We all have varying degrees of friendship with different people. It is important to be able to identify a friendship that is healthy and helpful to your personal growth and not harming you emotionally. That’s right, emotional abuse can be inflicted by a “friend”. It is unfortunate that most toxic friends prey on those who they know will tolerate their behavior and can manipulate the friendship. How do we differentiate good friendships from the bad? How do we avoid it happening again? More importantly, how do you know if a friendship is in fact, toxic?
When toxic friendships somehow make their way in our lives it may take some time for their sugar coating to get dissolved and reveal their true colors.
However, there are some common traits displayed by these toxic friends and these are what I like to call red flags. So, whether you suspect being in one or are trying to avoid one, here are 10 ways to spot a toxic friendship.
1. Everything is about them.
Every conversation is basically related to their problems, their lifestyles, and their achievements. When was the last time your friend was concerned about your worries and showed a genuine interest in your emotions? If you probably can’t even recall when they have shown concern for you, then it may be a one sided friendship.
In order for a friendship to truly work it must be a give and take situation. Each friend should show a true interest in each other’s lives and help each other when necessary. If only one person does all the work, then it inevitably becomes an exhaustive relationship.
2. They are not loyal.
A true friend should be always loyal to you so that you can rely on them when needed. You get the courage to face any grave problem when you have a good friend by your side. Loyalty is not always taking your side or having your viewpoint but is definitely having your back.
3. Friendship is so stressful.
If you always fear that your friend might use what they know about you, against you, then it is not be a healthy friendship. If you always try to avoid their phone calls and ignore their messages because you want to avoid the drama, then your friendship may be stressful and toxic. Friendship should not be stressful. On the contrary, it should alleviate it when you have a great friend to lean on.
4. They ditch you when they have better plans.
Some friends stay with you, just to pass time when they do not have better things to do. However, when something interesting comes up, they suddenly vanish without even asking you to tag along. Even worse is making plans with you and not keeping them. They will find an excuse for why they didn’t call or why it didn’t work out when in reality another opportunity came up and you are just not that important.
5. You have different interests.
Now this isn’t about you wanting to binge watch Sex and The City and she prefers Forensic Files differences. This is-You want to go hiking and friend wants to plot the demise of her ex, your ex and gossip about other “friends”. It is safe to say your interests do not align. Making plans for the future and encouraging each other never become part of the conversation with a toxic friend. Be careful. We are who we hang out with after all.
6. You can’t understand their true intentions.
Some of your friends might easily get offended and become sulky for something you have done(or haven’t done), but you do not know for sure what that is. With these friends, you have no idea what will go wrong, keeping you walking on egg shells all the time. You may be greeted by a different version of them every time based on their mood.
7. They gossip about you.
If you have friends who behave as angels sent from above whenever you are with them, but you know for sure that they spread lies about you behind your back, then they are the type of friends to avoid at all costs. If you can’t trust a friend with any information about yourself to stay where you left it, then it is time to move on.
8. They are big bullies.
These friends can attack you emotionally. They are so clever in finding any trivial reason to bully you and they are so good as disguising it as constructive criticism. Be it your physical appearance or something you do as a habit, they know all your secrets and weaknesses and use them against you to either get what they want or just to put you down so they feel better about themselves.
9. They always take revenge.
These types of friends are always resentful against you. If they happen to suspect that you have wronged them in some way or another, they try to take revenge in some sort of horrible way. All of a sudden, you are not invited when your entire circle of friends are. This is a revenge tactic and they want you to feel the pain instead of talking about the alleged wrong-doing, like a mature adult.
10. They are always jealous.
These friends are like little, green monsters. Although they pretend to be extremely happy for your achievements and successes, it is clearly visible that they are jealous of you by their actions. They secretly wish for your downfall and never toot your horn for fear of getting you more attention. They will never be happy for you when you acquire that new job, new boyfriend or new pair of shoes. Instead, they want what you have and you find yourself changing your behavior around them. You don’t like to share any good news with them because they make you feel like you are bragging. Pay attention to this behavior. A true friend relishes in your victories and is your biggest fan and cheerleader. Actions speak louder than words, so listen up!
My mother always told me (in Spanish, of course) that it is better to be alone than in bad company.
A true friend is the greatest of all blessings. Likewise, a bad friend can be your biggest curse. A toxic friend can add turmoil and negativity to your life so when you finally remove these types of friendships you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!