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  • Writer's pictureNick International

Toxic Relationships v. Toxic Friendships

I don’t know which is more difficult to walk away from, toxic romantic relationships or toxic friendships, what do you think? Without limiting your definition of either, I am going to say I think toxic relationships are harder to let go of. Hear me out…

Falling in love with someone even in the midst of the most noxious, virulent toxicity is unfortunately easy. Falling out of love with them is hard. Most people, if we are being frank, just go around and “explore” in the name of self-healing and actualization. The truth: Men and women alike just go out and have a lot of sex and do hoe shit; doing what you have to do to rebuild your ego, self-confidence and convince yourself that you are, in fact, healed. The problem lies in falling back in love with that swamp monster; that is also – incredibly easy.

It’s like The Weeknd says “you’d rather something toxic, so I poison myself again and again ‘til I feel nothing”.

We are humans, and we crave routine and familiarity with a sprinkle of chaos just for balance. Our natural inclination is (or should be) to trust the devil’s we know, rather than the devil’s we don’t. You know, most times, precisely what you’re getting out of that person you drank the kool-aid with. You know what their happy side looks like, you know what they are going to do when they get angry, you know how good the sex is, and you know their every fiber.

It’s a lot like the arc reactor in Ironman’s chest (before the vibranium); it was keeping him alive and killing him at the same time – that’s toxicity.

Toxic friendships, for me are way worse. My moral disposition may be slightly skewed but there are always certain hard lines that I will not cross, particularly if the elemental mineral of friendship – loyalty – is supposed to prevail. These hard lines not only pertain to women my friends have had serious relationships with, but also mutually apply to things like confidentiality, a commitment to support a venture, and just generally to not be a fucking dickhead, really. The problem is that a toxic friendship is like a well made sky-juice; you know there is gin in it, but you can’t taste it because there are so many other flavors masking it.

The oddest thing about friend circles, and a big part of the reason I shy away from that kind of shit nowadays is that where personalities of a similar nature coalesce, factions form that seem almost routinely committed to manufacturing more toxicity. My Father would always say to me as a child “Nicholas, be careful because people aren’t your friends” which was his way of saying “be careful who you trust”; powerful.

Toxic relationships obviously require time to develop; you meet, you date, you cuff each other and then you find out at some point that either there is or isn’t toxicity on either of your parts. Friendships by nature require some similar commitments, but tend to grow over longer periods of time – generally speaking. When something fucked up happens, there is almost always the same conflict whether relationship or friendship when it comes to forgiveness. Instinctively – for me anyway – I am way quicker to forgive a lover, than a friend.

Lord knows, I am the king of holding grudges and if I am being honest with you guys I can be a little more than vindictive when I feel a little slighted. I will quite literally lay in wait for years if need be until the opportune moment to cross someone, that crossed me if the breach is sufficiently serious.

One of my former girlfriends would always be on my ass about that, and I found it quite funny when she’d tell me “you need to let that go”, and then break off into a story about how she “really doesn’t like this bitch” because of something that happened 8 men in her body count ago.

Where the roads diverge again is that in many instances, friends are the people that comfort you when you’re going through something. I think more often than not, we spend too much time finding comfort in people that we expect to be a certain way, but that aren’t. Friends are supposed to be the people you rant to when a court case didn’t go quite right, they are the people you offload your anxiety on when you’re trying to figure out where the next couple of dollars is coming from, they are supposed to be the people that you vent to when you’re going through a break-up. One big thing they aren’t supposed to be is people that take advantage of times when you’re weak, or attempt to offend the things closest to your heart.

The dividing line is still pretty thin between relationships and friendships, I’d say. I always find this to be a particularly difficult issue because I can’t think of a single one of my friends I have crossed in the ways that some of them in the past have crossed me. I am many things, but I stand by my guns on that.

For the sake of coming to the table with clean hands, I am not trying to tout myself as a saint by any measure, in the course of romantic relationships I’ve been that guy – the cheater, the manipulator and the liar - before and for a long time I couldn’t stand life if it wasn’t a little toxic #confession. As I got older, and in particular after the most recent and dramatic episode of lies and cheating and lying being destructive, I felt completely sick of being that way. I wouldn’t say I had an epiphany I just made a conscious choice to do better.

I thought I had a more conclusive answer to which type of toxic relationship is worse, but I don’t. They are both equally as bad in their own ways, but they hurt a little differently I suppose. I mean, which is really easier to let go?

Someone you’re in love with may pop into your mind when you’re scrolling IG and a meme comes up that makes you think of them, but then it hits “we aren’t talking anymore”. It’s also very easy to fall back in love and rediscover the comfort of “us” even if you’re trying to be friends. The feelings can often times cloud your judgment a bit and make you overlook some of the things your former lover may have done. You also tend to create a world of your own; in the film Inception, of all the memories Dom (Leonardo DiCaprio) preserved in his subconscious, you never saw one where he longed for a friend he’d lost – only his best friend, who was Moll, his wife.

While I’d posit that you owe your friends some kind of “duty to know you fucked up”, I think there isn’t really as much room for second thoughts except in the rarest of situations. I mean, you love your friends but that love is different in many ways and much more easily severable. The idea of missing a friend or needing a friend is different from that of a lover; you might lose out on a drinking buddy or a team-mate or what have you but you weren’t likely going home to cuddle that person or anything like that. The void of a lover is like trying to refill the Atlantic Ocean, whereas you can just remove a half-friend and plug that hole in the boat more easily.

I guess toxic relationships are harder to let go of. What do you guys think?

“Certain shit is just too wild to reconcile” – 4pm in Calabasas; Drake.

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