Who needs enemies

There are few things worse than being close to someone who’s harmful to you.

Leaving them can be the most difficult thing you’ll ever do, but you owe it to yourself to want something better.

As a high school freshman, I made a few friends. They came around when it seemed like I wasn’t going to fit in anywhere and it felt great to be accepted.

Unfortunately, I soon realized how little we had in common.

One loved to party. He’d come to school too high to think, usually covered in bruises from who-even-knows-what.

Another was very intelligent, but arrogant and prone to lies. He once told me that he’d learned martial arts in an abandoned carpet factory, then threw some punches at me to show off.

It took my shoulder a few days to recover from from the one that actually connected.

A third friend was always looking for a reason to fight somebody. I remember sitting quietly at our table while he alternated between yelling at his girlfriend and trying to stop her crying before someone heard.

I couldn’t tell you how many almost-fights we got into.

For many of us, the only thing more intimidating than the people we call our friends is what we fear life might be like with no friends at all. That way of thinking, however, simply isn’t worth it.

Plain and simple, between the violent, manipulative, and illegal things they’d do, my friends were unsafe to be around. I was too afraid of having nobody, though, and it wasn’t until graduation that I cut all ties to them.

I spent the following two years focusing solely on my education. When I felt ready, I started making friends again.

Today, six years removed from high school and with graduation on the horizon, I’m more confident, and it shows in the wonderful friends I’ve made.

When someone’s creating a toxic environment for you, the only thing you should think about is leaving it immediately, for your own well-being.

I don’t always make smart choices, but leaving that group and never looking back is probably my smartest.