). She talked about her husband and child, but not in the condescending manner she does on the phone ("oh well it''s SO different when you''re married", "oh well when you have kids you''ll understand"). I''d like to think she''s grown up and changed a bit, but who knows.
 

Snicklefritz

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I dumped a friend of 8 years back in 2003. Every couple years I will get an itch to send her a letter in effort to patch things up, hoping she might have changed. But then I remember all the bad stuff that we went through and realize that much of what I didn''t like about her was built into the core of who she was. So I haven''t ever followed through on it. Maybe someday...
 

elrohwen

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MC, a few months ago I posted about how a toxic friend emailed me after not talking for about 3 years. I struggled with whether I should respond to her because I felt that it was polite, but I really didn't want to have any more contact with this girl; ultimately, I didn't respond. So, no, I haven't reunited with a toxic friend, because I chose not to. Could it be possible in later years? I dunno ... I am really slow to forgive sometimes. Once I've had enough, I'm done. I can see the value of forgiveness in certain situations, but in the case of a person I will probably never see again, I don't think it's worth thinking about enough to forgive. I don't think about it anymore and I try to keep it that way.

Also, in her email, she didn't ask for forgiveness at all, just acted like we were old friends getting back in touch. She admitted to some rough patches, but failed to admit that they were all caused by her poor treatment of me. I'm all for forgiveness, but I guess I can't forgive someone if they're too clueless to realize what they've done wrong all along. If she had sincerely asked for my forgiveness, I might not have become her friend again, but I would certainly be well on the road to forgiving her.
 

Maisie

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I had a friend from age 10 up to age 21. She was awful. She would talk down to me, pick on me and generally belittle me. I put up with it for years because she had a terrible upbringing and I cared about her.

I stopped speaking to her when I realised she was never going to change. I would run in the opposite direction to avoid her now. I have tried over the years to see if she has changed but so far she hasn''t.
 

kama_s

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I have. But soon I realized the only thing different about her was the ability to mask who she actually is. Needless to say, I was outta there. She messages me every now and then, we talk about mundane things like school, weather and the likes for a bit and that's about it.

You can only soup up the exterior, the interior is the same moldly crap ;-)
 

Mara

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it would be once burned, twice shy for me. what could we have in the future that might possibly re-bond us? i''m more about moving fwd rather than backwards, and i don''t know that i''d want to invest anything into the relationship again given the previous outcome. i had a friend who used to always say that the past is a good indicator of the future. so for me the answer would probably be no.


 

phoenixgirl

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Mr. Darcy said, "My good opinion, once lost, is lost forever," in Pride and Prejudice.

I wouldn''t say I am a very forgiving person. Sure, I can forgive errors; but if I realize that somebody is toxic, as this thread specifies, then I follow more of a "Mistreat me once, shame on you; mistreat me twice, shame on me" philosophy. I think this is a good way of avoiding toxic friendships from the get go.

I did make an effort to reunite with my best friend from college after we both caused our break-up. She has definitely held me at arm''s length, but it''s nice at least to keep in minimal touch and I''m glad I made my peace. I recognize that that one was more irreconcilable differences than toxicity.
 

FrekeChild

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Date: 3/24/2009 12:04:40 PM
Author:MC
Reading Musey''s post about ''forgiveness,'' makes me wonder for those of you who dumped a toxic friend, did at any point in the future, you reunite with that person and discover they had changed and now you two are friends again? How long did you wait?
I did. She hadn''t changed. She actually cut off the friendship originally (kind of, we were both frustrated and POed, so it was kind of mutual) because I was very vocal about her toxic relationship (the things he did made my skin crawl) and then she chose to reunite with me later (a month or two) when she began to pull away from her awful boyfriend. Things were ok for a while, but I cut her off finally after another 6 months.

Meh.
 

CNOS128

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Date: 3/24/2009 7:43:49 PM
Author: FrekeChild
Date: 3/24/2009 12:04:40 PM

Author:MC

Reading Musey''s post about ''forgiveness,'' makes me wonder for those of you who dumped a toxic friend, did at any point in the future, you reunite with that person and discover they had changed and now you two are friends again? How long did you wait?
I did. She hadn''t changed. She actually cut off the friendship originally (kind of, we were both frustrated and POed, so it was kind of mutual) because I was very vocal about her toxic relationship (the things he did made my skin crawl) and then she chose to reunite with me later (a month or two) when she began to pull away from her awful boyfriend. Things were ok for a while, but I cut her off finally after another 6 months.


Meh.

It''s just like on The Hills!


Sorry, Freke - I don''t mean to make light of your experience. Unfortunately it''s a pretty common scenario. But you''re a good friend for trying to protect your friend form her creepy BF.
 

Octavia

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I scarcely have the time and energy to keep up with people I really like, let alone ones I don't. And even if I had the time, I could think of better uses for it. Thankfully, I can only think of one truly toxic "ex-frenemy." I'll probably see her at my college 5-year reunion, but if she thinks I'm letting her back in, she has another think coming.
 

MonkeyPie

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Date: 3/24/2009 7:35:44 PM
Author: phoenixgirl
Mr. Darcy said, ''My good opinion, once lost, is lost forever,'' in Pride and Prejudice.
This is a good quote. I have ditched MANY toxic friends over the years and while I occasionally wonder how they are doing or if they have changed, I let sleeping dogs lie.
 

decodelighted

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Makes me think a bit about Toxic strangers on the internet. Sure wish we could shake some of those w/o losing the whole kit-n-kaboodle.
 

