Friends should support you.

How to Distance Yourself From Bad Friends

by Kristen Moutria

A good friend has the potential to bring you joy and give you confidence, so if your friends are leaving you feeling drained, moody or disoriented, it may be time to rethink your friendships. In order to protect your happiness, distance yourself from bad friends by asking yourself why you are friends in the first place, focusing on something new, being honest with your friends about your feelings and expecting change.

1. Ask Yourself Why You Are Friends

Since you want to distance yourself from the friends who are making you feel terrible, ask yourself why you are friends in the first place in order to bring potential insecurities you have to light. Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D., author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)", reports that one of the most common reasons people hold on to bad friendships is that they are afraid of being alone. Instead of fearing loneliness, recognize that it may be better to have no friends at all than bad friends. Furthermore, by waiting for the right friend to come along, you value yourself and recognize that you are worthy of being surrounded by people who care about you and are interested in your well-being.

2. Focus on Something New

Focus on a new hobby or activity in order to spend less time with your bad friends and get your mind off of your relationship with them. It allows you to fill your free time and explore new options. Changing your mindset and adopting a new activity is always uncomfortable at first, but this is a sign of progress. Instead of having to be around your bad friends to feel accepted, you can join a class or begin a project that will show you that your value does not come from the approval of others. You may even meet a good friend in the process.

3. Be Honest

Letting your friends know why you are distancing yourself from them will help establish the boundaries you need to stay apart for as long as you need. Telling your friends that they make you feel drained instead of uplifted will also allow them to see the consequences of their actions and will give you closure. Keep the conversation as positive as possible, without attacking your friends. This is about why their friendship no longer works for you, not about them being bad people.

4. Expect Change

If you plan to continue your relationship with your bad friends at some point in the future, you must expect a change in their behavior, or your friendship will simply fall apart again. Hurd comments that people mistakenly may believe that forgiveness is a virtue, when in reality, forgiving your toxic friends time and time again for mistakes they will continue to make is not good for your emotional health. Let your friends know that under no circumstance can they continue to hurt your feelings and remain friends with you. Instead, there must be some serious change that happens in order for your relationship to be restored in the future.

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