Let me start by saying this, toxic friendships are stressful, draining and forgive me for saying, outright evil! Life as we know it already has enough woes and challenges to last anyone a lifetime, therefore allowing or entertaining toxicity from someone or people is one woe or challenge too many, in my opinion. E ma pa mi, please.
I am a firm believer in the fact that healthy friendships and a good support system can aid you in living your best life. Believe it or not, the people you choose to surround yourself with and let into your personal space have the power to make or break you, whether they do it deliberately or unintentionally, or by virtue of the influence they wield over you.
We mostly talk about toxic romantic relationships but rarely speak about how to spot toxic friendships and how to deal with them. A lot of us have had (or may still have) a toxic friend, or dare I say it, sometimes you might even be the toxic friend. I for one have exhibited toxic traits in the past as well as had my fair share of friendships that have been detrimental to my mental health and wellbeing. With that being said, it is both important and advisable to reflect on our friendships and sieve out the ones that constantly leave us feeling drained.
I am going to be sharing five easy ways for you to spot a toxic friend:
The green-eyed monster in friendships is extremely common and needs to be addressed. However, if you notice your friend is never genuinely happy to see you thriving and doing well then sis, it is time to re-evaluate the friendship. Taking it a step further, if they feel the need to compete with you and this can be in the subtlest of ways, like wanting to make sure they out-dress you when you guys go out or they are happy to see you do well as long as you do not do better than them, then trust me, there is a problem.
Jealousy in friendships is not something that should be taken lightly as it can lead to so many avoidable issues. This is a sensitive topic to bring up with your friend so tread carefully, and if you feel it is best to leave it unsaid then be sure to keep a safe distance.
2. They Are Always Right, And You Are Always Wrong
Disputes and disagreements in friendships are bound to happen. However, it is manipulative for your friend to put all the blame on you as it takes two to tango. If you find yourself perpetually always going to apologize and they never admit when they are wrong, you are in a toxic friendship. On the other hand, if your friend is constantly accusing you of being the toxic one and often concludes that you are what is wrong with the friendship because you make or made simple human mistakes, then he or she is a toxic friend. There is no room for a self-righteous attitude in any decent friendship as a healthy friendship should be a proper cocktail mix of compromise, love, understanding and agreement.
3. They Are Overly Possessive
Everyone wants to feel wanted and valued but if your friend has a problem with you branching out and making new friends, there is a problem. Some take it as far as sabotaging the relationships their friend is trying to form with other people just so they can keep them all to themselves. This is extremely unhealthy and toxic. If you notice your friend is trying to isolate you from the rest of the world, then it is time to speak out if necessary and re-evaluate the place they hold in your life.
4. You Always Leave Feeling Unsettled And Drained After Hanging Out With Them
Let your intuition be your guide, it is hardly ever wrong. There are situations where the friend in question may not have out rightly done something wrong to your face or directly exhibited traits you may consider as toxic, but being around them leaves you feeling uncomfortable, unsettled and gives you overall bad vides. This is quite tricky because you can not seem to pinpoint what exactly is wrong, but something just does not feel right. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. I have come to discern and trust my instincts after learning some lessons the hard way, so the moment I feel uncomfortable in an environment, I know it is time to withdraw.
5. They Do Not Have Anything Nice To Say About Themselves And Others
Now do not get me wrong, we all have insecurities. However, it is important to understand and realize that you are who you surround yourself with. If your friend is constantly tearing herself down, holding herself back and overall does not feel worthy of even trying to pursue a life he or she would be proud of, it is bound to rub off on you. We as humans are like sponges and we unknowingly absorb thought patterns, ideas, and beliefs from our environment and those we surround ourselves with. It is important to filter the voices we let into our head and personal space. You never know when their negative self-talk will rub off on you. On another note, if they have made a habit of putting people down whether to their faces or behind their backs, then those are certainly not people you should associate with as these character traits rub off on us very quickly and hurt us as individuals.
In conclusion, I do not believe that people are disposable but if a friendship is hurting you and your general well-being, then it may be time to let it go. This year forced me to make extremely hard decisions around friendships but in the end, I am glad I put myself first. Communication is key in building and maintaining healthy friendships but if after voicing out your concerns time and time again and the status quo remains the same, be sure it may be time to evaluate what the friendship is costing you. Solid and healthy friendships are amazing and even as we continue to improve on being better people and friends, it is of uttermost importance that our social circle reflects that which we want to achieve in our lives. Say no to toxic friendships in 2021.