Relationships

Toxic?? Your friends, or could it be you?

I once heard it said that when you are at the point in  your life and you aren’t happy with anyone around you, everyone is annoying you, it’s time to examine yourself, FIRST!

Well, I can say that I can quickly place blame on others for my feelings of hurt and disappointment, however, reading this list, I can QUICKLY say, “oh my”, I can read this list and say, “guilty, yep, that one, oops, yes that I am guilty as well”.

But, surely it isn’t all you when have those friends that just continue to drag you down.We all do have a handful that we limit our time with, but either we just can’t seem to escape due to kids playing on the same team, or same circle of friends, you just can’t pinpoint what it is, but you just feel exhausted when you think of them.  Maybe it’s a friend you have had for years and continue to be friends with, but they just aren’t healthy for you.  This list of 10 toxic characteristics needs to be examined closely. Maybe it’s time that you move on from them or from that friend group.

I ended up doing just this with a friend that I felt very close to, until one day I realized I really was miserable and well, 4, 5, 9 and 10 stood out to me and I was amazed that I was subjecting myself to this. It’s not easy to do, but what a relief when you can rid this much negativity of your life.

 1. They always seem to be focusing on the negative side of things

Friends share the ups and downs of their lives with each other. However, friends who are toxic tend to always talk about how everything that is bad without seeing any of the good. They tend to ignore all the good which makes you ignore it as well bringing your mood and motivation down. It’s important to help them out with their problems but also make sure it doesn’t affect you negatively.

2. They never listen to any of your problems

They always call you when something is wrong with them but never seem to have time for you when you have a problem. They expect you to be there for them when something goes wrong but are nowhere to be found when you need help. Friends who do this leave you feeling more lonely than you realize.

3. They are quick to point out your flaws

Honesty is important in any relationship, and friendships are no exception. However, it’s when the honesty becomes relentless criticism of everything you do that the relationship becomes toxic. You find yourself unable to talk to your friend because you are afraid that they will point out everything you did wrong instead of offering you their support.

4. They get mad at you easily

It’s perfectly normal to experience friction and have arguments in your relationships. Toxic friends seem to always get angry with you for the smallest things you do. Any argument that you have always leaves you feeling guilty and apologetic. Friends like this are toxic because they aren’t able to work out problems in a mature way.

5. They aren’t happy for your success

Friends who don’t appreciate your success and celebrate with you are friends who are toxic to your life. People who love you will be happy when they see your happiness. It’s important for friends to be happy for each other and celebrate each other’s good fortune to maintain healthy, supportive relationships.

6.  They always want to talk about themselves

Friends like this always seem to be talking about their accomplishments. They never think to ask about you or your life, and it seems like they don’t really care. Friends like this are harmful to your life because they leave you feeling like you are unimportant.

7. They don’t care enough to keep in touch

Life is complicated. It’s important to understand that sometimes people can’t always call or talk to you but they are thinking of you. However, relationships get toxic when the other person isn’t thinking of you and makes no attempt to keep in contact. You find yourself being the only one reaching out, while they seem uninterested in maintaining the relationship. This is toxic because to have a healthy life you should engage in mutually fulfilling relationships with people who care about you as much as you care about them.

8. They never consider your feelings

Friends who never consider how their actions or words affect you are toxic to be around. They do things to benefit themselves even if it means your feelings are being compromised. it’s unhealthy to have people like this in your life because you should surround yourself with people who don’t better themselves at the expense of others.

9. They pressure you to do things you don’t want to do

When you’re around them, they pressure you into doing things you aren’t comfortable and make you feel like a loser when you don’t do them. It’s good to be around people who encourage you to try new things but it becomes toxic when they are forcing you to do things. You should be encouraged but not forced to try new things and move out of your comfort zone. Being forced to do anything has dire consequences that makes relationships like this toxic.

Human beings are constantly changing. Change is important in relationships. To maintain relationships and grow as people you should be able to change and adapt to each other to an extent that is beneficial to both of you. Friends who are set in their ways, which may not necessarily be right, and don’t attempt to change and grow are toxic to your life.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

How do you feel after spending time with your friend and how they made you feel?

  • Do you feel unhappy after spending time with this friend? Does spending time with your friend make you feel defensive or upset?
  • Do you spend time justifying your own behavior around your friend instead of it feeling “natural” to be together?
  • Are you happy with this friend?
  • Do you feel belittled, attacked or used?
  • Does the friendship feel unbalanced and like plain hard work?
  • Do you feel at fault for things that happen to your friend?
  • Has your friend betrayed your confidences?
  • Does it feel like competition rather than a balanced and caring friendship?

Now let’s take a different approach to this. We have identified the friend/friends in your life that are toxic to you, but take a moment to ask yourself these questions.

How do you think you made your friend feel after spending time with you? 

  • How do you think you made your friend feel after spending time with you? Is it possible that spending time with you makes your friend feel defensive or upset?
  • Do you feel like your friend spends time justifying their behavior instead of it feeling “natural” to be together?
  • Is your friend always “Giving” to you and you really can’t remember the last time you “GAVE” to your friend?
  • Does your friend possibly feel belittled, attacked or used by you?
  • Does the friendship feel unbalanced and like plain hard work on their part? Are you constantly leaning on your friend for support?
  • Do you spend the majority of the time talking about your life without taking more interest in your friend’s life?
  • Have you betrayed your friend’s confidence?
  • Does it feel like competition rather than a balanced and caring friendship?
I know that in this thought process of sometimes just feeling so aggravated at others, I need to take that step back and stop to look in the mirror, not just as my makeup and hair and how my jewelry looks, but deeper into my ‘attitude’.  I say attitude because I don’t think that we tend to become a “toxic” friend to others on purpose. We do have a big heart, and sometimes maybe that could be the problem for now. I believe that we all fall into a slump where life just isn’t going quite the way we expect and where we feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, feeling as if  no one understands. In times like these I know I have felt this way. Stress at work, at home, preparing for college, going through “kid stuff”, etc. We think that some friends just wouldn’t understand because they haven’t experienced it before, so we tend to use that against them and make it about us.
I’m sad to actually write this and take my own hard look and know that I have been a toxic friend. I know that sadly I haven’t put as much into some of my most treasured friendships that I should in the past few years. We get sucked into the day to day of “same ol’ same ol‘” where we just struggle to keep our head above water and want to crawl into a dark hole and occasionally peek out to see if it’s safe. When we feel it’s safe it’s easy to rely on the  comfort level of friends and to feel as if you have permission to just “let loose” on them. When in reality, at times, yes. But not at the cost of their emotions and time.
Time to take the hard reality check in the mirror….and ask the questions and be true with yourself, and your friend.
Until tomorrow, Girlfriend!social-media-icons-the-circle-set
RL

Tomorrow will chat about Social Media and the effects of Friendships!

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