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Building Healthier Relationships Part 2: Five Steps to Removing Toxic Relationships

The first step to building healthy relationships (<— click on the link to read Part 1) is identifying the unhealthy ones. So now that you’ve identified the toxic relationships in your life, you may be wondering what you should do next. Well, it’s time to detoxify! Here are five steps to removing toxic relationships.

  • Pray. Everything that you do in your life should first be brought to God in prayer. The Bible says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5.) Seek God’s guidance so that when you speak and act, you’re allowing the love of God to flow through you, even if you’re ending a relationship. Also, be sure to pray for the other person. S(he) may be experiencing some problems that are affecting his/her relationships.
  • Learn the art of loving from a distance. God tells us that we have to love everyone. Jesus says this to His disciples: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35.) The desire to develop healthier relationships doesn’t give you permission to be mean to other people. Be kind and look out for the welfare of others. Remember, though, this doesn’t mean you have to have a close relationship with someone who is toxic for you. Smile, say hello, and keep it moving.
  • End the relationship with grace. Don’t just fall off the face of the Earth. Be sure to explain why you made the decision to end the relationship. This may help the other person learn from past mistakes and make better decisions in his/her next relationship. Be sure to be respectful during this conversation because the idea is to remove the toxic relationship from your life, NOT to hurt the other person.
  • Be firm. This step may not be easy, especially if the other person means a lot to you. Ask God for strength to help you through the process. Don’t allow a person to pressure you into maintaining the relationship if it’s bad for you. After you’ve made the decision to end the relationship, stop communicating with this person. Let him/her know that you won’t be responding to phone calls or text messages and remove this person as your Facebook friend. If s(he) is toxic for you, then it’s best to avoid too much contact in way that feels right to you.
  • Find healthier friendships. Spend time with people who share your values. Check out organizations that you’re interested in that draw like-minded peers. You’ll be surprised at the healthy friendships that you may find there.

Hope this helps! Check back soon for my article on how to sustain healthy relationships.

Image: iStockphoto

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10 Comments

  1. martial_artist_for_Jesus

    Posted by martial_artist_for_Jesus on December 4, 2016 at 12:06

    This is exactly what I did with a very toxic flirtationship/friendship I had, a while back (and I didn’t even read this article…!). I didn’t want to do it, because the person meant a lot to me, but I was sick of about 1/3rd of our convos consisting of us bickering badly, him cutting me down yet flattering me, him asking me to model outfits for him, him being an unbeliever (I don’t have an issue w/ being friends w/ unbelievers if they AREN’T drawing me away from Christ), and him overall making me feel miserable and planting a gigantic spiritual block between me and God. I felt more… IDK… drawn to sin, being around him (that, and the fact that he had a gf who was almost 100% oblivious to all this). That being said, I prayed, long and hard, before breaking it off over Skype (because no one wants to get told that kinda thing in an impersonal text), asking God to make me strong, and, since I wanted as little bloodshed as possible, I basically asked to help me minimize the damage I did to his heart; I knew from the get-go it was going to be very, very painful for him. But I did it. I broke it off as gently, honestly, and firmly as I could. I let him know I was sorry for any pain I caused him, but that our friendship was draining me and I thought it best we part ways. He didn’t take it well, naturally, but I expected him to take it a lot worse than he actually did (I expected him to explode into cussing me out– he has a bit of a temper…).
    After that, I did every thing else here: After cutting it off, I posted a brief generalization of what happened, leaving out names and personal details, and had a HUGE support feedback from several various good friends of mine. I realized then I’d been too dependent on him, and God was telling me to lean more on others, and on Him.
    I cut contact w/ said person (or rather, he unfriended me.). We blocked each other on FB, which is great, because then I can’t contact him.
    If you’re going through something like this, if someone claims to be your friend but makes you miserable at least a 1/3 of the time, stop and ask yourself,
    “Would God approve of this friendship? Do any of my OTHER good friends treat me like this? Am I walking away from my conversations w/ said friend feeling good/satisfied, or miserable/depressed?”
    If you answered “no” to the first two questions, and “the latter” to the third, you are probably in a toxic friendship and need to get out, NOW, before it destroys you. Take this article’s advice; it’s very good.

