Most of us have had a ‘bad’ friend at some point in our lives, some of us more than others. I happen to be a bit of a magnet to toxic friends, but I don’t think of them as bad people, I tend to think of it like Chemistry. Some friendships are good for you and others not so. How do you know if your friend is toxic?
I, myself have behaved in ways that I am not proud of when paired with certain people. The chances are you probably have too – the toxic, compulsive-liar, belittling boyfriend who made you a clingy, paranoid, dramatic and depressed girlfriend, or the crazy friends who bring out bad behaviour like drinking too much, gossiping or acting a bit agitated when you are normally really laid back in character.
I think that there are clashes and matches. Some relationships work, and some don’t, no matter how hard you try. And sometimes the best thing is to walk away, so you can all be better for it.
Toxic friendships tend to creep up on you. At first you overlook certain behaviour because nobody is perfect, right? Before you know it years may have passed and you have come to realise that your friend is not good for your emotional health.
Here are 6 signs that your friend is toxic.
You don’t like yourself after speaking to them.
I had a friend once that would call me most evenings and I would always come off the phone feeling s**t about myself. I can’t really pin point exact put downs, they were more subtle. This friend had a clever way of getting me to question everything I did. She definitely knocked my self confidence and in the end I felt better walking away from the friendship. To be honest she wasn’t all bad, she had a lot of good friendship traits but the constant negative vibes she passed my way were too much to deal with and I had started to feel very ‘down’ in her company.
They leave you feeling drained.
Do you have a friend that always seems to have a drama unfolding and she always turns to you for support? Part of being a good friend is to be there for your friends and to be supportive but when that support begins to drain you and affect your emotional wellbeing then maybe it’s time to take a step back.
These types of toxic friends are the energy suckers. They suck all your energy from you to to feed themselves what they are lacking. It’s better to surround yourself with people who are more positive and bounce your energy back and forth, rather than just steal it.
They are never happy for you.
They are always wanting praise for their achievements but are never happy for you when you achieve something. In fact when they get a whiff of your success you barely hear from them. They don’t seem keen to share in your happiness and struggle to congratulate you.
A real friend will celebrate your accomplishments, and even if they feel a little jealous, they will put it aside in order to congratulate you. They are happier if you fail because it makes them feel better about their life.
They take more than they give.
I have had so many friendships like this. They always need you to help them out with money, chores, babysitting or advice but on the rare occasion you approach them for some help, they seem to vanish off the face of the earth.
Friendships should be flexible and there should be an equal balance of give and take. The friend that consistently takes from you and never gives anything back if you ever ask – she needs to be dumped. Most of the time they never changed. They are one of life’s takers.
They don’t have good intentions.
Even friends that are not so perfect, usually have good intentions, even when they unintentionally hurt you, there is generally a good intention at the heart of it. A toxic friend will do things to deliberately cause you trouble, harm or emotional upset. It could be that they are jealous of you or want to feel better about themselves so they make a fool of you to boost their own ego.
I had a friend who on a couple of occasions plied me with alcohol, knowing that I rarely drink. As I got drunker and drunker the whole time she had been tipping her own drinks down the kitchen sink. The result was that I ended up really drunk and making a complete fool of myself while she remained stone, cold sober and composed. Her intention was to embarrass me and feel better about herself. This type of friend is dangerous and should definitely be dumped.
You don’t think they like you
You have this nagging doubt that they even like you. They rarely socialise with you and the only time you see them is if they need something from you. They plan social events with other friends but never invite you or even introduce you to their ‘other’ social life. You are always kept separate and it often leaves you feeling that they don’t actually enjoy your company and that they just use you.
Anyone who makes you feel like c**p should be avoided. Stop doing stuff for them and the chances are, you won’t hear from them again.