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Toxic Friends?

August 10, 2010

It almost sounds like an oxymoron, but “Toxic Friends” is a real thing. I have suffered it, many times over, in my lifetime. And no, this isn’t another post to whine about my past or to cheer about my present with experiencing true friendship. No, this one is strictly about what a Toxic Friend means and how to avoid them. :-p

Toxic friends are people who put you down all the time, never encouraging or supportive, unreliable, stressful, selfish and demanding, always using you for something, and they never give anything back. They’re the types who will always let you down and the friendship feels unequal. It quickly becomes that you’re always helping them out, as they are never (or rarely) caring of you or your feeling, and they’re often very abusive. In other words, after spending time with a toxic friend, you often feel worse about yourself and your self-esteem. :-o

Now, this is not to be mistaken with a friend having a bad day. This happens in friendships, even in the best of them, when a friend may take out their frustrations on the person they love most. But a Toxic Friend will be mean and abusive, MOST of the time. A friend needing help and support is also normal. But a Toxic Friend will need and demand help all the time, but will also be abusive and mean, while you’re trying to help them!  It’s like trying to reach out a hand, to pull a friend out of the mud, but the person is kicking you in the teeth while you do so! :-(

The key to knowing if your friend is Toxic,  is constant abuse. Some people have had Toxic Friends for many years, using the excuse of, “she didn’t really mean it that way”, when a person said or did something hurtful. But in reality, the person DID mean it that way and meant to do harm to their friend.  Some of the known signs of toxic friends are:

 1. – The person breaks promises often, leaving you disappointed. It’s the “friend” who leaves you stranded places or never do what they claim that they will do.

2. –  The person betrays you, by spreading a malicious rumor about you or telling your secret to others. They often love to gossip and have no problem pretending that your secret is safe with them, while picking up the phone and telling the world about it.

3. – The person is self-absorbed, meaning it’s always about their problems and issues. But when it’s you who needs to speak, they’re uninterested, bringing the subject back to them and their issues once again.

4. – The person is highly competitive and not in a healthy way! A little bit of competitive spirit is nice and normal between friends. But a Toxic Friend will always try to find a way to “one up” you, even if you’re not interested in the contest and just want to relax and be yourself. Anything you know, learn, or do, the person is constantly trying to find ways to put it down, poke fun at, and to prove that they’re way better in something than you.

5. The person finds fault, in everything that you do. They will pick with your clothes, the way you speak, act, walk, think, your height, your weight, and so on. You will often walk away, feeling like there isn’t anything you can do right, in that person’s eyes.

A Toxic Friend doesn’t normally have ALL of these signs, just one or two is enough to make a person toxic. In general, these are signs that a person is a foe, not a friend. But often, a person with a Toxic Friend will overlook these signs, putting their own wellbeing last.

If you feel worse around a person, drained, stressed, depressed, then it’s time to break ties with that person. It’s not going to get better, only worse, as years go by. And you could try telling the person how badly you feel or how much it hurts when they make fun, break promises, take advantage, and so on. But, in my experience, a Toxic Friend never listens to any of that. Even if you use “I”-statements (“I feel hurt when you…”), most of the time a Toxic Friend will get defensive and argue more on why they should continue their bad behavior toward you. Usually with the response of, “this is how I am.” or “this is the true me.”

I, personally, believe that it’s best to walk away and be done with it. A Toxic Friendship can continue on for many years, for as long as the other person is willing to put up with it. :-/

Here’s an cool article to learn more about Toxic Friends and how to get rid of them: Toxic Friends And How To Dump Them. I’ve enjoyed reading it, because it’s very true and bought back some memories on how I got rid of my Toxic Friends, in the past. ;-)

-D

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