8 Signs You’re A Toxic Friend

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Many years ago, the girl who had once been my best friend suddenly became a stranger. Going into our high school years we began to drift apart until one day we acted like strangers passing each other in the hallway.

Fast forward a few years and thanks to the marvels of the Internet we got back in touch. After catching up a bit, we both admitted that weren’t really sure why we stopped hanging out way back when (isn’t that always the case?) and began hanging out frequently once again.

That is, until she told me that I was a toxic person and that she could no longer be my friend.

Wait, ME…. toxic? What the hell did that even mean? And how was *I* toxic? What had I done to lose my best friend – not once, but twice?

Like many people in their early 20’s, I was working full-time and going to school full-time, I still had no idea what I wanted to do when I “grew up”, but I knew that I had to do something. I was also living at home, dating guys – some of whom were too nice, others were not nice enough. And like many twentysomethings living at home, I was constantly butting heads with my father. Despite the fact that I was a working adult, he very much tried to enforce a curfew. If I came home too late, I received the grand Inquisition the next day as he tried to find out where I was, who I was with and what I was doing. But… that didn’t make me toxic, did it?

Recently, I was reminded of this scenario after dealing with a toxic friend of my own. I realized that many times, our most toxic of friends aren’t actually aware that they’re an emotional drain on the people around them.

8 signs you’re a toxic friend:

1. “She’s so dramatic”
Have you ever noticed that someone who is constantly pointing out how much s/he hates drama is almost always the most dramatic person that you know? Sometimes we project our feelings onto others because we don’t want to admit that we’re actually seeing these issues in ourselves.

2. “It’s not my fault”
I am the victim, everything happens to me. At least that’s how I felt for a really long time, but in reality, I was allowing situations to happen. I was setting myself up in ways that would end with a less than desirable outcome, and I didn’t even realize it. Like the girl who complains about not having a boyfriend, but then doesn’t give anyone a chance to actually be there for her, or the guy who always goes for the same kind of girl, but is expecting a different outcome. I believe that’s also the definition of insanity.

3. “You’ll never guess what I saw on her Facebook page!”
A toxic person will always find something to criticize. They will actively seek out other people’s flaws, just so they have something to talk about. Whether it makes them feel better about themselves or it’s something (again) that they see in themselves, it doesn’t really matter. They don’t care as long as they have something to talk about and distract them from what’s really going on internally.

4. “I know you’re right but…”
No matter what the argument, a toxic person must always be right. Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with someone, and you realize for everything that you have to say they have something “more” to say about it? Toxic people constantly feel the need to one-up you. Hey lady -why can’t you just accept that you don’t know everything and sometimes – just sometimes – you’re wrong?

5. It’s always a Manic Monday
There are extreme emotions. Do you have a friend who can sometimes be a tad bit sensitive about certain topics? For me, it was family. For some, it might be the positive life achievements of others: proposals, pregnancy announcements or a promotion. Anything that triggers self-doubt can send someone spiraling down an emotional pathway. I mean really, these things are good things, and you should be happy for your friend when they’ve achieved their dream. Toxic people: if you’re that unhappy with your life, then figure out how to fix the issues, and you too can find happiness.

6. Avoidance is key
Think back to conversations with your potentially toxic friend. How well do you know your friend? Have you ever known someone for a couple of years only to realize that you really don’t know anything about him or her? There have been a few people in my life who, after having known them for a couple of years, I realized that I didn’t really know anything about them. It definitely made me wonder why. Anytime I would ask probing questions, the topic was quickly changed to something trivial. After a while, I got tired of having shallow conversations (among other things) and just let the friendship fade.

7. “Drowning my sorrows”
Unhappy people find sometimes unhealthy ways in order to make themselves happy. Addictions come in many forms, but anything that will help make life a little bit easier is a usually good thing – until it becomes too much of a good thing. A Wine Wednesday here and there isn’t so bad as long as it’s not turning into Wine Everyday.

8. Validation is important
Toxic people love compliments, and they aren’t necessarily shy about fishing for compliments either. Validation is important because, well, it makes them feel important.

 

We all have a friend or two who fits one of these characteristics – in fact, we probably have a few of them ourselves. However, if your friend is becoming an emotional drain, then you may want to rethink your friendship. Is this friend hurting you more than helping you? Do you feel like they can drain the energy right out of you or do they make you feel like you constantly have to build him/her up? Do yourself a favor and just let this friend go.

And if any of this hits home with YOU, then it’s time to consider some serious life changes. Learn to accept and LOVE your own life. Do things (positive things) that make you happy, because if you aren’t happy with yourself, then how can you really be happy with anyone?

Have you ever dealt with a toxic friend? If so, how did you cope? 

 

Illustration: Flickr | masha krasnova-shabaeva

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