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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.

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The Importance of Cutting Toxic People Out of Your Life

Although removing toxic people from your life won’t always be a walk in the park, sometimes it’s the best thing you can do for your mental and physical well-being. It might not take you long to think of which person or people in your life are unhealthy for you. They may treat you cruelly, manipulate you, or criticize you constantly. They may cause you to feel bad about yourself to the point that the shame drives you to engage in destructive behaviors. Interacting with someone like this can constitute emotional abuse.

Despite these red flags, it isn’t always easy to understand or accept how dangerous these relationships are. You may think that such a person really does have your best interests in mind. It’s vital to be able to recognize when a relationship is causing you serious turmoil or is negatively impacting your mental health.

While the thought of creating space can be scary or overwhelming, it is important to prioritize your mental well-being. Although you are not responsible for how people behave, you can end relationships that do not treat you the way you deserve to be treated. Here are a few tips to help you end an unhealthy relationship to allow your mental health to blossom:

Identify the Toxic Relationship

The first thing you need to do is identify the person or people negatively affecting your mental health. You may already know exactly who this person is, or it may take some careful thought. Try to think about whether anyone in your life makes you feel bad about yourself or tries to control or manipulate you. Does anyone in your life make you feel anxious? Do you feel overwhelmed with dread by the thought of talking to or seeing someone? These may serve as indicators that this person is toxic. In general, people should not make you feel anxious, depressed, or cause you to doubt your self-worth. Instead, they should lift you up and bring joy to your life. Here is a list of toxic traits to look for:

  • They manipulate you
  • They make you feel bad about yourself
  • They judge you constantly
  • They are consumed by negativity
  • They are passive-aggressive
  • They are overly self-centered
  • They have issues with anger management
  • They are controlling or demanding of your time and attention

Stand Your Ground

When deciding to cut a toxic relationship out of your life, there is a chance that you may experience backlash. A toxic person is not likely to immediately go away or change their behavior just because you asked them to. They may make promises that they will change or attempt to manipulate the situation, sometimes even making you feel like it was your fault. No matter what they do, stand your ground. Be upfront with them about why you are choosing to move on with your life and stick to it. Although this conversation can feel uncomfortable, it is necessary for your mental safety and stability. You can be kind, but you must be firm.

Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is an important tool to keep you from accidentally slipping back to old habits. For example, if you have decided that you will cut all contact with a toxic person, take measures to eliminate your ability to reach out to them and prevent them from reaching out to you. Block or delete their number, email address, and social media accounts. Remember that it is equally important for you to maintain your boundaries as it is for them to respect the boundaries you set. 

Find Your Support System

Removing a toxic person from your life is a difficult process that can make you feel numerous negative emotions. It is important to find a healthy support network that you can depend on to help you maneuver through this painful time. Surround yourself with people who bring you joy and lift you up. Reach out to friends and family who will be there to listen, validate, and help you move forward. 

In some cases, a toxic relationship can isolate a person from their friends, family, and others who might serve as a support system. Don’t hesitate to make first contact; you might be amazed by how many of those friends and family members have been waiting for this day and will welcome you back with open arms. In other cases, reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you through this new chapter is the healthiest decision you can make. 

 

Choosing to close the door on a toxic relationship can feel challenging and scary. The person who is unhealthy for you might be a close friend, relative, work associate, or even your spouse. No matter who it is, if your relationship is harming your mental health, the best decision you can make is to cut them out of your life. Toxic people can make you feel consumed by a negative outlook on yourself or isolate you from people who truly are good for you. It’s crucial to take the necessary action to get your life back and be treated with the respect you deserve. Learning to stand your ground and set boundaries is one of the first steps you can take to eliminating toxic relationships. If you need professional assistance with this challenging process, or if you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues as a result of a toxic relationship, call Achieve Concierge at (858) 221-0344 for immediate help.