In life, we meet different people and make friends with some of them. Some friends may stick around for a while, but others leave.
Each person we encounter teaches us something valuable, and these lessons can stay with us for a long time, maybe even for life.
Ending a friendship can be tough, but it’s best to prioritise our wellbeing and choose our mental health over a toxic friendship.
I once had a friend whom I cared about deeply. We met during my first year in school, and at first, I tried to build a strong friendship with her. But as time passed, I noticed toxic patterns in her behaviour, like insincerity, lies, gossiping and anger issues.
I began to feel scared around her because of these negative traits and her anger would make me feel like I had to agree with everything she said. I wanted to work things out, but the friendship was dragging me into negativity, and I was becoming a pushover.
In my third year of college, someone pulled me aside and opened my eyes to the toxic relationship I was in. I didn’t realise it until then. I decided to make some changes and have a conversation with this friend. She ended up gaslighting me and making me feel like I was the problem.
After the conversation, she blocked me on all social media platforms and stopped talking to me completely. It was difficult to go through, but I felt relieved because I knew I was free from the negativity.
A year later, this same friend came back apologising and saying she missed me as a friend. I forgave her, but I kept my distance because I knew that things could never be the same again.
Now you may have experienced something similar or are even in the same situation. So, how do you know when it’s time to call it quits with that ‘friend’? Here are some signs of a toxic friendship.
Jealousy and unhealthy competition
Healthy friendships are all about support and encouragement. You know a bad friend when they start to exhibit signs of jealousy and competition, constantly trying to one-up you or belittle your achievements.
A true friend will celebrate your wins. They will never see you as a competition but will encourage you to be your best self while working on themselves as well.
Constant manipulation and guilt-tripping
A manipulative friend may use guilt-tripping and emotional manipulation to control your actions or decisions. They might make you feel guilty for spending time with other friends or pursuing your interests and passions. A true friend will never do this.
When you recognise you’re being manipulated, stand your ground, set clear boundaries and let your friend know that their behaviour is unacceptable. A good friend will respect your boundaries and work on improving their bad behaviour.
Misunderstanding, lack of empathy and one-sided conversations
True friendships are built on mutual understanding. A major red flag to watch out for is a friend who consistently disregards your feelings, needs and dumbs down your accomplishments.
If you notice that your conversations are consistently one-sided, with them talking mostly about themselves and showing little interest in your life, it may be time to see the obvious.
You can try talking to them about how you feel calmly and honestly. If they’re not willing to listen or make any effort to understand your perspective, then it might be worth reconsidering your friendship with this person.
Constant drama and negative influence
If your friendship consistently revolves around drama and negativity, it can be emotionally draining. A friend who thrives on gossiping about everyone and spreading false rumours shines a red flag and that behaviour can leave you feeling emotionally exhausted and uneasy.
Also, if your friendship takes a toll on your mental wellbeing and you find yourself heading towards negativity, it’s time to see that this isn’t a friendship you should hold on to. Prioritise your wellbeing and call it quits.
Betrayal and distrust
Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship, be it a romantic one or a simple friendship between people of the same gender. If your friend has ever betrayed your trust, like sharing your secrets without permission, using your weaknesses against you, spreading false rumours about you, or constantly slying you, then this friend is toxic. It might be best to distance yourself from this person.
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