Friends are the family you choose! We’ve all heard that. They give us emotional support and make this rat race of a life a little more bearable.
But lately, do you feel exhausted every time you hang out with your BFF? Does every conversation with your friend leave you depleted of energy? They don’t let you take charge of your life or make a decision. Ring a bell?
In that case, I have got bad news. You, my dear, are in a toxic friendship.
What is a toxic friendship?
When a friendship causes more harm than it does good, wreaking havoc on your mind and body, it can be labeled a toxic friendship. In such a friendship, one will be more emotionally manipulated by the other. It comes as a burden and often affects your mental health.
Being in such a friendship can put you in a tough spot primarily because it is not an easy task to identify the toxicity. You feel divided about it. On the one hand, you feel the negative vibe your friend gives out every time you hang out with them. On the other hand, you have been friends for so long, and it all started so nicely. It isn’t like you never had good times with them.
It can be a tricky affair to get out of a friendship safely.
But the good news is that we can help you spot and fix such a situation!
How do you diagnose a toxic friendship? Ask yourself some simple questions.
Do You Never Have Their Support?
The friendship between two people should act as a support system. But, when that same friend undermines your success, cracks jokes at your expense, and makes you feel miserable, it is safe to say such a friend is toxic to your well-being.
In a healthy friendship, every bit of your success is bathed in compliments and cheering. Be cautious of a ‘friend’ who tends to dim your light.
Do You Give More Than You Receive?
Your friend rings you up at the drop of a hat. They love to talk about their problems for hours at a time. All seems fine, but as soon as you want to share your worries, they barely have any time. The imbalance in giving and taking in a friendship is a big red flag.
A toxic friend tends to monopolize a conversation! Of course, if your friend is going through a tough time, chances are they might not be able to focus on your troubles. But if the layout of your friendship makes it routine for you to give without receiving the same, chances are it won’t last long.
Spending Time With Them Seems Like A Task?
Hanging out with your friend should feel relaxing, not like a chore. Do you secretly feel happy every time your friend cancels a plan? When a friendship is overly demanding and strips you of your happiness, it is best to let go.
Every relationship we build along the way is not meant to last forever. And especially one that causes you anxiety and disrupts your mental health is not worth maintaining.
Do You Trust Them?
Trust is the bedrock of a friendship. If you can’t confide in your friend and trust them with your secrets, what is the point of such a friendship? A true friend will have your best interest in their mind. You can depend on them for anything. From talking about your family issues to dishing the one who broke your heart, your friend should be your biggest confidante. And if that is not the case, you might want to reflect on your friendship and figure out whether or not it is worth your time and energy.
Friend Vs Friend!
A little bit of healthy competition is typical in every friendship. It helps you grow. Take note of the emphasis on little. A genuine friend always has good intentions in their heart. They will wish for you to succeed in the race of life alongside them.
While it is human nature to feel jealous time and again, it is not healthy in a friendship if that jealousy persists and overshadows everything else.
Does Your Friend Criticize You All The Time?
One of the prime traits of a toxic friend is they will crucify you over the slightest mishap, and roast you for your failure leaving you with low self-esteem. Their constant criticism might start affecting your mental health and you end up swimming in a pool of self-doubt after spending time with them.
While criticism from a true friend may come as a push to improve yourself, a toxic one uses it to topple your confidence. Needless to mention, it is best to sever ties with such friends.
So now that we have worked out that you are indeed in a toxic friendship, what is the next course of action?
Breaking up a friendship is never an easy feat. But there are some ways in which you may try to fix or leave such a toxic friendship.
#1 Set Boundaries
Whenever you feel drained or, it seems once again you are just giving but the action being reciprocated, distance yourself. You don’t have to bend over backward for any friend who would never do the same for you.
Take some time off from such a friend. It can also see them for who they are. Whether they are indeed toxic or their actions are a product of something bigger ensuing in their lives.
#2 Tell Them How You’re Feeling
“I need you to listen to me” or “I feel hurt when you joke about my failure”. Tell them how you feel. There is always a possibility that your friend does not realize that their actions and statements hurt you.
It might also help clear your doubt if your friend is intentionally trying to run you down.
#3 Slow Fade
Not everything is fated to last. Your friendship is one of those. When you’ve had enough of their mean jibes and negativity, slowly detach yourself from them. You don’t necessarily have to disappear from their lives altogether. But slowly extracting yourself from such a poisonous situation is most uncomplicated.
#4 Bury The Hatchet
If your friend realizes their mistake and is ready to work on their behavior, you might want to forgive them. Everyone deserves a second chance. Let bygones be bygones.
I’d suggest, keep an eye open. Don’t fall back to the same pattern. Toxicity tends to run in circles.
#5 Make New Friends
It is harder to end a friendship. Even more so when you don’t have any other friends. Socialize! Make new friends. Ask some of your classmates out for coffee, or plan a brunch. Having new friends will help you identify the good ones!
Note : Image credit to unsplash.com