Toxic friendship is a communicative interaction that does not give joy and ease to one of the participants in the process, but brings only disappointment, devastation and discomfort. The daily life of a modern person is simply overflowing with stress factors, minor misfortunes, minor disappointments. In such circumstances, a person really needs a strong, friendly shoulder. In healthy friendships, a person can count on support and understanding. In toxic interactions, this is out of the question. In such a relationship, everything should revolve around a toxic comrade, and the second is satisfied only with the role of “victim” – always meekly ready to listen and come running to help.
Toxic Friendship Meaning: What is Toxic Friendship?
In recent times, we often come across the term “toxic relationship”. The media gossip about their symptoms in detail, give advice on how not to fall prey to them and how to break them. Friendship or a love affair is considered toxic, which does not bring joy to one of the partners, but, on the contrary, devastates, makes one feel guilty and inferior.
In broad term, the toxic friendship is an absurd friendship situation in friendship who brings toxicity and problems in the life on the place of joy, happiness, support, and healthy advice. Bellow I’ll describe it in more details.
When we find a friend or girlfriend, we are glad that finally a person has appeared who shares our life values and beliefs, open our soul and inner world to him. We may not notice or recognize warning signs of toxicity in our friends’ behavior. Moreover, we try in every possible way to justify and rationalize their unseemly actions.
Are you familiar with this situation? If so, then you may be one of the types of people who are most often the victims of toxic friendship or love. It can be:
- People who have problems with their parents. In the family, they are underestimated, and an inferiority complex is cultivated;
- Children of toxic parents who do not consider their opinions and feelings;
- Those who have the wrong idea about relationships. For them, love is a crazy passion, and friendship is a constant willingness to sacrifice free time, money or something else for a friend;
- Those who are poorly aware of the meaning of their existence;
- Those who are afraid to have their own opinion.
At the very beginning, such friendship between people brings pleasure, but over time, a person begins to feel discomfort, and positive feelings are replaced by negative ones. A friend or girlfriend lets the person know that he or she is not investing enough. This leads to exaggerated feelings of guilt and even depression. Breaking up such an alliance is not so easy, because your toxic friend can harm you in every possible way, manipulate and even poison you. You may even need the help of a therapist. The best way to avoid injury is to distance yourself and get rid of those friends.
You may also like to read: Toxic Girlfriend: Signs of A Toxic Girlfriend and How to Get Rid of Her?
Toxic Friendship Signs: 13 Signs You Are Friends with A Toxic Person
Not every friendly communication is healthy. Communication can inspire or destroy a person, creating additional barriers and adding life’s misfortunes. If a toxic person is a relative, it is sometimes difficult to completely break off all contacts, but if close ties are not tied to a “poisonous” friend, then voluntarily staying in a destructive interaction without trying to correct the relationship is at least irresponsible and stupid.
No wonder people in the know said that friends are a family that individuals themselves choose. Therefore, their choice should be approached more carefully in order to avoid falling into a relationship based on manipulation. To do this, you need to know the signs of a toxic person in a friendship. The main signs of toxic friendships are presented below.
1. Fills Your Life and Isolate from Others
There are so many girlfriends that other people or activities not related to her are gradually being squeezed out. You walk everywhere together, constantly talk and correspond, and no one will interfere between you. This is how abusers often behave, who seek to increase their influence on a person, isolating him from others.
2. Only Gives “Good” Advice, You Make Mistakes
If a friend gave advice, but it worked worse than it should, she will not admit that she was wrong. Only you make mistakes here, and if something went wrong, then you misunderstood or applied the advice incorrectly. Your friend ignores your recommendations or rejects them on the fly, because he/she does not consider you competent enough in any issue.
3. Imposes A Sense of Guilt
“It happened on September 11th; I have a memorable date with a young man. We do not advertise this on social networks, but friends and acquaintances know. And then a former classmate writes: “How are you? What are you doing? “I answer without a second thought that, they say, we are sitting, celebrating. And what started! “What are you celebrating? How dare you celebrate something in the mourning of the whole world? “I say, they say, this tragedy does not apply to me, it was a very long time ago, it is more important for me to celebrate a significant date for me. As a result, she cursed me and blocked me. “
The fault can be for anything. Often – for the fact that something is going well for you: “Yes, you are a great fellow with us, not like me.” Often – on occasions connected with you indirectly or not at all: “Oh, I would have to endure the cold, like you … I’m tired of wrapping myself up all the time, I hate winter!” You have no control over the weather, the season, and many other things, but somehow you feel guilty and responsible for your friend’s feelings about them. And you’re sorry. A lot and often.
