Is my friend toxic?
I am sitting here in a coffee house waiting for my drip coffee to brew typing away and in doing so I am listening to others chat. Yes, I am eavesdropping. Some of the conversations that I am hearing are just complaining about other people, things that they hate in life or how they can't stand what's going on in their. I know that some of what I am hearing is just friends venting to friends but this got me really thinking, are my friends toxic.? So, I did a little research and came up with a list of my top 7 harsh signs your friends could be toxic.
First off let's define what the meaning of a toxic person is so that we both are on the same page. A toxic person can be defined as someone who always uses or takes advantage of others in the name of friendship and is deceitful,overbearing, self centered, always looking for favors from you and talks sh*t behind your back if or when those favors aren't received.
1) You're putting way more effort than you're getting out.
If your toxic friend keeps hitting you up asking for that favor again and again, but is nowhere to be found when you need the smallest favor in return then this is a toxic behavior. I am not saying that you should just dump your friend. I get that friendships and people have up and downs, they might just get busy or need a break. We as friends do need to stay flexible, I agree. I also think that we know when we are putting in way too much and not getting much in return. So if you feel your efforts aren't being met equally then it's probably time to think of other options and move on from this friendship.
2) You Fear Checking your phone.
Social media has made everything at our fingertips, so keeping up with our friends is no different. A good friend shouldn't cause you anxiety when you see a text ot a call from them. I used to be a owner of a pick up truck and this never hit so close to home as it did during that time. I would dred answering my phone, 60 percent of the time it would be someone asking if the could borrow my truck or worse have me help them move. I am not saying they are toxic for asking, I am just saying that I had that same type of feeling. So if you feel that tightness in your chest when you see the phone light up with their name attached to it, this might be a good sign your friend is toxic
"You Can't Change Someone Who Doesn't See an Issue in Their Actions." - Unknown
3. They think their way is the only way.
You have that great idea for the party or you want choose what you think is a great new place for lunch. You can't wait to share it with them but as soon as you do they put their spin on it and they play it down because it wasn't their idea. Often toxic friends will project the feelings onto your choices, they on see that their way is right, This can be a real sign that they only care about what they think and they aren't taking your choices or opinions into consideration. This is a very toxic behavior that some friends can get in the habit of doing.
4. You not longer can trust them.
Just like relationships are built on trust so are friendships. Isn't the whole purpose of having a BBF so that you have someone you can trust and depend on? Sometimes people have to break promises but if you feel that is happens to often or they can't keep a promises they make this is a good sign they are bringing the toxic lifestyle to your friendship.
5. Spending time with them is a drag.
You make time at the beginning of the week to hang out with them on Friday but when the time comes you are just not looking forward to it. If cancelling the plans makes you break out in dance in the middle of the living room instead of actually following through this is probably a key point that they are just being too toxic for you to hang around.
Letting Go of Toxic People in Your Life Is a Big Step in Loving Yourself.” – Hussein Nishah
6. They blame or Shame you.
Everyone makes mistakes and miscommunications happen time to time but if you're taking more of the blame then this is very toxic. A good friend would understand and be willing to work with you on it. The toxic friend shames you and points fingers. If you feel this is happening often it's time to move on from this toxic friend behavior.
7. They use emotional blackmail against you.
Finally, toxic friends will often withhold their attention until they get what they want from you. So they will disappear or stop talking to you until you give in and do what they want. This feels like pushing and pulling. You think things are going well and things are fun. Then they just drop off for a few days or don't return your texts. You are left giving in and asking what you did wrong. They make you feel like you did something wrong. This often happens when the toxic friend comes up with an idea and you choose not to go along with ith for whatever the reason might be.
"Stop keeping people in your life based on your history with them. If they’re toxic, draining or even make you question your morals don’t feel guilty for removing them."
So without a doubt your friend is in the toxic zone. Now What?
The best advice I can give on this would be to set limits and boundaries. You might not have to end the friendship. If you feel that both of you are drifting apart then slowly let to go that way. This usually works if both of you feel that its not working anymore.
If your friend is so toxic that they are glowing the you might have to take a more aggressive approach and sit them down and explain to them that this just isn't working anymore. Be open with your feelings an explain to them that you feel (X) when they act or say (Y) because of (Z)
EXAMPLE: "I feel sad when you don't take my opinion into consideration when we are planning lunch because I got excited to share with you this new place I found., I thought you would really enjoy it."
I found over the years that adding this when talking in a relationship or friendship that it gets your feelings out there so that the other person knows how you feel and why you feel that way.
Word of Advice on Toxic Friends
Never waste your time on people who make your life stressful, harder, or painful. Never waste your time on people who drain you emotionally or mentally. Never waste your time on people who make you dread waking up in the morning or living. Never waste your time on people who make you feel small, insecure, weak, vulnerable. Never waste your time on people who hurt you verbally/physically. Never waste your time on people who don’t make you happy.
If you have toxic people in your life, be it family member, friend, or partner, speak up. If you’re a victim of a toxic person, it is not your fault. Toxic people are extremely good at making you feel like the whole thing is your fault. They’re good at getting inside your head and know how to manipulate you to do what they want when they want. Toxic people know how to make you feel bad so they don’t feel guilty about the ways they made you feel.
It is not your fault.
Reach out for help, talk to someone you know and trust. Don’t be silent. Stand up for yourself.
Cut toxicity out of your life. You don’t deserve it. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to feel loved. You deserve to love yourself.
Quick List of Signs That Your Friend is Toxic:
Lie about you/to you for their own amusement
Spread false information about you to anyone
Shares your secrets/personal information with other people
Make hurtful comments about your life/work/relationships
Try to manipulate you in any way, shape or form
Demand that you put in extra effort in the relationship while not holding up their end of the bargain
Use you as their personal therapist
Make you feel like it’s your responsibility to “fix” them
I am sure there are more examples of ways friends can be toxic. If you can think of more please feel free to share this in the comments below. I would love to read about them .