This post explores the negative aspects of having a toxic friend. In the end, the article will provide its readers a guide to identify a toxic friend, as well as, a healthy mental framework to keep the toxicity away.
First of all, what is a toxic friend? Definitely, a person you don’t want to be around with. Toxic individuals are problematic. They are the same people who will secretly ruin your life without even realizing it. Having said that, it’s important to keep them far away.
Before the actual discussion starts, please read the following story first.
Friends Or Enemies?
Cady moves into a new high school. Shorty after, she meets a girl named Regina and her two other friends Gretchen and Karen.
In the beginning, the girls seem to get along just fine. They sit at the same lunch table and hang out together after school. However, everything changes when Regina finds out that Cady has a crush on her ex-boyfriend Aaron.
Although Regina is no longer with Aaron, she doesn’t enjoy the idea of having other girls crushing on him. As a result, she plots to humiliate Cady in a very childish manner. Regina wants to invite Cady to a party, only to make Cady watch her kiss Aaron in front of everyone.
After the fiasco, Cady conspires to destroy Regina. Cady wants Regina to lose everything that she has: friends, beauty and popularity. Little by little, Cady succeeds at her plan. Without her popularity, Regina’s so-called friends (Gretchen and Karen) eventually turn their backs on her.
So who was the toxic friend in this story? Regina or Cady? The answer is both. Regina is clearly a toxic person. However, Cady is no better than Regina. She surrounded herself with toxic people for far too long and she eventually became one.
What’s the real problem with toxic friends? Toxic people are dangerous. Sometimes, they might not even be aware of their toxicity, hence the danger of having a toxic friend. They themselves don’t know whether they’re an enemy or a friend.
Calling out their actions is not really an option, because their first instinct is to deny it. Remember most people see themselves as the heroes of their own narrative. Therefore, do not expect a toxic friend to acknowledge they did something wrong.
Toxicity is highly addictive, that’s why toxic people hardly ever change. As a good friend, you might pity them. However, your compassion will not stop them from sabotaging you. The longer you let a toxic friend stay, the harder it’s for you to get rid of them because they’ll drain all your energy away.
Unlike good friends, toxic friends don’t really care if bad things happen to you. Therefore, stop being good to a toxic friend. There’s no reason to keep them around. It’s time to kick them out of your life.
5 Signs To Identify A Toxic Friend
How can one spot a toxic friend? What are some of the clear signs that you need to steer away from these individuals? Without further ado, here are some signs to help you identify a toxic friend.
1. THEY ARE JUDGEMENTAL
Friends should be honest. However, there’s a big difference between giving someone constructive criticism and being straight up judgmental. The difference lies on the intent.
The intent behind giving constructive criticism is to help someone get better. Pointing out a negative aspect and giving suggestions is actually what real friends are supposed to do. No one should watch their friends doing something wrong and not advert them about it.
Being judgemental is something completely different. It’s useless, because the other person is just pointing out flaws to make someone feel bad about them. Some people, thrive on other people’s mistakes because it makes them feel good about themselves.
2. THEY ARE NEVER HAPPY FOR YOU
There is no such thing as an envious friend. Real friends celebrate each others’ success and happiness. If not, that person is not your friend and it’s time to ditch them. You don’t need those people to rain on your parade.
It’s okay to find joy even in the smallest things. That means a positive outlook on life. Nevertheless, toxic people hate when other people are not miserable. As result, they do things to sabotage other people’s happiness, because they can’t stand it.
Beware of the people you hang out with. Most of the times, one cannot fix something that is already broken. In addition, misery loves company. Therefore, if you hang out with toxic people too often, you’ll eventually become one of them.
3. THEY ARE NEGATIVE
Stay away from people that are always focused on the negative side of things. You might feel tempted to ignore this ugly trait, thinking it’s none of your business. But guess what? It is.
