Toxic friendship vs Healthy friendship
A toxic friendship can take different forms, but they generally drain you mentally and have a way of bringing you down instead of building you up. Friends help make life more meaningful. They provide social and emotional support, ease feelings of loneliness, and help you feel happier and more satisfied with life. Maintaining social connections can even lengthen your lifespan and lower your risk of mental and physical health concerns, including depression and high blood pressure. Some friendships might not have such a positive effect..
What is a toxic friendship
There are times when friendships become so consuming that they begin to affect our lives negatively. These friendships are referred to as toxic friendships. In toxic friendships, this friend turns all of the time and attention to themselves. They leave very little room for your needs. They may make you feel as though there is something wrong with you and suggest that you change who you are. These friendships sap away at your energy and emotions, and it is important to get out of them as soon as you can. It will not be easy, but with the support of other friends, family, or a therapist, it can be made easier.
What are the warning sign of a toxic friendship.
If you’re not sure the friendship is healthy—it just feels off somehow—watch (and feel) for signs. If someone is always draining your energy with their endless complaints, there is a reason for it.
The signs of a toxic friend can include:
1. You’re Being Manipulated.
Speaking from a general perspective when we want to manipulate someone, we want them to do things our way. A very common form of manipulation is where someone makes a smaller request and eventually, that smaller request over time becomes something much bigger than the initial request. Sound familiar? You’ve probably had someone like this in your life before. Most of us have.
2. You’re Being Lied To.
We all know those people that are lying straight through their teeth to make themselves appear more captivating to individuals. Most of the time we just keep our mouths shut to avoid any conflict between ourselves and the individual, it just seems easier that way. However, if we are subjecting ourselves to people that are generally lying to others, maybe it’s time we ditch those that aren’t satisfied enough with themselves to be honest and truthful friends. Like they say, honesty is the best policy.
3. They’re Self Centered.
It is not hard to tell when someone just simply cares about themselves, but just in case you missed the signs, they show very little concern for others and plenty of concern for themselves. They never ask about others and just simply go on and on about themselves. They may pretend to care for all of 10 seconds by asking how you are and what not, but very soon after they’re telling story after story about themselves. It’s more concerning to them that you know about their lives than for them to know about yours.
4. The Relationship is One-sided:
When you find yourself doing most of the work in a relationship, that’s a huge negative no matter what. We are only disappointing ourselves by setting these unrealistic expectations for someone. We personally provide them with something we know they can’t return. So as human beings, why do we keep these kinds of friends? Maybe we should reflect on our own confidence and try to understand that we are worth more than a friend that can’t provide us with the love and support we need from them.
5. You’re Almost Always in Constant Conflict.
Being in a toxic friendship doesn’t always mean that someone in the relationship is a bad human being. It just so happens that sometimes our lives are headed in completely different directions so the friendship itself becomes toxic. We fight with our friends here and there, but there’s way more to conflict than just simply fighting with each other. Schedules become an issue, relationships with others become an issue, work becomes an issue, basically anything in life that you both have becomes an issue. A healthy relationship will work around these situations in order to maintain the friendship, otherwise it’s not a healthy relationship.
It’s important for us to remember that it’s okay to let go of friendships that just simply aren’t working, forcing these relationships only makes it intolerable for both parties.
What Are Characteristics Of A Supportive Friend?
Usually, the most supportive friends are those that start in the casual friend category, and over time grows and deepens. A supportive friend is someone who understands who you are and what you need. You will quickly learn that they will be with you through thick and thin. You both will go through some tough times and some very good times. However, a simple thing such as a fight isn’t going to hold you two back from a healthy friendship. Instead, you two will learn and grow from your fight and come out stronger from it. Even in your worst of days, a supportive friend will be there for you.
They may not always agree with your decisions or opinions, but they care deeply for you. They will stand up for you to anyone that may try to cross or hurt you. They are loyal and trustworthy. You will not need to question where you stand in your friendship with them, as they will remind you frequently with their actions just how important you are to them. A supportive friend is the most important kind of friend to go through life with. Whether you live together or are thousands of miles apart, a truly supportive friendship will feel secure and overall just good, with both of you knowing that you are appreciated, validated, and loved by the other whether you talk often or not.
Can you fix a toxic relationship?
We all grow and change throughout our lives, and it’s neither realistic nor healthy to expect to stay friends with everyone. If you no longer share interests or a mindset with someone, it’s okay to be honest with yourself and them that your friendship was great but has had its time.
It is possible to mend a toxic relationship in certain instances — and when each partner is committed to trying. The relationship must become healthy and mutually beneficial for any potential to continue. If possible, meeting with a counsellor is a great step to take.
In the end…
Friendships are essential to help us grow and enjoy life. Most friends are important enough to us that we’re willing to overlook their flaws, just as they overlook ours. Some relationships, though, can’t be sustained in a healthy way. If you’re in a toxic friendship, someone who takes advantage of you or doesn’t treat you well, it might be time to put yourself first and set the limits you need.
Learning how to handle toxic individuals is an essential skill in today’s world. Identifying the toxic and then deciding to end it can be challenging , and it’s completely normal to need a little extra support at any part of the process. A therapist can help you begin exploring your feelings about the friendship and consider options for ending it or repairing it. Don’t hesitate to book an appointment with one of our experienced counsellor.