When you hear the word friendship, what comes to mind? For me, I feel free, completely unarmored. The thing about friendship is that you aren't obligated to deal with toxicity, as you sometimes may be within familial relationships. But in all honesty, I love the concept of friendship. A wholesome relationship, that involves no nonsense, no pressure, and no timeline. But we must keep in mind that when it comes to friendships, there is some basic human decency that everyone should have. But how do you know if you're in a toxic one?
The first thing I want to point out is that: yes, toxic friendships exist, and it's easy to forget this at times. A huge red flag for a crumbling relationship is when the person doesn't acknowledge your feelings. From going MIA during a time of need to just ignoring all of your voiced concerns, anyone who goes about any sort of relationship like this needs to GO. Because if someone can believe that they can be in a relationship, without having to reevaluate themselves once in a while for the sake of the other person, then they are mistaken. I like for my friends to call me out on my shit, as I do theirs. But the way a person reacts to criticism says a lot about them a person, and how they will treat you.
It's easy to forgive and forget in these situations because you think you have nothing to lose. But as time goes on, these things take a toll on you. Little by little, your confidence deteriorates, and you question yourself: "How am I supposed to be treated? Is this okay for them to say to me?" Your standards for respectful treatment fall very low, and before you know it, you find yourself seeking validation from anyone and everyone.
PSA: Your friend is NOT supposed to make you feel like crap constantly. They are not supposed to make you feel like you are a burden or a nuisance. And you may think that it's only a you problem. But go back to think about the people that make you feel happy to be alive, the people who make you feel grateful for life, the ones who you feel no apprehensions with. Now think back to the person in question. If they are worth any of your time, they will acknowledge you and your feelings; they will let you know that they care.
I know that every friendship has its own set of mutual understandings, but a good friend, won't make you feel like that-- and this goes for romantic relationships as well as platonic.
Sometimes, I wish that I was emotionless; almost selfish. That way, I wouldn't have to worry about my feelings, or anyone else. It'd save me a whole lot of trouble. I feel ashamed of how in touch I am with my emotions. And when I say that I'm in touch with them, I don't mean that I'm not insecure about all the things that I have. But then when I reconsider, I realize that I should be proud of (most of) my feelings. Because one thing that I've learned over my years of being a human is that every emotion is valid.
Every single one. It makes me remember, that if I feel something, then there's a reason for it. And if I feel something, then I can't just ignore it. There are definitely times where I have to shove my doubts back into myself, as they are detrimental to a friendship in the long run. But sometimes, the hunch proves to be true. It's easy to think that you might be overreacting, that you're too sensitive. But if you feel something, you're feeling it for a reason.
In a friendship, its harder to decipher red flags than it may be in a romantic relationship, as there are commitments involved there. But friends have different responsibilities towards each other. And nonetheless, there are expectations in any sort of relationship.
So, before you ignore that itching feeling, try facing it. And if you are in any type of toxic relationship, then take the steps to make your life more peaceful. It doesn't have to mean the cutting off of all ties. But, a little distance may prove to be beneficial.
So don't ignore your feelings, and speak up for yourself. Because there is no reason you should be putting up with anything less than you deserve.