Every friendship should have boundaries. They don’t have to be major or aggressively enforced, they should just exist. We’ve all been there when this boundary hasn’t been respected, and then the ugly starts to unfold.
And henceforth the toxic friendships are created.
More often than not, they’re difficult to spot. Then they become harder to manage because it’s easy to lose things in translation. Trying to decide whether you’re being emotional or if they’re being hurtful is where the challenge lies.
People can be rude, difficult or high maintenance but these aren’t toxic traits. These are just unpleasant people you really should keep at arms-length anyway.
It makes it even worse when your friend doesn’t realise they’re being toxic. However, this doesn’t justify their actions. Friendship takes more than one sides effort; it takes reliability and trust. Take the time to see if your friendship is as healthy as it should be.
Your friendship should make you feel comfortable and safe. The signs are so subtle that they could pop out of nowhere. Your friend makes comments that start to sting more. They’re upset you’re spending time with other people.
Or they keep disappointing you, but it’s always your fault.
Friends that are causing you more stress and anxiety are not good for you. No one should be made to feel negative all the time, the weight of an entire friendship should not be on your shoulders. Being happy for yourself is something you’re owed.
These friendships are the ones that drain you. It can be difficult to understand because of the lack of clarity. In a romantic experience, there are clear lines drawn, but for friendship, it’s much different. The expectations are different and it’s hard to tell what’s okay and what’s not.
What’s not okay is when you’re anxious when you get a notification. Modern technology has made that everyone is easily reachable on their phones.
If you start feeling crap when your friend contacts you instead of happy, it might be time to slide away.
This is not being selfish; it’s just installing a limit in your relationship.
Sometimes it’s hard when you give so much. But take the time to think whether they are giving as much. If there’s an imbalance in what’s given and taken, then this friendship needs work.
Yes, friendships are flexible, and they should be, but don’t be taken advantage of.
Whether you like it or not, the most important person in your life needs to be you.
Don’t be manipulated into thinking this is selfish. Be aware that your problems are just as important as theirs are. Just because the circumstances are different it doesn’t mean your issues are lesser than theirs.
You need to be careful here. Sometimes it’s easy to listen to people, to let them vent. But is your friend doing the same for you? Balance means you both get turns taking the floor.
Make sure it’s not about them just feeling sorry for themselves and disregarding any action towards change.
Because change is important for everyone.
Toxic friends will hold you back from self-improvement. It’s a number one reason why they shouldn’t have a place in your life. This is not to say ghost them and be on your merry way. But definitely have a discussion with them.
Talk to them in person if you can. Address everything problematic that’s making you anxious. Now is the time to be strong and confront your demons.
They’ll likely deny it or try to shoot for the sympathy card. Go forward with a goal in mind of what you want to say. And be proud of yourself for admitting to the reality of your friendship, because it’ll be difficult for you.
Naturally, after all, this person was your friend.
Just because they’re toxic doesn’t mean you don’t have happy memories. That there have been times they’ve been there for you. Or that you do truly feel that they care for you. But when the bad outweighs the good, it’s time for a cooling-off period.
Time to take the time and consider yourself; is this friendship good for you?
Toxic friends have a way of making you feel really bad with minimal effort. You think you need them, but the truth is that you don’t.
Learn from your experience, you’ll grow and become better from it. Accept that these things happen, and you can’t predict them.
No one’s going to come in your life and be like, “Hey! So, I’m super toxic and will make your life significantly less enjoyable. Lol!”
Maybe now is time to realise you don’t need this friend in your life. To see that you shouldn’t feel guilt or unhappy every time you interact with them. Now is the time to realise you matter more, and that you should find happiness and balance in your friendships.
Featured image credit: Pinterest.co.uk
Deputy Editor of Brig Newspaper. Fourth year journalism and English student at the University of Stirling. Lover of covering social issues and creator of 'The Talk' column for everyone who needs to hear it.