Do I Have Toxic Friendships?

This is a hard post for me to write, but I think it is one that I need to. Everybody has one or two friends in their life that sometimes they wonder about. Or that other people ask “Why are you even friends with them?” We all have experienced a toxic friendship. You know the one. It’s that friend who only calls you when they want something. The one that you cringe when the number comes up on your call display. The one who you are always defending. That’s right, admit it, someone came to your mind.

Friends should have your back. You should be able to count on them any time. Sadly, we live in a world where some people can become selfish and self-centered without seeing it themselves. It does not help to hold on to these people in our lives. Sometimes we need to examine our relationships to see if we have any toxic friendships. Here are some warning signs.

  1. Put Downs. If your friend puts you down on a regular basis, there is a concern. While it is helpful to receive constructive criticism, regular put downs are not ok.
  2. Gossip. If  your friend gossips about you, that is not ok. Gossip is nasty, and we are all guilty of engaging in one way or an other. When you find out that your “Friend” is the one starting or feeding the gossip, this is a huge red flag, especially if it is happening consistently.
  3. Not supportive. When you have something big in your life, do your friends rally with you to help, encourage and celebrate with you? Or do you have a friend who ignores your needs for their own? One who always sees the faults in your good news? This is not healthy, and a huge warning sign of a toxic friendship.
  4. One sided. Are you the only one who calls? A true friendship is a two-way street. You need to each reach out to each other.
  5. Needy. This applies both emotionally and physically. Whether it is always having to build them up emotionally, or having them always ask you for help.
  6. Unreliable. Some people are naturally a little…um….scatter brained? That is one thing, but being completely unreliable on a consistent basis has got to make you wonder.

Toxic friends leave you feeling drained after any time with them. So, now we have to stop and think, do we need this person in our life? Not all toxic friendships are unsalvageable. I have a dear friend who at times makes me super crazy. She gets very toxic. She is also someone I can count on, someone I trust, and I am willing to go a tad crazy to keep in my life. She is worth it.

Other friends, I can’t say that about. So, you need to think, I need to think. Do I really need this person in my life? Getting out of a toxic friendship can be tricky, especially if it’s someone you have had in your life for a long time. Ending the toxicity is what’s important. If you want to keep the friendship, try being honest with them. Tell them if you notice they only call on you when they need you. Most people don’t even realize they have become a toxic friend. When they surround you with negativity, turn the conversation positive.  Stand up for your self. If the friend really cares about you, they will respect your feelings when you make them known.

For those friends who you just can’t keep, it can be hard to end the friendship, but it is possible. Stop taking their calls. Tell them you have had enough. Once you make the decision, most toxic friends will just gradually fade when they have noticed you are distancing from them.  Make new friends, and spend time with the friends who leave you feeling good. The busier you are with the good ones, the easier it is to let the toxic ones fade.

 


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