So your best friend turns on you, and you’re sitting there blaming yourself wondering what the hell went wrong?
A lot of us have been in this boat and honestly, a lot of friends will come and go during our lifetime, but it’s always good to spot the toxic ones early on, so you can try working it out with them, or decide to move on before they leave you down in the dumps.
I personally have spent years with toxic people trying to get them to care about the friendship as much as I did and during these years I have learnt a lot about what toxicity looks like.
So without further ado, here are the THREE main signs of a toxic friend.
Firstly, their needs are always more important than yours and the friendship is fundamentally unequal.
This one can really be hard to spot in a close friendship, especially as someone who struggles with self-worth and self-esteem. Usually they are constantly complaining about their problems with absolutely no regard to you and how your life is going, or maybe when you need support they are nowhere to be seen, but the moment things go bad for them, you’re caught up for hours on the phone trying to help them through their problems. This is a huge sign of emotional toxicity and once they’ve got you wrapped around their little finger, you will find it hard to talk about yourself in fear that they will abandon you.
Secondly, they can’t handle being in the wrong, or even simply taking some criticism.
Ever tried to discuss with them how you’re feeling in the friendship and how you would like to implement some changes, then suddenly the discussion turns into a huge outrage and argument?
Trying to shift behaviours of toxic friends is one of the hardest things to do, because they are more interested in getting what they want out of you, not keeping the friendship healthy and sustainable.
Thirdly, and finally, they are competitive and/or overly jealous.
A little bit of competition helps the world go round, but toxic friends are going to have a lining of envy and rivalry every time you accomplish something. Maybe you got a new job, well chances are they are going to go update their social media with all their past awards to try to shift the spotlight back on them. These type of people need to learn when it is okay to be competitive, and when they take their jealousy too far.
So if I’ve learnt anything during my years with toxic people, it’s to always speak up about how you’re feeling, even if they leave you. Because chances are if they walk away they sure are going to regret it when they watch you achieve your goals and they are still the same toxic person they have always been.
Also remember every friendship is unique and has its own issues, but these can be resolved with good communication, good support and maybe a tub of Ben & Jerrys. Stay strong, talk to your friends, and remember your own company is better than that of a selfish person.