5 Warning Signs You're In A Toxic Friendship

5 Warning Signs You're In A Toxic Friendship

Because life's too short to spend it with people who don't value who you are.

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Coming into college, I thought I was going to make the best friendships to last a lifetime. I had already known my roommates before coming to campus and was excited to join new clubs and organizations meeting new people to form relationships with. Good friends are vital for our well-being and give support in times of need. However, once a friend starts sapping your energy and undermining your self-esteem, it might be time for an honest conversation. Below are some warning signs of toxic friendships and how to address difficult situations.

1. If they attempt to control you, it's better leave them now.

I've always found it difficult to leave friends who wanted me to conform to certain standards of society in order to "fit in". Wanting to be popular in high school, I remember girls placing unreasonable demands on me to control what I wore, which classes I took, and who I hung out with. Realizing that my time was more important than meeting other's demands, I cut off toxic friendships in order to be myself.

It was hard. I became lonely.

While controllers can be hard to spot and confront, it is better to be open and honest with a friend about how you feel than to start believing lies and stories. If a friend insists on being in charge of what you do or where you go, he or she is not worthy of your friendship. You are in charge of your life choices and deserve the right to make your own decisions. Real friends will respect the choices you make no matter if they agree or not.

Being in college, I have realized that freedom and independence are a luxury. I enjoy having free time to myself and hanging out with people who have the same values as me. On the other hand, if a friend starts to be demanding or acting entitled, I will choose to leave an unhealthy relationship to keep my own personal opinions and values in check. You should never feel inferior because of your own beliefs, and true friends should be understanding of your viewpoints.

2. If you begin to feel isolated, something is up.

On a similar note, controlling friends can also try to stop you from making new relationships. An easy way to find out if you're engaged in a toxic relationship is to evaluate if you're hanging out with the same people all the time. As for me, when I find a group of people I'm comfortable being around, it is hard for me to reach out and form other deep relationships when I have a close group of friends. Sometimes I don't even notice this isolating influence until I realize that other friends and family members have drifted away.

Don't get me wrong, having a close friend group is perfectly OK. However, when one person decides to take charge and leave out other members of a group, things may start to change. True friends seek to include everyone in a conversation to form close, unique bonds and grow closer to one another. Controllers look for ways to manipulate you into spending all your time with certain people and get angry when you have other friends. Some may even resort to peer pressure and take advantage of you to get what they want. If this is happening to you, seek out help and get out of the toxic relationship.

3. If they don't listen to you, they aren't worth your time.

I'll admit I like to take charge of certain situations and be a leader when it comes to making plans for a large group of people. What makes me upset, however, is when participants decide not to respond or choose to ignore what I have to say. Toxic friends, rarely, if ever, listen to one's problems or concerns. When I am trying to form new friendships, I look for people who will be loyal and listen. Friends share their worries with one another and believe in mutual understanding.

This can also go along with one-sided friendships where one person is initiating most of the communication or has never returned a favor. If you're the one making most of the plans to spend quality time together and go out of your way to show love and affection for another friend, chances are you're in a one-sided friendship.

4. If they envy your success, they'll never be truly happy.

Everyone likes to be praised for what they achieve, and true friends should be the first to congratulate you on your successes in life. Toxic friends can't and won't share your happiness with other people because of their own jealousy. You are not responsible for your friend's successes and can only achieve what dreams you set out to come true. Success does not come easy. I have to work hard to make good grades and pay for my finances to attain my goals. I wish my true friends would be happy for my successes and inspire me to keep moving forward.

5. If they don't keep in touch, it's their loss.

While it's impossible for friends to always be together, it's imperative to keep in touch with one another. Sending a simple text or agreeing to make a phone call once a week makes a huge difference. I regret not keeping some of my friendships because I decided to isolate myself from certain conversations I didn't want to have with another person.

When involved in the conflict, however, it is important to be upfront and honest so that the situation doesn't get worse. If the toxic friend has no interest in maintaining his or her relationship with you, it is his or her loss. You shouldn't feel ashamed of your own decisions and there will always be more people to form relationships with.

To the toxic friends that bring you down: thank u, next.

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Turning 'I'm Sorry' Into 'Thank You'

A process of self-awareness I think everyone should consider.

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My entire life I've been apologetic.

I use apologies far too often in my daily life. Whether it be to someone holding the door for me even though I'm still ten feet from the door or my interrupting the custodian cleaning my hall's bathroom. From stepping on my friend's toes to bumping into someone in line at Starbucks.

I think as children, we are taught that apologizing for our actions wipes away the consequences from those actions. In past relationships, I have relied on apologies to make myself feel better about how I've made others feel instead of actually using them to improve my actions.

For me, it has just become something ingrained in my personality. I've noticed that it has become a reflex rather than a conscious response. What I've realized recently is that this is something I can change.

Apologies are helpful when mending hurtful or accidental situations, especially when you find yourself in the wrong, but not everything deserves an, "I'm sorry," and using that phrase for every accidental encounter or mistake, in my eyes, lessens its impact.

If we all use, "I'm sorry," for every minor inconvenience we cause, the words become less meaningful.

I have read about this online a lot lately, and it is suggested that instead of apologizing, we should give thanks.

If I'm late for a date with my friends, the old me would've said, "I'm SO sorry, guys!" But the new me will say, "Thank you for waiting for me."

Instead of apologizing to our (wonderful) custodians, I'll say, "Thank you so much for the work you do here every day."

If someone is kind enough to hold the door for me, even though I'm nowhere near it, I won't apologize for inconveniencing them. Instead, I will take the time to appreciate the fact that they were kind enough to do so, despite my distance from the door.

I think that this is a process everyone can benefit from, so long as they are willing to be conscious of their thoughts and the words they speak. By replacing, "I'm sorry," with an expression of gratitude, we can develop a more positive mindset and reserve apologies for situations that deserve them.

We can also use those rare apologies to remind us to improve our actions; if we hurt someone, we don't get to decide that we didn't or invalidate their feelings. We can then meaningfully apologize and allow it to inherently change our behavior.


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