MichelleCarmen

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Sorry that all you ladies have encountered such people. Actually, surely all people have, but only some are strong enough to finally stand up for themselves and decide no longer to be pushed around!

Tlh - my friend pretty much has always been the way she is, but she isn't mean, so that's why it's taken me so many years to conclude that the friendship no longer is working out. She actually is a very nice person. She just requires so much emotional support that when I get off the phone with her, my shoulders are tightened up and my jaw is clenched. Kind of like I end up feeling it's my responsibility to fix everything that is wrong in her life. I guess I've lost patience.

MonkeyPie - Facebook is the answer to finding out what every toxic person you've dumped has accomplished over the years! lol (that's if you want to know what they've been doing or even care. . .it's funny when searching for school/date of graduation, all the strange people who pop up who use to be total brats (nice form of the "b word!") that were so easily forgotten until the search has been done. Then they're difficult to forget!
 

tlh

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Date: 3/24/2009 11:41:27 PM
Author: MC
Sorry that all you ladies have encountered such people. Actually, surely all people have, but only some are strong enough to finally stand up for themselves and decide no longer to be pushed around!

Tlh - my friend pretty much has always been the way she is, but she isn''t mean, so that''s why it''s taken me so many years to conclude that the friendship no longer is working out. She actually is a very nice person. She just requires so much emotional support that when I get off the phone with her, my shoulders are tightened up and my jaw is clenched. Kind of like I end up feeling it''s my responsibility to fix everything that is wrong in her life. I guess I''ve lost patience.

MonkeyPie - Facebook is the answer to finding out what every toxic person you''ve dumped has accomplished over the years! lol (that''s if you want to know what they''ve been doing or even care. . .it''s funny when searching for school/date of graduation, all the strange people who pop up who use to be total brats (nice form of the ''b word!'') that were so easily forgotten until the search has been done. Then they''re difficult to forget!
Ah... an emotionally drowningg friend. See, this is toxic only because of your reaction... which makes you a really kind and caring person. It is hard to watch someone continually spiral downwards when they keep clawing at you for support. I visualise these friendships like someone drowning. They are clawing at people around them - that swam out to save them. If you get too close, they will claw you and push you underwater. With these individuals, you must toss a life preserver from a distance... you cannot get too close. It sounds mean, but they have to figure out how to grab on and pull themselves out of the water by themselves. I don''t know that this is a friendship that you must do away with... but it is one where this person must first figure things out on their own... with you waiting in the wings. I am not sure if that makes any sense at all.

I understand your point. It IS exhausting to have a friend only call when things are at the pits. I have a friendship like this. SHe only calls when she NEEDS something from me. never when things are good. I am the shoulder. I''ve accepted this is our role... and once I figured out our role - I pushed myself away. I don''t answer the phone when she calls - it took awhile but she figured things out on her own. If she emails I respond in a 4 sentance minimum... which as you can see... if VERY HARD FOR ME TO DO! I figure once she in all intents and purposes... GROWS UP... maybe we can be friends again... but I am giving a little dose of tough love. She is not a toxic friend... just a needy clingy one. Until she figures things out on her own and learns that she can do things on her own - I will wait on the sidelines... you may be able to do this with your friend too.... only time will tell. (This friend and I have been friends over 15 years... so I get ya... she''s not toxic, just exhausting...)
 

MichelleCarmen

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Date: 3/25/2009 10:38:54 AM
Author: tlh

Ah... an emotionally drowningg friend. See, this is toxic only because of your reaction... which makes you a really kind and caring person. It is hard to watch someone continually spiral downwards when they keep clawing at you for support. I visualise these friendships like someone drowning. They are clawing at people around them - that swam out to save them. If you get too close, they will claw you and push you underwater. With these individuals, you must toss a life preserver from a distance... you cannot get too close. It sounds mean, but they have to figure out how to grab on and pull themselves out of the water by themselves. I don''t know that this is a friendship that you must do away with... but it is one where this person must first figure things out on their own... with you waiting in the wings. I am not sure if that makes any sense at all.

I understand your point. It IS exhausting to have a friend only call when things are at the pits. I have a friendship like this. SHe only calls when she NEEDS something from me. never when things are good. I am the shoulder. I''ve accepted this is our role... and once I figured out our role - I pushed myself away. I don''t answer the phone when she calls - it took awhile but she figured things out on her own. If she emails I respond in a 4 sentance minimum... which as you can see... if VERY HARD FOR ME TO DO! I figure once she in all intents and purposes... GROWS UP... maybe we can be friends again... but I am giving a little dose of tough love. She is not a toxic friend... just a needy clingy one. Until she figures things out on her own and learns that she can do things on her own - I will wait on the sidelines... you may be able to do this with your friend too.... only time will tell. (This friend and I have been friends over 15 years... so I get ya... she''s not toxic, just exhausting...)
Wow, absolutely wonderful post! Your post is one of the best suggestion/advice posts that has been written to me here on PS. Thanks so much.

You''re probably right that the friendship with my friend isn''t one that needs to be entirely discontinued, however, a break for her to figure her life out is necessary. And, I can say, the break I''ve taken has been invigorating. I know that sounds a bit extreme, but my friend was leaving messages on my voice mail daily and so every time my phone beeped, I would tense up and would stay that way for a good solid hour, basically worrying about her!

I''ve been thinking and don''t plan to call her, but next month is her birthday, so I''m going to send her a token gift. If she calls, I''ll let my voice mail take it. After summer, that may be a good time to test the waters to see if she''s learned to swim on her own! Hopefully her take on our friendship will have changed enough that I can post a toxic friend transformation success story post! lol
 
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