If there is one thing I have learnt from high school, it’s to not waste time with people who make you feel like shit.

You know the type of people I’m talking about. The ones who make you feel so drained after hanging out with them that you barely have any energy for yourself. The ones who make you feel unmotivated and uninspired. The ones who make you feel guilty, like you just can’t win or that you’re always doing something wrong.

Some people who are toxic will be obvious. They will make snide remarks about the things you love, spit out bitchy comments whenever they get a chance and question every decision you make and every goal you achieve. They will hold grudges against you over tiny things. Conversations with them will centre around the discussions of flaws (yours and others) until you feel like every part of you must have something wrong. When you are hurting they will make it about them and if you are sad, they will be sadder. It will be a competition that no one wins, least of all you.

They may do all of these things and they may do none of them. But the end result of a toxic relationship (platonic or romantic) will have you constantly feeling like you’re doing something wrong, that you can never quite relax or fully rest. You will be drained dry. At the same time, you will always feel like you didn’t do enough, that you could have worked harder at it, or been nicer or tried more.

Sometimes, these people will still seem like good friends or partners. They will make you laugh until your stomach hurts and tears are streaming down your cheeks, they’ll watch your fav TV shows with you and you’ll have inside jokes together. You’ll tell each other secrets and they’ll be your go-to person when something big happens. You’ll spend late night adventures together listening to your favourite songs and buying shit you don’t need at the 24 hour Kmart.

But at the end of the day you need to realise that if someone is making you feel terrible about yourself more often than not, you need to decide whether they’re really worth your time. When the heaviness in your stomach when you spend time with them becomes unbearable you need to decide. When you have no energy left for yourself and your own life you need to decide.

When you’re in school, you’re stuck with the same people day in and day out. You have your same core friendship group and the people that you’ve seen every day for the past six years. It’s easy to get caught up in the pettiness and bitchiness of high school drama– some people thrive off it.

But after you graduate, things change, new opportunities open up, people aren’t the same as they always were and it’s okay to ditch your toxic friends. In fact, it’s necessary. 

It’s tough, because sometimes the most toxic people will be people you can’t imagine your life without. People that have seen the highs and lows of your life and have been there since the beginning. People who you met on your first day of kindy and have been by your side ever since. People who stuck it out through all the break ups, pimples, exams and tears of high school.

It’s tough because sometimes these people love you.

But you need to accept the fact that sometimes, you’re going to grow away from people who have played a massive part in your life. Realise that they were fun for a while but now is the time to move the fuck on. Time and comfort and love will not be enough to save you from destroying yourself by sticking with someone who is slowly wearing you down.

I don’t want to sound like a cliché, but life is too fucking short to waste your time on shitty people. Trust me. You gotta surround yourself with people who make you want to be a better person, who push you to be the best version of yourself and make you feel good about your life. You need people who will respect your decisions and celebrate your achievements. People who will cheer you on, rather than cut you down.

If nothing else, please just realise that you are worth more than half arsed friendships and getting down on yourself. You are worth more than toxic relationships that make you question your place in this world. You are worth more than missed calls and messages left on read.

You are worth more than people who don’t let you grow and who don’t let you be the fucking excellent person you know you are. Remember that.

photo cred: emptypouch