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Identifying the Signs of a Toxic Friendship

At certain points in life, you may find that you are in a friendship that no longer positively serves you. Perhaps you find your friendship with this individual to be exhausting, one-sided, or simply bad for your mental health. This individual may or may not even be aware of their behavior or how it affects you. It is important to be able to recognize the signs of a toxic relationship and know how to address this issue with the individual properly. They will take what you’re saying to heart in a perfect world and make the necessary changes to fix the friendship. However, if their behavior continues or it is beyond the point in which you can see repair being possible, it may be time to cut ties with this individual for the sake of your mental health and well-being. 

The Most Common Signs of a Toxic Friendship

A friendship can become toxic suddenly or can occur slowly over time without you even realizing what’s happening. While a friendship can become toxic in a variety of different ways, these are some common signs to look out for. 

#1.) The friendship is all about them. Does your friend frequently dominate conversations by talking about their problems without taking the time to ask how you’re doing? Perhaps you try to work yourself into the conversation but find that the individual often shifts the conversation back to them. Or maybe you find yourself constantly having to give them advice without ever receiving any in return. This is referred to as a one-sided friendship, which can become very exhausting. It involves pouring a lot of yourself into the friendship without ever really gaining anything. 

#2.) They don’t respect your boundaries. Does your friend frequently try to pressure you to do something you don’t want to do? This can range from something severe like encouraging you to engage in criminal activity to something more subtle like pressuring you to go out when you’d really rather stay home and rest. They may also cross your boundaries in other ways, like by borrowing your things without asking, coming over unannounced, or doing things around you that make you feel uncomfortable. While these things may not seem like that big of a deal, they can begin to take a toll on you over time. Additionally, when this behavior is not addressed, it can often worsen. 

#3.) They don’t respect your relationships with other people. Does your friend get hurt or annoyed when you spend time with other people without them? Perhaps they try to isolate you from your family or friends by speaking badly about them or taking steps to strain these relationships. This is one of the most serious signs of a toxic friendship. 

#4.) They constantly criticize you. Some toxic people try to disguise their unwanted criticism as helpful advice. They may frequently tell you things you need to change about your appearance or minimize the success that you experience in life. They may simply put you down on a regular basis and cause you to feel poorly about yourself. They may project their insecurities onto you. In time, this can lead to poor self-esteem.  

#5.) They talk about you behind your back. If you ever catch your friend talking about you behind your back to other people, it is a major sign that they cannot be trusted. While they may apologize the first time that they get caught, there is a good chance they will do the same thing again. 

What’s Next?

If you’ve recognized that you are in a toxic friendship, your first step is to have an honest conversation with your friend. Sit down with them in a secure environment and calmly tell them how their specific behaviors make you feel. Explain to them what your boundaries are and what you feel needs to change if the friendship is to go on. Try to keep level-headed and avoid getting angry or emotional. It can be helpful to plan out what you’re going to say ahead of time so you don’t end up saying something you don’t mean. 

If the individual does not take your feelings seriously and does not want to make a change, it may be time to consider ending your friendship with them or at least putting distance between yourself and them. It can be not easy to let go of a friend, especially if you have been friends for a while. However, it is important to do the right thing for your mental health. 

Not all friendships are healthy and positive, and you may find yourself falling into a toxic friendship without even realizing it. Toxic friendships can develop suddenly or slowly over time. Some of the most common signs of a toxic friendship include a lack of respect for your boundaries, constantly talking about themselves and their problems, a lack of respect for your other relationships, and constant criticism or gossiping behind your back. Being in a toxic friendship can be damaging and can take a toll on your mental health. If this is your current situation, take the time to talk to your friend about how you are feeling. If they are a true friend, then they will change. If they don’t, it may be time to consider ending the friendship. At Achieve Concierge, we want to help you start living your best life. Call (858) 221-0344 today to learn more.