4. Never Knows About Your Dreams and Goals
Because you are afraid of ridicule, criticism, comparisons with someone (of course, not in your favor). But you throw out all your problems to such a friend as if in the spirit – she listens about them eagerly and with pleasure.
5. Can Explain Anything by Your Friendship
“I’m your friend, which is why I say that this dress is like a saddle on you like a cow. Who if not me?!” “You are my friend – you could have played along!” “We’re friends, so let’s go on vacation together? Only Venice I will not pull, so hand over the tickets and plan Sochi.” The situations, of course, are exaggerated, but clearly illustrate another sign of toxic relationships.
6. Often He is Surprised: “What is It? What’s Wrong?”
Regular “What’s wrong?” can be a marker of unhealthy friendships, especially if it’s genuine surprise in response to your legitimate outrage.
“So what? Well, I broke your favorite mug – there was nothing to put it just a meter from the edge of the table. And what’s wrong with telling your mom about your problems with your boss? She’s a mom! And what shouldn’t be worried is that the doctors invented it, they have no faith, you know. “
Why is that bad? Because it devalues your feelings, deprives you of the right to discontent and your own opinion.
7. Connives That a True Friend Would Have Tried to Stop
“I lost my girlfriend because I can’t drink a lot – my health doesn’t allow it. We used to meet quite often, drank, and chatted about everything. She recently came to visit my neighbor (who is also our common colleague) and didn’t even come in to say hello, but all because I can’t afford to drink during the working week. Previously, there were many topics, she asked for advice, but now she is not interested in me. There is only one friend left who does not drink, and she does not need an excuse to call me and come.”
Instead of “How about another cocktail?” a true friend will say, “I think we have enough for today.” Instead of “Let’s order pizza” – “Do you remember that the doctor banned fast food so far? Let’s choose something more appropriate.” And so, in everything: a friend will support you with advice and help you change for the better. If you notice that the person next to you encourages bad habits, you should think about why he is still with you and whether you need to continue this relationship.
8. Sometimes It Gets Blocked
Because he writes too much in messengers. And you don’t pick up the phone at such moments because you want peace and quiet. At least for a short while, for half an hour, which can be justified by the problems of the mobile operator and the fact that the Internet does not catch on the metro. And if you do not block and always answer calls, you are afraid to pick up the phone, because you will need to answer her messages. This also includes the desire to avoid meeting a friend.
9. Always Finds the Same Reason for Joy as Yours, Only “Cooler”
Even if you won a Nobel Prize and made a billion, a toxic girlfriend will find ways to belittle your accomplishments and show off her own.
Not receiving an answer immediately, he will write until he waits for a reaction.
Even if she knows for sure that you are busy with something important, you will have a picture (often not too funny) and a bunch of messages waiting for you. Sometimes obsession will disguise itself as caring (“You usually answer quickly, so I got worried, even though you said that you had an important meeting”), sometimes – under a depressive state (“I was afraid that you did not answer, because I did not want I understand that you visited a person in the hospital, but you also understand me “), but the behavior will not become less toxic.
10. Constantly Gives or Helps You Even Though You Never Ask for It
“I have a friend, an amazing person: sincere, kind, sympathetic, he will always help and will not leave in trouble. But every time he comes to my house, he begins to tell me what my house lacks. And so, every visit. Recently, I brought a whole box of assorted mugs and unloaded it on the table with the words: “Otherwise your dishes are boring.” Or he brought colored stationery carnations: “Well, at least beat the postcards to the wall to make it look pretty!” I treat him very well, but maybe I will figure out what should be in my house and what should not. The apartment is new, neat, clean, fully inhabited by my things and furniture.”
Typically, this behavior of toxic friends is explained by the fact that this way they increase their self-esteem, feel kind and useful, and at the same time turn all gifted people into their “debtors.” As a result, an uninvited donor may eventually cross all boundaries, because you “owe” him. If something goes wrong with him, they will remember you all services and gifts, including ballpoint pens, and demand help in return right now.
11. Shifts the Choice to You, And Then Criticizes the Result
She invites you to decide on a meeting place on your own, but then endlessly grumbles about the choice. And even if he doesn’t grumble, he sighs expressively, is no less expressively silent and always writes a derogatory review.
