PHOENIX -- Sometimes ending a toxic friendship is the best gift you can give yourself and your family.
Psychologist Stacy Hall offers a few simple steps to leave these people in the dust.
Hall says it's okay to detach yourself from toxic people by creating some distance between you. Realizing this can be tough, Hall says making this move slowly is a must. Start by limiting all interaction including text messages and phone calls.
It's likely the person you're attempting to end the friendship with will start to ask questions, wondering why you're never available.
Hall says this presents an opportunity to share your feelings and your frustration.
Be prepared for the worst, though. Hall says, if you use the words, "I feel..." or "I think..." to begin your sentences the conversation should be less tense.
This is also the time to be firm. Make a decision to move on and stick with it. Remember, surrounding yourself with someone who is toxic can hurt other people in your life.
Hall also says the time it takes to help toxic people get through their drama is time taken away from the loving people in your life, including your spouse, your kids and friends who understand the give-and-take in any healthy relationship.
Finally, follow through by maintaining the distance you have created.
Hall says it's normal to feel guilty, but ending relationships with toxic people will give you more time and energy to share with the people who do not drain you emotionally.
Hall is a licensed professional counselor with Psychological Counseling Services.
For more information, check out her website, StacyEHall.com.