7 Signs You're In A Toxic Friendship
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Politics and Activism

7 Signs You're In A Toxic Friendship

Don't be swept up by the fun and games - sometimes it's hard to realize when a friend is not really your friend.

7 Signs You're In A Toxic Friendship
Blogspot - Heathers

There is often great emphasis on ending abusive romantic relationships, but not as many conversations take place in regards to abusive friendships, which are definitely just as important. Your friends should be there to support and guide you through your life, and if they’re spreading more negativity than positivity, it’s probably not a good friendship. Sometimes they’ll do or say things that have you wondering if it’s even a friendship at all. As someone who has unfortunately been a part of a number of toxic friendships (thankfully all over now), I’m sharing some of the warning signs I noticed and urging you to reflect on your own friendships and make sure they’re really that, and not something more poisonous to your life.

1. You’re dragging yourself to hang out with them.

Everyone wants alone time. Everyone can get tired of someone if they've spent a lot of time together recently. But when you groan at every impending plan you have to hang with your "pal" and find yourself making every possible excuse to avoid them, maybe they're not really your pal. Friends should be fun to hang out with. It's not supposed to be a chore.

2. You can't trust them.

Trust is one of the most important foundations of any relationship. If yours is lacking it, it’s time to really question the quality and solidity of this friendship. If you have to choose your words wisely for fear they’ll be spread, assume your secrets will be shared with others, or if you feel embarrassed thinking your friend will make fun of you for sharing something with them, reconsider this friendship.

3. They make you feel bad about yourself.

Your friends should be the ones making you feel good. While there will be so many people you encounter who try to tear you down, your friends should be your pillars. There are teasing insults and then there are veiled jabs. There's crankiness and then there's resentment. Maybe they poke fun at something that offends you. Maybe they know it offends you and they don't apologize. Maybe they don't directly say anything but you feel as though your every word is a burden on them, that they don't care or are annoyed by your conversations. Maybe you make a well meaning suggestion and they snap at you not to get involved. Regardless, the poison slowly seeps into your veins until you're feeling crappy most of the time you're with them.

4. They trash talk other people in your friend group....a lot.

It's fine to complain about each other now and then. After all, friends are like family, and even family can drive each other nuts at times. You still love each other. Except complaining should not be the bulk of your conversations. This is something I wish I'd realized sooner, and it may be less obvious. The fact is, if one of your friends devotes so much time to crapping over another person who they claim to be chummy with (or even someone you are friends with and they are not), that shows just how negative they are. And honestly, they're probably trash talking you as well.

5. They ignore things that are important to you.

Your friends don't need to agree with you on all matters and love all the same things you do, and the same the other way around. Some disagreement is healthy. But it's pretty inconsiderate of them to spit venom at something you enjoy, like your favorite band (it's fine if you don't like them but stop insulting them every time I bring them up or play their music). Or to skip your birthday party for no real reason. Or to deliberately cross your boundaries just for fun- for example, I don't like people touching my things. One friend of mine stole a book out of my bag and the next day I found it torn and wet on the floor by my locker. When I confronted the friend, she just sniggered at me. That should have been a flashing warning sign that something was off. Which leads me to-

6. They're abusing/bullying you.

This doesn't have to be serious physical violence (though it certainly can be), but I've experienced my share of abuse from friends. I've had my possessions stolen or destroyed as a "joke", personal secrets spread to the entire school populus, been locked out of rooms, prank called, and literally shoved, sat on while I gasped for air, or punched. Sometimes the roughhousing was too much for me and my pleas to stop were often ignored and I would end up injured.

One day, a couple of friends called me to tell me they'd made a voodoo doll of me and were tearing it to shreds and did I feel anything? Another time one of them stole my diary out of my bag and started passing it around in gym class while I cried after it. One put ice in my backpack, and when I retaliated by doing the same, she showed up on my doorstep hiding behind her mother, who screamed at me for bullying and attacking her innocent child. To be "fair", that was in sixth grade, but she continued to play victim and dramatize events to others for the rest of the years I knew her.

7. You don't bring out the good in each other.

In fact, maybe you bring out the worst. In a friendship, you encourage each other's interests, talents, aspirations. You shouldn't look down on each other. You don't turn everything into a competition. You shouldn't pick arguments over irrelevant things just to prove you're better at arguing.

Remember, sometimes your friend can exhibit some of these signs but still come off as a good person. Maybe they constantly borrow your stuff, ruin it, and don’t apologize, but another time they show up at your house with candy and a movie when you’re upset. Maybe they spread your secrets but then stay up late helping you with homework. As in any toxic relationship, it doesn’t always have to be all bad – but a little bit of bad is enough. Your friends shouldn’t be treating you like garbage. Your friends should make you happy. So if you’re experiencing any of these things (or even other negative things you’ve noticed), perhaps it’s time to break it off.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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