How do you tell when you need to accept your friend’s flaws vs. when you’re overlooking a serious issue? Naturally, people change. However, some personality traits don’t change quickly, and these should be your red flags when in a toxic friendship.
10 Signs You Are in A Toxic Friendship
#1: Chronic Anger
This doesn’t just crop up when your friend is going through a rough patch in life, but they are usually angry at you or something you did throughout. Anger manifests in the form of irritability, moodiness, or random blow-ups. For such people, anger is their control weapon. You have to be the one who finds your way around them lest you annoy them.
#2: Punitive Mindset
Have you ever discussed a sad situation with someone, and they insisted on how people deserved the bad things that happened to them? That is a punitive mindset. When in a relationship with such people, it’s guaranteed it will become toxic at one point.
One day they might hurt your feelings, and when you demand an apology, all they say is, “I’m sorry, but you pushed my triggers. You should never push my triggers!” Do you see where that relationship is headed? More like you deserved my wrath for being an idiot.
#3: Elevated Sarcasm
When your friend regularly expresses wit with bitterness behind it, that is sarcasm. Like making jokes that are indirectly meant to put you down. A good example is when you wear a nice shoe, and your friend says, “nice heels, how do you plan to walk on those?” Or you wear expensive perfume, and they comment, “That’s a lovely smelling perfume. Did you soak your clothes in it?”
Toxic friends will feed you lies about what other people have said about you. If they tell you someone said something about you, automatically assume it is false. Gaslighters have no problem lying, especially when it means having greater power over others. This is because if gaslighters don’t have anything to gossip about, they will make it up. Not only is your “friend” trying to cause a fight, but they’re also trying to isolate you from others. Toxic friends would love nothing more than for you to view them as your only friend.
#5: Manipulative Personality
Like the control freak, this is the type of friend who comes with conditional statements. “If you care about me, you will take me to the hospital” Irrespective of your situation, they won’t take no for an answer. They always try to change your mind by challenging your reasoning.
Does your friend rely on you for all of their needs? Do they make you feel responsible for all their feelings, thoughts, actions, choices, or overall well-being? Have you ever had to give up other friendships, hobbies, interests, or family time to spend time with your friend? These are telltale signs of a toxic friendship!
#7: Disrespect of Personal Boundaries
When you communicate your boundary to your violating friend, their response is a clear indicator of the quality of your relationship. If they continue to violate and make you feel like a terrible person for speaking up, perhaps it’s time to find a new friend.
#8: Always Defensive
These personalities always want to go first or be on the winning team. They don’t believe in fair share. Every situation is a competition, and they must win; otherwise, they will blame you for their failure.
#9: Strongly Opinionated
It’s ok to have a different opinion about something. However, when this opinion strongly suggests a judgmental mindset, that indicates unwarranted criticism.
Everyone always wants the best for themselves, right? But at what cost? In a toxic friendship, your friend doesn’t care what happens to you as long as they get what they want. They keep taking and taking and only give when their needs are fully met. And even with the little they offer, they will still complain that you are exploiting or taking advantage of them.
How to Deal with Toxic Friendships?
We all want to thrive in a healthy relationship, but sometimes life gives us the opposite. So what happens when you find yourself in a toxic friendship?
#1: Take a Break
A break could be a mini-vacation or a drive to your family upcountry. Maybe you are overwhelmed with issues, so you can’t see clearly. Whatever shifts your mindset will help you search your soul deeply on the things that bother you about this friendship. Towards the end of the break, re-evaluate your emotions. How did you feel being away from this person? Do you still miss them? What specifically did you miss about them?
#2: Distance Yourself Emotionally
Don’t be cold towards them but instead focus on your thoughts and listen less to theirs. You are not their emotional deposit bank, so you can’t let them hold yours. Interact on a minimal level, and don’t let their opinions define you. Accept that you can’t continue being close, pull back, and maintain a logistically necessary relationship with this person. It will be hard at first, but you can achieve that with determination.
#3: Analyze Your Contribution to The Toxicity
Are you the one that’s always starting the fights? Sadly, toxic friendships exist because all parties gain in one way or another. Are you the type that begins fights and provokes your friends to lose them? Do you treat them the way they treat you just to get back at them? Unless you identify your role in this drama, you will always end up in toxic friendships.