Toxic Friends- When Enough is Enough
Friends are great. They laugh with you, share your secrets, give you a shoulder to cry on and are fun to be around. Most friendships start out that way. Some friends turn out to be lifelong friends who are more like family. Other friendships change over time. Sometimes people drift apart and you become more like acquaintances or you just lose contact.
What happens if you have a friendship that used to be wonderful but has turned negative? Your friendship has become draining and not fun anymore. You find yourself doing things you wouldn't normally do for your friend. Maybe your friend just disappears when the going gets tough. Maybe there are other things going on. Your friend stops listening to you, puts you down, cuts you off or constantly complains. You wonder why your friendship has changed and what you could have done wrong. Could it be that this friend has always been this way and you just never noticed it? You think, 'maybe its just me and I'm imagining this.'.
These are all examples of a toxic person and sadly they are everywhere. You find them at work, at church, next door and you probably have one or two of these types in your family. If you have a feeling someone in your life is not good for you, you are probably right.
Is Your Friend Toxic?
If you are already asking yourself this question, then the answer is most likely yes. Keep in mind, nobody is perfect. Sometimes we or our friends are going through a rough time and aren't acting like ourselves. We've all made a hurtful comment or complain endlessly to our friends. If a friend is doing these types of things constantly it's a different story. If you have a talk with your friend about her behavior and nothing changes she is toxic. Here are some red flags. Please keep in mind that even though I'm using the pronoun 'she' as an example, a toxic person can be male or female.
She puts you down. Snide and belittling comments, especially around others. Friends should never do this to each other. Especially when others are present.
It's always about her. You've had a bad day, you broke up with your man or lost your job. Maybe something really exciting happened and you want to share it with her. You're in the middle of talking and she cuts you off and starts talking about something trivial. She just chipped a nail this morning or she can't afford that designer bag she's been eying. Was she even listening? She does not seem to realize you are upset... or care. When you finally do tell her what's wrong, she displays phony sympathy and goes back to talking about herself.
You are doing things you don't want to do. You don't feel like going out tonight, hanging out at her place or meeting her for coffee but you find yourself doing it anyway. She might even have you running her errands. Her guilt trips always seem to work and you are never happy when the both of you are hanging out because you didn't want to be with her to begin with.
She is negative. Your friend is constantly complaining, has an unpredictable temper or is always upset about something. You dread her phone call because she isn't calling to chat. She'll keep you on the phone complaining or bad mouthing others. Once your off the phone you are drained emotionally.
Your other friends don't like her. Sometimes our friends see things way before we do. Listen to your other friends and ask them to give you reasons as to why they do not approve of your friendship.
She crosses lines. Your friends should never insult your family or closest friends. Even if you are fighting with someone you love and vent to her about it. That should always be off limits.
She is too competitive. Is your friend always trying to one up you? A guy is flirting with you at a club and she tries to steal the attention. You spot a pair of jeans you want but can't afford them and the next time you see her, she's wearing them. Maybe you just scored a raise or lost a few pounds and she isn't happy for you. Does she always remind you about how she's richer, thinner or prettier? The reality is that she is probably insecure and jealous of you and it's only going to get worse.
She uses you. She wants to go out but then something better comes up and she blows you off. You end up paying for her drinks or for dinner when you go out. She never pays you back. Are you the one always stuck driving when you are hanging out? She's taking advantage of your good nature.
She has too many issues. You have enough problems. You don't need an emotionally imbalanced person to add to it. Does she create her own problems? Does she use drugs, drink excessively or get into a lot of trouble? It's one thing when people have problems and try to better themselves. Toxic people don't think they have problems. They think other people do.
Why Do I Attract These Types of People?
Don't be too hard on yourself. These types are everywhere. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be male or female. Sometimes you keep someone in your life because you've been friends since children or because you've been through some things together. You may have invested so much into this friendship that you want to make it work.
People who have a history of attracting these types usually have a good nature or are a bit too nice. People who come from dysfunctional families usually have a lot of toxic people in their lives. What matters is that you know now and you can start eliminating these people from your life. Knowing what to look for early on can prevent toxic people from entering your life to begin with.
How Do I End the Friendship?
Trust me, if you continue the friendship, it will begin affecting you. You don't want to hold in all your resentment and frustrations because it will eventually come out in a negative way. Having toxic people in your life wreaks havoc on your self worth and confidence. You may even become a toxic person yourself.
Sometimes the best way to end a friendship is to simply distance yourself from that person. Don't make plans and have an excuse ready if she wants to see you. Don't call just to chat and don't take her calls. When you do talk to her, let know that you've been busy and it's hard to get together because of it. It's okay to say that some of your interests have changed and you don't think you have much in common anymore. It's always best to remain on friendly terms. This is especially important if you have mutual friends.
Dealing With Toxic People
Preventing People Like This Into Your Life
I've had a lot of experience with toxic people. For a while there it seemed like just about everyone I knew was bringing me down. It was difficult but I managed to eliminate people who were affecting me so negatively. These days I'm just a bit more cautious of who I trust and let into my life.
Being a loving and trusting person is a beautiful thing- if you love and trust the right people. Keep your guards up around new people. Realize that true friendships happen over time and that a person must earn your trust before you start telling them things. Trust your gut. If someone gives you an uneasy feeling, don't assume it's all in your head. Keep a distance from people who make you uncomfortable. Those are the ones you should always watch out for.
Your true friends are the ones that bring you up when you are feeling down and they don't knock you down when you're up. They love you despite your flaws and look out for you. Your real friends listen to you and respect you.
One true friend is better than a dozen false ones, and really, who needs a dozen jerks in their life?
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