Unfortunately, many of us will have to deal with a toxic friendship at some point so here's how to recognise one and what to do about it.
What is a toxic friendship
You know you're dealing with a toxic friendship if you're left feeling drained, stressed, anxious or all of the above while talking to or hanging out with someone.
Friendships should be a positive aspect of your life and while it's true that many friendships will go through difficult times if you always have negative feelings while dealing with a particular friend then they are most likely toxic.
If you're not sure whether the friendship is toxic or not here are some warning signs you should look out for:
- You don't feel you can fully relax or be yourself around them.
- They're flaky and often cancel or change plans last minute.
- They're jealous of any good things that happen to you which often leaves you feeling like you can't celebrate your successes.
- You don't trust them to keep secrets and feel like you can't confide in them for fear of judgement.
- You dread talking to and hanging out with them.
- They're self-centred and all of your conversations always have to revolve around them.
- Opposite to the previous point, you know very little about their life and they're reluctant to share any details with you but they know everything about you and what's going on in your life.
- You're always the one to initiate conversations or plan when you hang out.
- When you argue you're always the one to apologise(even when you're not in the wrong) otherwise the argument would never end.
- You think the friendship is toxic or have a bad feeling about it.
The above signs are just a few things that I've recognised in toxic friendships over the years.
Overall I think that if you can't trust or be yourself around someone and the friendship is imbalanced in any way then it's not worth your time.
Life's too short to be wasting your time with friendships that cause negativity.
What to do about it
By now you may have realised that the friendship in question is actually toxic, but you don't know what to do about it?
One thing I would personally never do is confront the person about it and accuse them of being toxic.
This is only going to result in an argument that will never end well.
Firstly, start setting boundaries for yourself and stand up to any negative behaviour from them.
You don't need to be overly aggressive or confrontational about it just make them aware that you're no longer going to take their bullshit.
Next, I would slowly start to distance myself from this friend, there's no need to be all dramatic about it and end the friendship completely.
Friends often grow apart as their lives are going in different directions so slowly start to focus your attention on other friendships and other aspects of your life instead.
Then if the person in question confronts you about you can confidently say that your lives have just gone in different directions and you're not purposefully abandoning the friendship.
This way you don't have to feel guilty for lying because you're not, you are simply just focusing on other friendships and aspects of your life.
Have you ever had to deal with a toxic friendship?