The signs of a toxic friendship
Friendships are very important to our day-to-day lives. They have huge impacts on both our mental and physical health. A good, healthy friendship can ease your feelings of stress, loneliness, and even depression, and provide you comfort and happiness. Now, think about your current circle of friends. Do any of them come to mind when you think of these things? If so, there’s a good chance you have good, healthy friendships in your life. However, there is also a good chance that you may have a toxic friend in your life.
Instead of making you feel happy and safe, toxic friendships can be upsetting and cause you to feel drained out from spending time with them. Even if they claim that they don’t mean to, these people often can make you feel insecure and feel as though you should change the way you act around them. What’s hard about toxic friendships (aside from the literal fact that they make you feel bad about yourself) is that they can often be hard to spot and hard to leave. However, parting ways with these people, no matter how difficult it may be, can truly make the difference in your life. Here are the signs that you need to cut someone off from your life:
They often cross boundaries
Proper communication and respect are vital to a healthy friendship. Feeling as though you are being pressured into doing things you don’t want to do, or that this person is often recklessly invading your privacy is a massive red flag. While some may take it as a sign of a close friendship when these boundaries are broken, you’re certainly not close if this person makes you feel uncomfortable or small.
You feel the need to change around them
While it’s common for people to have strong opinions, some people can be so judgemental and cynical that you feel as though you have to act differently around them. In a healthy friendship, you wouldn’t have to fear being judged or made fun. If you’re constantly walking around eggshells with them, that’s a sign that this isn’t a great friendship.
They don’t take accountability or apologize
If you feel as though you’re the only person who apologizes, take this time to reflect. What have you been apologizing for? Was it because you genuinely did something wrong? Or because they refused to take the blame themselves, especially when what happened was their fault? These people often have hard times seeing their wrongdoings and tend to deny it when they’re brought up. If they place the blame on you and accuse you of overreacting, there’s a good chance that they’re toxic.
They are only your friend for their benefit
Now don’t get me wrong, friends should help each other out. However, if someone you know only reaches out to you when they need help, or agrees to help you only when it benefits them as well, it’s a sign that they aren’t truly your friend. Along with helping each other, healthy friends should support one another and offer help, even if it doesn’t benefit them directly.
They often gossip with you, even about other friends of yours
While many of us, myself included, are guilty of a little gossip here and there. However, do. consider that if this person often spreads rumours about people, even those within your immediate circle of friends, chances are they treat you the same way.
I’ve had my fair share of experiences with unhealthy friendships. Luckily, I’ve burned most of those bridges by now, but in hindsight I don’t know how I didn’t notice the warning signs sooner.
I specifically remember having met a girl who people had warned me about in the first place, that apparently she was toxic. Since the word ‘toxic’ could mean many things, I hadn’t thought much of it. That is, until I noticed that she would only talk with me if she needed my help or advice. I would offer it to her at first, but I began to notice that she never truly did anything in return. She’d ignore my texts and never apologize, she would dismiss me when I tried to talk to her in person, but all of a sudden we’d be best friends once she found a use for me.
I began to ice her completely, finally deciding that I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. While I briefly went over the story, I will admit that that realization was very upsetting to me. On the surface she seemed like someone who would never make friends for their own benefit. That’s the thing, though. Anyone can be a bad friend. If you ever do plan on speaking to someone you know about this, do know that a real friendship would be able to withstand it, and hopefully that person will understand how they’ve been treating you. If this person denies what they’ve done or refuses to change, then here’s the hard truth: You’re much better off without a person who drags you down like that.