It’s easy to toss the bad apples when we’re apple picking, but in life, toxic relationships are a bit more difficult to spot and often can be the most challenging relationships to get out of (I mean look at the great lengths Amy Dunne went to in a failed attempt to disentangle herself from Nick in Gone Girl).
At my “core” (I apple-ogize now for all my apple picking puns in this post) I don’t believe any one person is a “bad apple.” Quite the opposite, actually. I think most people are inherently good, or trying to be good, but in certain relationships we’re more likely to be combative, or show a side of ourselves that doesn’t better us or the other person.
I know I’ve had friends and boyfriends who didn’t make me feel good when I was in their company, but who other people feel really uplifted around. And I guarantee I’ve been a “bad apple” for a handful of people I’ve encountered in my life.
Sometimes we tend to mistake “messy” as “meant for us,” which can make it hard to notice that we’re having a relationship with someone that’s toxic.
We interpret the drama in life as a sign that we’re on the right path and it’s often not until we’re not around that person for a while that we realize the relationship was actually causing quite a bit of stress in our life.
Other times, we know we’re in a toxic relationship, but we can’t exactly get out of it. Maybe the person that’s toxic for us is our boss, or in our friend group, or a relative.
So how do we deal with bad apples?
I’m just a love story writer so can only share what’s been apple-icable for me.
I’ve found that strengthening my own “core” (sorry, can’t stop, won’t stop) is a start. When we know ourselves super well, it’s easier to notice when something feels off. And then we can more quickly identify what that something or someone is. If possible, I try to minimize my encounters with the person who’s making me feel bad. And if I can’t do that, then trying to be my best self no matter what helps.
But maybe the biggest lesson I’ve learned about toxic relationships this year is to spend more time cherishing the good apples. I just spent the last two weeks on the road with a great one. We’d only just really met, but he’s a friend I’ll value for the rest of my life. Someone who constantly picked me up when I was feeling down and who reminded me our entire trip of who I was and what’s truly important in life.
We all have people in our lives who make it sweet. Call them up and head to the orchard for some apple picking! I loved wearing this J.Crew top, this Line and Dot skirt, and these Hunter boots when we visited Shelburne Orchards in Vermont last week.