Phasing Out a Toxic Friend


A friend of mine recently said to me Ah, I can’t wait for you to get pregnant, I’d be such a great Aunty! I shuddered. See, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill regular, normal friend, this woman is toxic. I decided I needed to phase her out of my life.

Why phase her out? Why not just tell her how I feel? That doesn’t work with her. To explain why, I’ll have to explain a little about her.

This is a woman I have known for nearly ten years. We’ve worked together, we’ve gone out on the pull together, she’s been a really good friend. As with all friendships, that changed once I got married and settled down. I don’t like going out clubbing until the wee hours, she does. I don’t want to sit in bars and chat to strange men, she does. When sober she is brash and rude to everyone, not just me, and when drunk she is simply intolerable. You can’t say anything without her having done whatever it is before, and better than you. So many times I have uncovered needless lies she has told and I no longer trust her or enjoy being around her.

Things got worse when she got a new job last year, apparently working for an events company. She was working four nights a week, earning a fortune, becoming more and more confident each time I saw her. She was quite obviously an escort but didn’t tell me for over six months. Now it’s all she talks about, how great she is at her job (lying down?), how it’s not prostitution (it is) and labelling every man she talks to a potential customer. It’s sickening. I tried to be supportive at first, but it’s taken over who she is. She makes inappropriate comments in front of children and tells everyone she meets what she does. The lines between the real her and the character she created haven’t just blurred, they’ve disappeared.

I recently spoke to her about how I feel and she just brushed it aside, pretended I hadn’t said anything. I don’t know what to do with her any more, so the only option is to phase her out.

I have to do this subtly, as you can imagine many people have already done this to her and she is becoming wise to it. I’ve started by not initiating any contact, and when she contacts me I wait a while to reply. The next stage will be to only see her in group situations where I don’t have to be the only one to deal with her awful behaviour. From there? I’ll have to see how it goes, play it by ear.

Have you ever had to phase out a friend? How did you do it?