12. Always Complaining
My friend has victim syndrome. In the beginning, I just tried to ignore her selfish behavior, but now it has become simply impossible. All conversations boil down to how unhappy she is, how many problems she has. She urgently called me to run to her home in the rain because she was lonely. After all our walks, my good mood disappeared, as she became sad from how unhappy she was. I reduce my communication to nothing because I can’t stand it any longer.
Every conversation with her ends with endless complaints. One of the main skills of a toxic girlfriend is to find a stain even in the brightest sun and tell those who wish and unwilling about it in paints.
13. Condemns Everyone
The point is especially relevant when a friend works with people, for example in the service industry, and meets many strangers. If she wants and can find in the person whom she sees for the first time so many shortcomings after a few minutes of communication, imagine that she is talking behind her back about colleagues and people whom she knows closely enough.
Have you ever ended a relationship with a friend? If so, why?
You may also like to read: Codependent Relationship: Warning Signs and How to get out of It?
How to Recognize Toxic Friends?
Our friendship is the most precious thing in life. They fill us with love, inspire us to be better people, encourage us to work on ourselves, and teach us about unconditional love and true intimacy.
These connections are something we cannot survive without. Because as humans, we are born to connect. Our need to form attachments to people in our lives is part of our DNA. We need to feel emotionally supported in the same way that we need food and water to survive.
If true friends have a positive effect on our mental and physical well-being, then toxic friends have the exact opposite effect. Their influence can be dangerous and leave a big negative mark on our lives. I have collected 8 signs that will help you recognize toxic friends:
1. They Are not Happy About Your Achievements
If you have someone whose face automatically turns sour the minute you share your good news with them, that person is not your friend. This is someone who secretly hopes that you will fail so they don’t have to treat their own life badly.
2. They Always Humiliate You
The only thing toxic friends hate is seeing you happy. Therefore, they always put in their effort to make you feel worthless. They find ways to spoil your mood by making snide comments, making fun of you in public, or criticizing you whenever you turn to them for support. Putting you down is the only thing that lifts them up.
3. They Are There in Good Times, But They Are Nowhere to Be Found in Bad Times
Whenever something good happens to you, they call you first and try to take advantage of you. One of our recommendations is to keep an eye on people that are with you only in good moments. If they are not there in times of difficulty, it is worth excluding them from your life.
4. Being Around Them Drains You Mentally
Sometimes we all need to be listened to and understood. But there is a big difference between the need for help and self-centeredness. Toxic people have a peculiarity, they only care about their own needs. If your “friend” does not really bother listening to you, since their problems are more important than yours, isn’t there a reason to think about deleting them from life? Believe me, the experience of psychologists, you clearly do not want to have an emotional vampire in your life.
5. They Never Stand Up for You
Let’s be honest. A true friend will always support you, even when the entire universe is against you. They will never let anyone hurt you, no matter how guilty you are. True friends would come to your aid, while toxic friends would be silent or gladly participate in humiliation.
“I would rather have an enemy who openly admits that he hates me than a friend who lies in my face and then stabs me in the back.”
6. They Are Always Too Busy to Give You Time.
And you know what? Being “busy” is NOT an excuse. No one is ever fully busy. They just have different priorities, so if they can’t find the time to talk on the phone or even see each other, then you’re not one of their favorites. Cross these people out of your life. You are just wasting your time.
7. They Don’t Respect Your Boundaries
Life is too short to be wasted in toxic relationships and people that violate your boundaries. If someone is too self-absorbed to care about anything other than themselves, you don’t need that person in your life. You need a real friend who will respect you, appreciate you for who you are, and will only add value to your life.
8. Their Egos Are Greater Than Your Connection
Toxic friends live to shade your light. They cannot accept that someone will outsmart them or be better than them. They will do whatever it takes to maintain their illusion of greatness.
You may also like to read: 12 Tips to Help You to Have A More Harmonious Relationship
How to Get Rid of Toxic Friendships?
The biggest sign of a toxic friend in life is feeling strangely empty and tired after interacting with them. It will be difficult, but rest assured, once you do it, you will feel a sense of freedom that you never knew existed.
