WHAT IS A TOXIC FRIEND?
Do You Really Need Someone Like HER As A Friend?
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|It is easy to spot enemies who are trying to foul up your game: the snarky coworker who takes credit for your project with the boss, the school mate who spat gum in your hair in the 5th grade, the door girl who rolls her eyes and has you kicked out of the club because you are wearing the same dress. |
However much more hard to spot, and much more harmful, are so-called “toxic friends.” These are people who claim in words to be your friend, but by their actions cause you more pain and grief than any enemy ever could. As crazy as it may seem, not all of your acquaintances have your best interests at heart. They may be self-centered, lazy or just plain dumb, but life is far too short to waste your time on people who bring you down, especially when millions of strangers are right around the corner, just waiting to be your friend.
IS YOUR FRIENDSHIP TOXIC?
How do you spot these toxic friends? While everyone slips up now and again and no one is the perfect friend, repeated instances of the following actions indicate that friendship isn’t quite what is holding your relationship together:
Your friend takes up hours of your time with her problems on the phone, however when you need a kind listening ear, she is suddenly much too busy to chat.
She constantly breaks promises, vowing to meet you for lunch or watch your cat and then flakes out. Again.
Your friend must always one-up you. When you tell her about an exciting job interview in the works, she relays that she has three job interviews just this week. Or worse- she tells you what a bad company you are interviewing with, effectively bursting your bubbling and sapping your excitement.
He shares your secrets. While big mouths are common characteristics to many people, only the most brutal of those will share your private, hurtful secrets to others when you asked them not to.
Your friend manipulates you. You are afraid that if you stop being her friend, she will try to hurt your social status and other relationships by spreading lies and making you out to be the evil one.
She is me-me-me all day long. If your friend only ever wants to talk about herself, what is it exactly that you are getting out of the relationship? Friendship is a two-way street.
Your friend does not celebrate your successes. True friends will be happy for a great triumph in your life, even if it means you will be traveling to Greece for a year or moving to New York. False friends will try to make you feel guilty about disrupting their status quo with your new opportunities.
He puts you down. Friends do not put each other down, unless they are 8th grade boys. Whether subtle or obvious, put-downs have no place in a friendship. Relationships should make you feel more confident, not less so.
Most of all, after hanging out or talking to this friend, you feel drained and discouraged. Friends should inspire you and invigorate your life, not pull you down into the dumps.
Do you recognize one of your friends? First of all, try to decipher if her or his actions are a recent behavioral change and due perhaps to a current stressful event. If a friend’s dog just died, they may have trouble calling you back and when they do, you might soak up some of their sadness. That’s okay; friendship means being there for someone when they are dealing with a hard situation.
However if your friend has decided that life is the hard situation and they are going to moan and groan then try and drag you into their wallow, maybe you should consider if you really need such a Negative Nancy in your life. If you surround yourself with toxic friends who are pessimistic downers, pretty soon you will be acting the same way as well.
Life is short. Love your friends, and surround yourself with those that make your life better, happier and more enjoyable..
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Shilo Urban is a freelance writer who has just relocated to Los Angeles after her previous homes of Seattle, New Zealand, Paris, Maine, and Austin. She is an active member of the West Coast electronic music community and lives to promote the art that she loves and the people who create it.