Songs have been written about them, a tv show is named after them, and we all need them: friends. Friends are our cheerleaders, adopted family members and our social network. For some people, however, friendships can be exhausting, angering, and unhealthy. The very definition of friend is called into question when there is a toxic relationship involved. What are the warning signs that you may be a part of a toxic friendship?
1.) You find reasons not to be around them. If being around your friend consistently feels like it is draining you and you find yourself coming up with excuses to avoid them, you may be dealing with a toxic relationship. If you’ve addressed your concerns with this person about their behavior and they still have not made a concerted effort to work on it, then you may very well be dealing with a toxic person.
2.) They are possessive of your time and whom you spend your time with. This friend is jealous when they find out you’ve been spending time with others. This person may “check in” with you often to see what you are doing and then become upset when they learn that what you have done does not involve them.
3.) They can have problems, but you can’t. These friends often are not good listeners, talk about their problems too much and/or minimize the problems you have. Every time you get in touch with them, they complain.
4.) They do not apologize. If you explain to a friend how they have hurt your feelings and they deny it or make it sound like it is your problem, you very well could be dealing with a toxic friend.
5.) You receive no support or encouragement from them. Do you feel like you’re always helping this person, but you don’t receive help when you need it? From biological terms, is the relationship more parasitic and not symbiotic? Are they continually zapping energy from you?
6.) They cannot be happy for you. This friend may have their own personal pity party when something good happens in your life or they may not have the congratulatory tone you might expect a friend to have when something positive happens.
7.) They talk negatively about others. If you have a friend that gossips about others to you the problem is threefold: One, this person is willing to talk about other people behind their backs. Two, this person will talk about you behind your back. Three, you are allowing them to gossip because you are listening to it and not stopping it.
We are all a work in progress. That means sometimes we may make one of the above mistakes, occasionally. If, however, you are noticing a consistent pattern of some or all of these issues in your friendship, you are likely dealing with a toxic friendship.
Need help in ending a toxic friendship? Call 704-658-0238 to schedule an appointment.