Keep in mind, you deserve true friendship and love. Break free and start a new life filled with potential. So, here are 5 ways to get rid of toxic friends:
1. Start Asking Yourself Tough Questions
Ask yourself what positive things they bring to your life. Do you really want to be surrounded by people who drain you? They may well be the only ones you have, but if they drag you down, they don’t deserve to be in your life. Rest assured that letting go of them will be difficult and painful, but it is a crucial step to take if you want to change for the better.
2. Think About the Role They Play in Your Life
Take a close look at your relationship and track how you connected with this toxic person. Try to remember your life before and after meeting them. What attracted you to them and why? Try to get to the point and learn the lessons.
You will need to do exhausting internal work to avoid such people in the future, realizing your own mistakes and patterns is the first and most important thing you need to do.
Remember, the more and longer you interact with toxic people, the more you will attract them into your life.
3. Don’t Hold Back, Be Honest with Them
Approach them with honesty and make your true intentions clear. If you are on the verge of removing them from your life, do not hesitate to take this step. You are not required to give them any explanation at this time. And no matter how painful the process is, you must do what you must. Let them know it’s over and there won’t be any re-launches.
4. Don’t Argue, Just Assert New Boundaries
You will find it tempting to plunge into conflicts and disputes with people who poison your life, but this is exactly what they want. If they try to come back, avoid discussion.
Set your boundaries firmly and clearly, and then end the conversation. You are not trying to convince the person to leave you alone. This is not a negotiation, but a break in a business contract, let’s call it a business term.
5. Don’t Look Back
Remember that at first it will be difficult for you to completely cut yourself off from your toxic friends. You may be tempted to check what they are doing by logging into social media or visiting your hangout places. But you have to make the right decision and move on. Don’t drag the pain along with you. If you have chosen the path of purification, do not look back, no matter what happens.
In Conclusion… Don’t worry, feeling guilty and regretful after making such difficult choices is a natural part of the process. During times like these, it is very important for you to constantly remind yourself of the reasons why you are doing this.
Stay strong, best friends and a better life are waiting for you! Remember, everything in this world is not accidental.
Question: Why don’t people break off such relations, realizing that they are an abuser?
Answer: I must say that there are no idiots among people, and even in the most difficult and toxic relationships, one side necessarily understands that “something went wrong.” If a person is stepped on his foot for the fifth time, while repeating “Oh, this is my character,” we will try to prevent, avoid the sixth time.
But still, many people are so attached to this significant abuser that even the thought of breaking up can be very painful. Therefore, we learn not to see the obvious: say, I really need communication, I need to speak out, and you are a cold and cruel person. I will try to close my eyes to this, to justify it, I will remember about your difficult childhood, that you are not to blame for who you are, and so on, but I will still suffer, just not to end the relationship.
Anyone who is in a toxic relationship for a long time – both the sufferer and the sadist – are people with psychological trauma in childhood, for sure. People in long-term toxic, self-degrading relationships do not have a very good family context. The more a person suffers, the more difficult his story is.
In bipolar disorder, as in borderline personality disorder (these disorders are “sharpened” on emotional dysregulation), a person cannot control his emotions. It is very difficult for him to regulate and adequately express his feelings. It is very difficult for such people.
They are irritable, instantly flare up like matches. But can we consider a person in this position as an abuser? Partly yes, partly no. He does nasty things, but, on the other hand, he is not to blame: for example, certain areas of his brain are not sufficiently developed and do not have flexibility to inhibit affect; the amygdala, taught by stress and trauma, reacts quite sharply, and so on.
Question: Who is more often in toxic friendships?
Answer: It can be both men and women, but the experience of my colleagues shows that women are more likely to have such relationships. There is absolutely no difference in age, people of all ages can fall into this trap.
Question: How does an abusive friendship affect a person?
Answer: Decreased mood, impotence, despair, and depression (a very common history), decreased mental abilities, sleep disturbance, productivity, anxiety.
Question: What kind of bells will help you understand that friendship is problematic?
Answer: The very first bell is physical abuse. If you are beaten, then you are in an abusive relationship. And this is not always a fist in the face, but more imperceptibly: spanking, pinching, biting, holding, and so on.
The second is manipulation “either – or”, an ultimatum: “Either as I say, or it will be bad.”
The third is many insults when a person calls you names, and this is not funny. Close friends can call each other names without offense, reducing them to a joke. But if a person hurts us with his insults and does not respond to feedback, then there is a reason to think.
The fourth is feeling anxious and avoiding communication with a friend. We start to avoid communication in life, on the phone, on social networks, and so on.