How can you spot a toxic friend?
Sometimes, it can take years for people to realize that they are stuck in unhealthy friendships as toxic friends are not always easy to spot. While friends are meant to give you confidence, support you, and be there for you in times of need, toxic friends do the opposite. That is, they purposely tear you down and discourage you from following your dreams. Moreover, they are often deceitful and skilled at manipulating those around them. Unfortunately, it is as a result of their skilful manipulation tactics that many people never even realize that they are being treated unfairly.
There are 3 signs your friendship may be toxic:
1. Being with them makes you feel anxious.
When you are with your friends, you should feel free, happy, and content. If you dread spending time with a certain person because they evoke feelings of stress and anxiety, you should ask yourself why they make you feel this way. By asking yourself this important question, you will be able to determine what this person does that makes you feel so low.
2. They judge you.
Do you often find yourself second-guessing the things you say, do, and even wear? Are you constantly afraid that your friends are secretly – or openly – going to judge you? If so, they are not real friends. A genuine friend will accept you for who you are and will seldom judge you. In contrast with this, toxic friends tend to purposely point out your flaws because by doing so, they make themselves feel superior.
3. You feel isolated and alone.
Healthline explains that while ‘spending time with friends should increase your sense of connection’, being around toxic friends may make you feel isolated. These feelings can arise if your “friend” often ignores you, leaves you out of group events, and only speaks to you when they need you.
How can you deal with a toxic friendship?
If you believe that your friend is unintentionally causing you harm, talk to them about it. Explain how they have been making you feel and let them know that you value the friendship. Sometimes, a simple conversation can go a long way. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If you realize that they truly are a toxic presence in your life, you need to distance yourself and cut them off. While this will undoubtedly be difficult and painful, it will be necessary if you want to regain control over your life and emotions. Of course, it is normal to grieve a broken friendship. Moreover, after dissolving a friendship, many may often become overwhelmed by guilt. In times like this, it is important to remind yourself why you had to distance yourself.
Ultimately, it is key that you keep your focus on the future and the friendships you can build with people who will care for and support you like you deserve.