Nearly everyone has a friend or more. Sociable people definitely have a wide ring of friends, but many of them could be described as acquaintances you meet up at social gatherings, but that is about it.
Close friends really help make life easier for anyone, as they provide an invaluable sense of support both socially and emotionally. They lift your spirits when you are down, and are there at difficult moments when you need somebody to talk to.
Maintaining good friendships has been known to lower physical and mental health concerns.
However, some friendships may not be so fulfilling; in fact they may be toxic, but people tend to put up with toxic friends as they become too clingy with them.
It takes strength and willpower to let go of a toxic friendship, as there is a sense of fear of being left alone with nobody else to confide in, even though the friendship brings more harm than happiness. Some people tend to cling on to toxic friends as they would with a security blanket.
What is a toxic friendship?
There are ways to recognize if you are in a toxic friendship. If you are not sure your friendship is toxic, here are some tips on recognizing if it is:
*All people have good days and bad days. Likewise a friend may be going through a bad day and snap at you or ignore you. A good friend is more likely to offer a sincere apology once things sort themselves out.
A toxic friend however, tends to follow a pattern of snapping at you at pleasure without showing regret for his or her action, or feeling bad if you are upset about it. An apology rarely comes forth from a toxic friend.
*It is normal for friends to joke around with each other. Good natured teasing does not indicate a toxic friendship, especially if you see the funny side and laugh along. But, if a friend often belittles you, making you feel miserable, such a friendship can be seen as toxic.
*Good friends often confide secrets to each other, and by right the secret should remain between them. If you confide in someone you deem as a friend, and the next day everyone has heard about your secret, that friend is indeed toxic.
Toxic people enjoy spreading secrets around, even if you ask them to keep it to themselves. A person who prefers to share secrets or confidential information about another person, clearly does not care much about your feelings of betrayal.
*When confronted about spreading secrets or confidential information, a toxic friend will show a couldn’t-care-less attitude and apologize just for the sake of apologizing. Toxic friends have been known to apologize and lightly say, “but I was only joking.”
*When the actions or sayings of toxic friends feel abusive or harmful, it is indeed wise to stay away from them, because such friends will always leave you in an anxious state.
*Hours spent with a good friend or group of friends fly by, as you probably were having such a good time with them. However, spending time with a toxic friend normally makes you wonder when you can make your escape.
If you feel uncomfortable in the presence of a person you need to get away from, examine your friendship closely. Are you really happy with this person or group of people in your life?
*Toxic friends have a habit of always putting themselves first. They will continuously call and talk to you for hours on end when they have a problem, but the same does not happen when the situation is reversed.
If a friend has little or no sense of empathy for anyone but him or herself, think about keeping this friend at arm’s length, i.e., maintain a basic friendship but that’s as far as it goes.
*True friends see you for who you are, and don’t expect you to change. Toxic friends on the other hand, decide that you need to make changes to conform to their standards, i.e., they prefer mirror images of themselves. Ask yourself if you want to be yourself or turn into a clone of your toxic friend.
So, how do toxic friendships affect us?
By looking at the above, toxic friendships can leave us feeling:
- even more lonely
- stressed out
- less self-confident
- it is our fault
What are your options in a toxic friendship?
There are two options to consider:
- If you want to salvage your friendship with a toxic person with a second chance, you could try talking things over.
- The second option is to say enough is enough, end the toxic relationship, and move on with your life.
Whatever option is taken, you have to decide what is best for yourself, not the toxic friend.
A toxic friendship that does not have a positive effect, needs nothing more to be said.
A toxic friendship may be saved and turn out well, if both friends work on it.
We hope today’s article has been informative to our readers. Readers are free to comment below if you were / are in a toxic relationship and how it has worked out or otherwise.
26th September 2020 20:30
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