Story Time: I Was A Toxic Friend

“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.” 
― Donald Miller

Overview

I mean who really wants to admit they were a toxic friend? No one, right? Everyone can easily say such and such was a toxic friend so I had to cut them off, but no one admits that they were in fact a toxic friend. My entire life I had this idea that friendship was you have a few friends that you hang out with on a regular and all of you are best friends and you tell each other everything. You go everywhere together. You call them when you're happy, when you're sad, upset, you name it. Ever since then I placed a high expectation on just about anyone I came in contact with that I felt was worthy of the ‘best friend’ title.

Now make no mistake when I say I was a toxic friend that doesn't mean I was a horrible friend. I have such a huge heart that I welcomed people into my life far too soon before seeing them for who they were and accepting them for who they were. They were introduced to my family and taken on as if we had been knowing each other since diapers. That's just how I am.

At the time I didn't realize that my high expectations caused me to put a strain on true relationships because when they didn't live up to this idea I had in my head I put them in the disintegrator and there was no turning back from there. Over time this happened with friend after friend after friend that I eventually started to ask was there something wrong with me that I couldn't keep friends? Was I not a good person? Did I not tell them enough or call them enough? What was so wrong with me that I couldn't have a best friend? Recently I went through what was yet a repeat of the same old things to find myself in a very uncomfortable position. Do I look past the hurt or do I throw them into the disintegrator like everyone else? This was such a hard decision for me because throwing people away was all I knew. It was safe because I didn't want...well I didn't know how to find it within myself to see what I was doing to cause these friendships to end.

Eventually I got to the point to where I was actually able to talk to my friends and let them know what was bothering me. Before I would never say anything—my grandmother would tell me ‘you ain’t no butt kisser, you don’t kiss nobody’s butt.’ I guess I interpreted this as, if I talk to so and so about xyz then I am running behind them and my grandmother told me not to do this. So I’d just cut people off with no notice. Unfortunately, my talking to that person became if I don't see any changes then it would go back to me feeling some type of way. Then I would just keep bringing it up. Something would happen and i’d be like okay I need to talk about this, again. I am the type of person that if I am still bothered by something no matter how far down the road it has been I have to talk about it or else I don’t feel like I am being genuine and honest. This is also a problem, that I didn’t know I developed. I would get so frustrated with myself and wonder why the heck am I still feeling some type of way. What happened has happened. There’s absolutely nothing I could do about it, but choose to move forward. It’s like when I would find myself trying to move past the situation, my thoughts wouldn’t allow me to which would bring back those feelings so I continued to repeat the same cycle.

So then I told myself well I just won’t get close to people anymore so I can avoid this from happening. Umm, that totally didn’t work. We’re always going to form a bond to those we’re in contact with on a regular and vice versa. We’re going to lose contact with those who we don’t see on a regular, not because we want to, but life happens. So KiYada had to put on her big girl panties and make a decision. Do we continue to follow down the same path of going through friend after friend because she can’t get it together or do we simply get it together?

Lesson Learned

In the past few weeks leading up to my 25th birthday and even after, I have been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting on life. This realization started a while ago, but recently came full circle as I began to spend more time with myself and really getting to know who is KiYada and what does she want out of life. First, I had to find forgiveness. I had to give it to the people who I felt hurt me and I had to give it to myself. I also had to extend grace, compassion, and understanding. We’re humans and we’re going to mess up—all the time. Secondly I had to stop rushing my healing process. Some who offered a listening ear would say it’s not that big of a deal get over it, so I tried to force myself to get over something that really hurt because someone else said so. Some said pick up where you left off, can’t do that either because the hurt ran too far to pick up where we had left off. Some of those friendships truly needed to end and others needed to be reborn. Thirdly, I had to STOP trying to change myself because the other person didn’t want to change based on what I felt like I needed. I was being so unfair to those around and most importantly to myself.

I realized there were expectations I was putting on people and it was wrong. I am learning to accept people for who they are and able to meet them where they are. I am allowing the friendships to grow organically and not place any expectation of what friendship is on new people entering my life. I have also accepted that what I thought friendship is is true for some, but not for all—and that's totally okay. I'm learning to accept, as I reflect on all the people I called 'best friend', that most of those friendships were meant to end due to the fact some people are meant to be in your life for a season and others for a lifetime.

I can honestly say there has been a loooong time gap between then and now that I didn’t understand, and quite frankly, didn’t want to understand why this was happening. I wanted to stay stubborn and stay selfish and have a pity party for myself because I was so hurt so many times. Yes such and such may have done something, but the fact of the matter is, my own expectations blinded me from seeing the reality so when the glass shattered I couldn’t believe what happened. Until I started to come from a place of understanding I was never going to get over anything that anyone had ever done to me. My mom also told me that I hold grudges, that I have a cold heart, and so many other distasteful personality traits, but because I didn’t understand I brushed it off. So many other friends told me I was judgemental etc, but no one never once said let me challenge to grow higher, to be better, to do better.

Overall, I have found a true friend in my husband. He is the only person (outside of God & my parents) who loves me unconditionally no matter what I do or say and he is not afraid to tell me what my character flaws are. He was the first person that decided to challenge me. He told me what my flaws were then laid the foundation for me to fix them. This is what I had been searching for my entire life, I just always thought I would find this in a female friend, but it came wrapped up in my life partner which I am much more grateful for. 

I hope that you enjoyed this post. It was very difficult for me to open up about this struggle—but it’s worth it if I can help someone to look inside themselves or possibly get an old friend to find understanding and forgiveness towards me.

Do you feel like you were a toxic friend at times? Or if you’ve had a toxic friend, are you able to forgive and extend compassion and grace and understanding to them. Please like ,comment, and share this with your community if you enjoyed. Let me know if you’d like more transparent post like this, because trust and believe, I have a lot that I can share! :)

Love, Light, & Peace to you

-KUpshaw 

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KiYada Upshaw

24 year old millennial building an overnight success story 1 week at a time. Talking about building a fashion brand while being a young newly wed keeping God at the full font of the relationship and career.