SHY GIRL'S GUIDE...to toxic friendships?
[your favourite trash bag is back to chat the most! & hello, new people! i'm sorry i haven't posting!]
Toxic friendships are just as bad as toxic relationships, don't let anyone try and convince you otherwise. You see, I'm not the best at letting issues go, and I don't like saying goodbye to friendships or important people in my life yet somehow, I am very open to simply cutting people out of my life. Ironic, huh? I know, I know this isn't the best or healthiest way to deal with confrontation so I've been trying very hard to communicate my issues with the people I love.
However, it has taken me a very long time to realise when a friendship isn't good for me. There's a very thin, very vague line between trying to fight for your friendship and being taken advantage of. So, how do you know when to break up with your friend?
Ah, unfortunately (or fortunately, however you look at it), I've been in toxic friendships and there's been lots of times where I've also been the toxic friend, so I'm gonna be talking from experience.
HOW TO SPOT A TOXIC FRIEND?
It's always the people you didn't think it'd be. Your best friend from day one or that friend you clicked with instantly. Of course, they're not toxic, you're probably saying, and you're probably right. These are just red flags that I've discovered:
- They're taking and not giving at all. Friendships are a two-way street, no matter how curved and long they are. No friendship is purely 50/50, and it's never equal. I'm completely guilty of this, and I tend to want more than I give out. This can be draining for both parties, especially for the person giving all the time. Example: Whenever they're sad, you'd drop everything to be with them but you would never get the same amount of effort back.
- They're Bitter Betties. These are the friends you can never share anything positive with (e.g. an achievement, a promotion, a good grade, a great memory) or you can't take them to parties or even introduce your boyfriend/girlfriend/fwb to because they're gonna suck out all the happiness from it. If you find yourself consistently trying to defend something you like, or trying to find the bright side of things, you might have a bitter betty. Example: You're at a restaurant you've been excited to go to for ages, and your friend is aware of your excitement, but they can't help but complain about every single thing.
- They are the sun. Did you not know that the world now revolves around them? I'm sorry that you missed the memo, but now you're getting reminded in every single conversation so you can never forget. Every s i n g l e conversation you have will somehow revert back to them. Example: You're talking about those awesome shoes that you finally got? Oh, now we're talking about those awesome shoes that were gifted to them. Don't you think they're awesome?! You were talking about that new person you're excited to date? Well, now we're talking about their partner! Aren't conversations fun?!
- Everything is a competition. You should not be feeling like you're trying to win a race with your friend, your rival maybe, but not your friend. You shouldn't be feeling like they're trying to one-up you at all times, and it's draining. Even when they congratulate you, it doesn't feel real. It feels like that congratulations you do when someone wins at monopoly - you don't wanna say it but you have to. Example: "I just got a great grade on my assignment." "Well done, my assignment got featured online!"
- They gaslight you. I didn't know what gaslighting was until this year and until I experienced it in the most obvious way. It's usually really difficult to distinguish what gaslighting is, but usually they're manipulating you, projecting their own problems on you and making you doubt your own actions. You usually feel the need to apologise all the time, and sometimes you feel like you're overreacting when the situation is completely justified. You usually don't want to confront them because it's always gonna end up with you saying sorry. Example: In an argument, your best friend projects all of their negative feelings onto you and after you confront them, they tell you that they're trying to help you and that you're being dramatic.
- No man is an island, well, except you. A big big one is that they want to isolate you. They might not mean to do this intentionally but it's happening. They're suddenly clingy and making sly comments about you hanging out with other people. They want you to be just their friend, and they seem to have an issue whenever you're with someone else. They will be petty in any argument, find an excuse to bitch about your particular friend and will ultimately try to find a way for you guys not to be friends. Example: You made plans with [B] first but now [A] wants to make plans. When you tell [A] that you've already made plans and promise to reschedule, [A] is very bitter and dramatic, claiming that you've changed and you never see them anymore.
- Life is a telenovela. Everything's drama. Your bad day is nothing compared to those. We all know that life isn't linear, it's not always roses and sunshine and sometimes it's very dramatic. If your friend is making everything into a bigger deal than it's supposed to be, she could be just a tad...dramatic and you might be her emotional bin. If you feel drained like you've just woken up on a monday morning and it's only friday afternoon, then you've got a telenovela on your hands. Example: You're listening to your friend talk about her ex boyfriend for the twenty-thousandth time. You look down at your phone once and suddenly you're the reason why we can't have good things.
Toxic friends are as bad as toxic partners. These are just red flags - I'm not saying you should dump your best friend because they did these things once. These are just things you should be aware of because I don't think it's ever talked about. If fighting for your friendship is leaving you more drained than climbing Mount Everest (or up those damn stairs with the never-ending end), then it's probably time for you to take a long hard look at what you want from a friendship.
[this was much longer than I anticipated but yes, guys, thanks for reading!]