Negative people love to complain, but they rarely offer a solution to the problem. That type of mindset actually hinders one’s self growth, because a negative person will never acknowledge that they are part of the problem, hence, they never learn or get better.
If you don’t want to be a negative person, stop hanging around with negative people. Their energy will eventually sip into you. Before you know, you are already one of them: complaining and hating.
4. THEY DISCREDIT YOU
Doubt is like poison. Don’t let toxic people poison you with doubt. Real friends have faith in you, they don’t belittle your dreams or achievements.
The truth is, most people that doubt you are insecure themselves. Still, it’s not right of them to project their ugly insecurities onto you. They are bitter because they were unsuccessful at achieving the things they wanted. As result, they discourage other people to go after what they want. In a way, they are afraid that others will succeed where they failed. Therefore, they sabotage others with their unkind words and thoughts.
It’s okay to have dreams and goals. It doesn’t matter whether they are attainable or not, because it’s all about the journey. Having said that, it’s okay to feel happy if you believe that you one step closer to your goals. That counts as an achievement and it’s a good thing to celebrate that.
5. THEY LACK EMPATHY
Beware of people that have zero consideration for your feelings. People that don’t have empathy, don’t have respect for you either.
Friendships are not a one way street, feelings need to be mutual. What’s the point of caring for someone that doesn’t give a damn about us? That doesn’t seem healthy. At some point, it becomes tiring to be always the one giving and never receiving.
A friend that only calls when they are in trouble, it’s not a real friend. Meeting someone new is easy, but maintaining a friendship is hard. Being friends with someone requires effort from both sides. A person with no empathy cannot be a friend. They are simply too selfish to think about anyone else but themselves.
Overall, toxic friends are the worst because they are like enemies disguised as friends. You know what? Sometimes it’s better to have an enemy than a fake friend. It’s sad, but at least one is honest regarding their intentions.
A Guide To Let Go Of A Toxic Friend
So what should one do after identifying a toxic friend? Let them go and set yourself free. Here are a couple of strategies that to help you keep the toxicity away.
1. CREATE DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU TWO
Keeping someone toxic in your life brings nothing but misfortunes. Therefore, stop hanging around toxic people.
Friendships are like plants. If you stop watering them, they will die. Therefore, stop interacting with toxic people and they will eventually get the message. Although letting a friendship die sounds awful, please remember: a toxic friend is someone that never really wished you well. Having said that, they were never really your friend.
2. FOCUS ON YOUR HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
It’s never easy to break-up with someone, even if it’s a fake friend. However, if you’re a lovable person you deserve to be around people that celebrate you.
Now that you let go of the bad weeds, it’s time to focus on the healthy relationships in your life. Put your energy into people that nourish you and help you grow up and reach higher. Good friends feed you with good energy, whereas toxic friends will suck you dry with their nonsense. Therefore, it’s important to stay away from toxic people because they are dangerous.
3. MAKING PEACE WITH YOUR DECISION
It’s important to understand why you’re breaking up with that person and things will become much clearer in your head. Remember, your decision did not come from a place of bitterness or resentment.
Toxic friendships are pretty much a dead-end because they lead to nowhere. There aren’t many positive outcomes from being friends with a toxic person. Having said that, cutting ties with them is probably one the best decisions that you’ll ever make.
You are who your friends are. They influence you as the person you are now and also the one you want to become. Therefore, choose your friends wisely.
Sometimes, it’s tempting to believe that people can change. Sadly, it’s easier to keep bad habits than to develop good ones. Having said that, it’s very difficult to change a toxic person. Most of the times, these people tend to see themselves as victims. In their minds, everybody is conspiring against them, that’s why they rarely acknowledge their toxicity.
A toxic friend tends to sabotage people’s lives in a very quiet manner. Having said that, toxicity is very insidious, most people don’t see the their toxic friend’s bad side until it’s too late. However, the misfortunes that toxic friends bring are just part of the problem. Becoming a toxic person because of bad influences is actually the greater problem.