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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Until I made this list, I didn't realize how absurdly close my roommate and I were. #sorrynotsorry
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Let's be real: you and your roommate have said these things at least one to each other.

1. "Can you turn the light off?"

2. "We probably shouldn't go out for dinner again...right?"

*Complains about not having money* *Spends $8 on Chipotle three times a week*

3. "I always pick where we go"

This is a fight you have with your roommate almost every day when you're roommate is as indecisive as mine.

4. "Do you have my keys?"

5. "Can you pick me up?"

6. "Is it hot in here?"

7. "Does this outfit look stupid?"

The answer is usually yes. No offense.

8. "Can you throw this out for me?"

9. "Can we get ice cream?"

10. "I need coffee."

This text is usually sent when you know your roomie is out running errands... errands you know are near a Starbucks.

11. "Can you tell me what happened?"

12. "Are you asleep?"

There have been times where I couldn't tell if you were asleep or dead... and I had to say this out loud to check if you were alive.

13. "Check your DM's."

*Cracks up in the middle of nowhere* *Catches a weird stare from your roomie across the room*

14. "Can you plug this in for me?"

15. "Can you pick a movie?"

Another instance where "I always pick" happens.

16. "Look at this girl's Instagram."

*Chucks phone across the room at roommate*

17. "Can you call me?"

18. "Can we meet up?"

19. "Can you help me find my phone?"

*Tries to leave the house to do something* *Loses phone* Every. Time.

20. "What should we do tonight?"

*Tries to get ready to do something fun* *Ends up staying in for another girls' night*

21. "Why isn't everyone as great as us?"

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Cover Image Credit: Juliarose Genuardi

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Finding Your Niche In College Starts With Finding You

Attempting to be someone you are not for the sake of having company only hurts you in the long run.

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Transitioning to college is hard enough, but trying to find a place where you feel "at home" can make this time even more stressful. Here are some tips on how to find that place/group of people that make you feel like sunshine.

I have always felt a little out of place wherever I went, but it wasn't until college that I realized that this feeling was so special and more people should capitalize on their differences rather than conforming to a certain mold. Transitioning to college and finding your place among so many people can be very overwhelming. The added stress of attempting to be someone you aren't for the sake of having company adds a whole other layer to this problem. The easiest thing for me to do in any situation like this is trying to make the setting a little smaller. One of the most obvious ways to do this on a college campus is by getting involved!

It is inevitable that within the first few weeks of the semester at any college, there will be an organization fair. This is a chance to scope out all that your school has to offer! Chances are there will be some type of group or club that lines up with your interests. Most college campuses have extracurricular opportunities ranging from social sororities and fraternities, professional ones, intermural sports, vocal groups, and so many more. You are more than likely going to find some type of organization that you can call home if you seek them out. Joining an organization is such an easy way to interact with people with similar interests. An interest can bring two completely different people together and create some beautiful friendships. It is situations like this where it is important to be your authentic self and mingle with those you share something with.

That being said, finding your place in college isn't always about being involved. Getting involved on campus is just one of the simplest ways to start. There are so many other opportunities on campus to meet people whether it be among others in your residence hall, people in your classes, or just people you find yourself stumbling upon! Finding people to spend your time with is easy; however, you should make it a point to surround yourself with people who bring you up.

Once you have a set group of people that you find yourself spending time with, it is important to pay attention to the way you feel when you're around them. If you find yourself feeling bad about yourself or get the impression that you need to change something in order to "fit in," chances are the people you're around are not the best for you or your self-esteem. It is important to surround yourself with people who allow you to feel comfortable in your own skin. That being said, you also want people who encourage you to make good decisions and help you reach your goals. People who encourage toxic behavior in your life might be fun in the short term, but in the grand scheme of things, you need to be surrounded by people with your best interest in mind. Essentially, surrounding yourself with people who influence you to be your best self is one of the best decisions you can make short and long term.

The key to all of this is being conscious of your own feelings and needs. Pay attention to who reaches out to you to hang out. Notice the ones who pay attention to you as you speak when it feels like no one is listening. More than anything, be conscious of who you're with and where you're at when you experience moments of pure happiness. Life is too short to waste your precious time on people who don't build you up. Wouldn't you rather spend your time with more moments of pure joy than self-hate? Start living for you!

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