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We’ve likely all experienced this in our lives by now. You make friends, you grow up, you lose friends, they move away, you acquire different interests and go down different roads, and things change. That’s natural, it’s expected, and eventually one day you might reconnect and find that you still have at least a few things in common. But when a friend crosses that unseen line and betrays your trust and attempts to bring you down to a level that you’re not accustomed to then it becomes something entirely different. If there’s one thing that can end a friendship quickly without allowing for anything resembling a comeback it’s the act of tearing each other down, as this is a serious betrayal of what it means to be a friend.

There are moments when such a thing is done out of spite, misguided fear, anger, and even jealousy, but no matter how it happens that sudden split is often enough to sever or at least severely damage a friendship. Manipulating another person, especially a friend, is an act of psychological violence that is hard to forgive, and tends to stick in a person’s mind for some time to come. There might be some that say such things as “get over it” or “you’re overreacting”, but the truth is that a person that attempts to manipulate a friend for their own ends is someone that will generally stoop to anything to get what they want.

Let’s be honest.

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We all manipulate one another at some point in life even if we don’t mean to. But quite often those manipulations that are meant to enrich a person’s life rather than coerce them into doing something that goes against their better judgment are to help them, not hinder them or in any way force them to do something they are opposed to. Friends aren’t there to force or coerce you into anything, they’re there because they want to be, because you want them to be, because there’s a mutual respect between the two of you.

Unfortunately there are empty people in this world that, through some tragic twist of fate, have learned how to attract friends as a spider attracts flies. Once you’re stuck, it can take a monumental effort to get free. Cutting loose a toxic friend is a difficult proposition, as many friends want to believe that they can help a manipulator by showing them how to act like a real human being. The trouble with this however is that a manipulator knows this act quite well, but they lack the capacity to trust anyone for various reasons. A person can choose to weather the storm and get to the root of why such an individual acts in such a manner, or they can cut them loose. It’s a hard choice, but those that are hard-wired to tear others down don’t usually stop on their own, and will defend their behavior through any means possible.

Sometimes moving on is necessary.

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Nobody wants to abandon their friends to an uncertain and possibly miserable, lonely life, but no one deserves to be continually torn down either. It’s very hard to forgive those that have done you wrong, and in some cases it might never happen. But moving forward is the best way to make the sting go away, as is finding those who will truly respect you for who you are and not for what you can do for them.

We all have at least one friend, or more, that we had to let go of in our past, and it hurts to think about them sometimes. But the toxic nature of those friendships in which only one person truly worked for it is not the kind of life that people need in order to grow. Friends are those that are there when you’re down and do their best to lift you up, who share your triumphs and your losses not to build themselves up, but to insure that you have your moment. Friends are those that will do such things because they know that you will do the same without question.

Life’s too short to stop and wait for those that don’t want to make that journey with you.

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You’ll go through friends as you grow, you’ll see some leave and some pursue different interests. Some will come back occasionally and you might welcome them. But those that were left behind for a good reason are often better left in the past, as their constant need to be built up by your efforts would only insure that you remained at their level and never grew as a person. It’s hard, it’s painful, but sometimes it’s necessary to keep on living.

You might never forget them, but friends that seek to tear you down are best as a memory and a life lesson, not as a constant fixture you can’t get rid of.

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