By: Leah Hovey
The people we surround ourselves with can either help or hinder our lives in various ways. Our friends we make can pose completely separate challenges than our partners or family members do. We are choosing to be with these people. We are putting in effort with our friends because they give to us and we give to them in an equal manner. But what happens when the friendship changes? What happens when maintaining a friendship with someone becomes more of a chore than a benefit for us? What happens when you suddenly feel trapped and upset at what your friend is doing?
Just like many of you, I have experienced toxic friendships throughout my lifetime. There are times where these friends have hurt me more than my family has or even caused more pain than within my hardest break-ups. Growing forward from these toxic individuals has made me stronger while being able to recognize the signs of a toxic relationship. There have even been various books, articles, research and papers dedicated to helping individuals recognize toxic behaviours. There are various signs of a toxic friendship and they are outlined below:
The friendship is very one-sided. They take a lot from you without giving anything back.
The friendship brings out the worst in you. Maybe they make you feel stressed out, maybe they turn you into a person you do not want to be or always seem to bring out the negativity in your life.
They are very manipulative.
They pressure you or criticize you directly or indirectly.
They have an angry attitude about the world.
You do not have trust in your friendship
They have spoken ill of you behind your back to others or shown jealous tendencies towards you.
There is constant fighting or bickering within the friendship.
Regardless of expressing your feelings, your friend does not make any efforts to repair or fix the problems within the relationship.
These are traits that may not seem like deal breakers individually, however these are all signs of someone who may take advantage of your friendship and take advantage of you. It may be challenging, but there needs to be a conversation about what you deserve in a friendship. Perhaps talking with your friend about how he or she is hurting you will cause a change for the better but if your friend gets defensive, dismissive or shows no signs of change it may be time to walk away. Confronting your friends on behaviour can be one of the hardest choices to make and unfortunately this can lead to a lost friendship. However, if a friend truly does care about your well-being, your companionship and your love they will find a way to change their behaviour or work with you to fix the relationship. If you have a true friend, they will stick by you and a small bump in the road will not ruin the rest of your journey together. References
Dealing with a toxic friendship. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://au.reachout.com/articles/dealing-with-a-toxic-friendshipFriends forever?
How to deal with a toxic friendship. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://kidshelpphone.ca/get-info/friends-forever-how-deal-toxic-friendship/