  2. KatchieGirl

    Posted by KatchieGirl on January 9, 2013 at 13:34

    What do I do if I have a toxic relationship with, say, someone who lives in my house? Like my sister and our mutual friends she invites over every night? I can’t stop seeing my sister (little hard when we share a room) and she’d never stop inviting over our unsaved friends. Now what?

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by Alexus on July 19, 2013 at 21:20

      hey, i think you might wanna just distance yourself from them if they are bad influences. Pray about it before you encounter them. Be nice and say hi, But then move on to staying away from them. Act or be busy, go to a separate room, etc. anything to avoid talking to them and if you can’t avoid it completely, just say as little as possible, without saying anything hurtful or opinions,or information about yourself that they can use against you. they will get the picture eventually and most likely leave you alone. try not to strait out say “i don’t want to hang out with you” because to them that means “i don’t like you”. say stuff like “I’d rather not do that…”, “i dont want to…”, or “go on ahead, I’m busy doing …”. If they keep insisting and you don’t know what else to do tell them you love them or care about them but can’t hang out with them if they keep doing things like that. try not to point out the way they act because they will think you don’t like them. also use your parents as mediators or deflectors. If you can hang around or in the same room or area as them a lot, that way they won’t try to tempt you in front of your parents. hope this helps. But remember every situation is different so use good judgement. Be aware of what they are doing and what is going on around you. Pray and do what best fits the situation. Most importantly don’t let them discourage you. I know what it feels like to have to deal with toxic people in your own home. Like there is no safe haven or place to get away. Just find quiet, places and times when you can be alone, in order to clear your head and regenerate your strength. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and your morals. learn the basic system or way the relationships with your sister and her friends or in your house in general work in order to gain an advantage and know how to operate in your circumstances. if you can find a way to get your parents to get you into another room or to set a side an extra space in the house that can be used to get a little privacy try to do that. i really hope this makes a difference you can contact me if you have any more questions.

  3. Posted by on October 31, 2011 at 11:41

    I’m so thankful for this article…it sheds a lot of light on a current situation I’m in. I love my friend to death and I miss her, but I recently moved and the dynamic of our friendship just changed over the course of the year that we’ve been apart (aside from short visits here and there) and texting all day everyday was just too stressful. I have been praying about this for months, and talking to the spiritual giants in my life a lot. Somehow its just very hard to let go, because this person means a lot to me. I think the right thing, is for me to move out to the way so God can rock her world…the hard part is knowing how to do it. :/

  4. Posted by on September 8, 2011 at 21:24

    This is great, because I have a friend who is easily upset and sometimes makes me feel depressed. I will remember this.

  5. Posted by on September 6, 2011 at 15:24

    Thank you for this. I’m right now going through a tough time with my friend. I’ve come to the understanding now that this friendship can no longer last(we’ve been friends for about 10 or 11 years) but she’s changed way too much and its just too difficult. But my main problem is that I think I’m the only one understanding the main problem and I’m afraid of how she’s taking it cause I think she’s still more attacted this (hanging by a string)friendship. Idk how this will end exactly or when but I just know that it has to now. It’s sad but I just keep praying for strength and guidance.

  6. Posted by on September 5, 2011 at 19:57

    I love this. I will remember this when I have my first relationship.

    • Posted by on September 6, 2011 at 12:11

      I think this goes for more than a bf/gf relationship, Paris. i think she’s talking about everyday relationships, such as family and friends too

      • Posted by on November 6, 2011 at 13:06

        Haha, I was thinking about friends and not a boyfriend. It’s hard for me to drop toxic friensd when it seems so hard to find healthy ones to replace them.

      • Posted by on September 6, 2011 at 21:33

        Thank you for pointing that out. I’m so focused on getting a boyfriend that I forgot all about about other relationships.