In September of 2013, life was very different. I was very different. I had just started a new job, I was still fairly new in my graduate studies and I had a huge group of friends. I could pick, choose and refuse who to spend my weekends with, and I was always excited about this. But something always felt missing. I didn't quite know what it was, and I didn't know how to communicate this. I realised that with one of my circles of friends (because I had a circle of friends for each interest) I didn't quite feel wanted. Sure we hung out every Saturday, but we did the same thing every Saturday (sitting around in someone's house, playing either a board game or video game). Everyone was coupled up, I was single and one of the friends was my ex. I eventually confided in him my feelings, how different I felt from everyone else. How invisible I felt because my interest were so drastically different from the group's. He told me I was being paranoid and to not think about it so I ignored it. Until....September 2013.
I was sitting outside of a local game store, waiting on this group of friends to meet me so that I could follow them to a friends house (I had never been to their house before and didn't know where to go). They were late, but I waited. And waited. Until, out of the corner of my eye, before it was too late to do anything, a gunman showed up at my passenger door. I thought he must have seen me using my phone so he was there to steal it. I freely offered it up, thinking I could always buy another, but he didn't want it. His friend should up at my door and they demanded I got out. I was not prepared to lose my car. I pleaded with them to just take the phone. It was by far the scariest moment of my life. I wasn't even religious at the time, but I prayed. I prayed so hard as they told me to get in the back seat and drove off with me. I had said my mental good byes to everyone I loved as I cried in the back seat, knowing that this would be the day that I die. I told God that if this truly were the way I was going to die, I commended my spirit into his hands. Funny enough, the group of friends I was waiting on, was not on my list of mental goodbyes.
It was only by the grace of God that I was never touched and they found my car two days later perfectly in tack. But something happened that I never forgot. They never came looking for me.
The friends that I was waiting on, never came looking for me, they never called. They knew where I lived and never once came by to check on me. Neither did my other friends that I thought loved me so much. Two months later, I competed in a fashion show and none of my so-called friends tried to come. Sure there was one, whom I am still close to, and two from that group that surprised me, but none of the females that I thought I was so close to, came to the show, or even asked me about it. I knew now more than ever, that I did not matter to these people. And I probably never did. This definitely impacted how I felt about myself.
Fast forward to July of 2014 when I found myself in a new church surrounded by new people who went out of their way to message me during the week just to make sure I was okay. By then, whether I had been accepted by these new people or not, it would not have mattered. I had found peace within myself. I loved myself and I knew my worth. I knew not to waste any more time on people who could not see that for themselves. Ever since dropping those friends, I invested in myself, focused on my career and became the master of my own happiness. I do much more than I did with them, and they're probably still sitting in someone's living room on Saturdays playing games.
Yesterday, I ran into a few of these people for the first time since I left the group. I was excited to see them. I had no ill feelings towards them. I hugged them and tried to make conversation, but they made every excuse to walk away from the conversation. I saw this and left it alone. Not only did I never matter to them, I never will. And that's okay.
Sometimes we need to learn when to walk away from friendships and relationships. No matter how much we love these people, no matter how good of a person we are, we cannot and should not invest more into a relationship than we're getting out. You son't need someone else's permission to feel good about yourself or their approval to know you're doing the right thing. You cannot change people, you cannot make them like you. So instead of fighting to fit in, surround yourself with the kind of people who will help you stand out. Here are ten signs that let you know when it's time to leave a toxic relationship or friendship.
10 Signs it's time to leave:
1. You call them more than they call you
2. You remember significant dates in their life, but they need Facebook just to remember your birthday.
3. When you want to try something new, they'd rather do the same old activities.
4. You could not talk to them for a week and no one noticed.
5. They never compliment your or notice when you've done something different.
6. They only hang out with you when it's convenient for them.
7. They never do anything nice for you (ex: presents, take you out, come over to spend time)
8. The conversation is always about them and what they like.
9. They don't ask you how your life is going or seem invested in your personal/spiritual growth
10. You get nothing from being around them. You feel no different if you were with them, than if you were apart. And you yourself feel stagnant just by being around them.
BONUS: There's something about this friendship that's not quite genuine. Either you're not getting the whole story when something is wrong or they can only be your friend as long as you're not friends with someone they don't like. An extension of this is every time you're around this person, this is all they talk about and you must be sympathetic or else you're just as bad as "the enemy". This is childish, petty and controlling.
Knowing your worth may take some time. Say this out loud: I can't enjoy the comfort of we, until I'm comfortable with me. And don't be saddened when that toxic relationship ends, now that you know who you are.
I leave you with this scripture:
Proverbs 28:6 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.