Toxic Friendships

Everyone has friends. We are close to them. We are influenced by them, and they are influenced by us. We trust them with our secrets. Each meeting with them brings something special to you, it makes you happy, it makes your relationship tighter. However, the reality is that some friendships are not filled with this happiness and closeness. It can be hard to spot these types of friendships and even harder to break the connection, and due to this many people put up with these friendships as the pain of letting those people go is overwhelming. Keeping these toxic friendships is detrimental to your development as an individual and to your mental health. There are several signs that could point towards you being in a toxic relationship however, it is important to note that these signs may be a one-off as the person could be having a bad day. If these signs are continuous and occur frequently, chances are you are in a toxic relationship.

These are some of the signs that a person is in a toxic relationship:

1.They have crossed the line with what they said, and they have not apologised. Everyone gets angry. It's normal for a person to get angry and some things may be said in the heat of the moment. A toxic friend would say these things and start talking to you as if nothing happened whereas a good friend would realise what they said and would try making amends. 

2. They’d ask you for favours but when you ask them for favours, you’ll get excuses on why they can’t do it. There may be a genuine reason but if it occurs most of the time when you ask them for a favour, that’s when you need to be cautious 

3. They wouldn’t celebrate or be interested in your achievements and success: They may also be jealous or question how you earned your achievements. 

4. Friendships are built on trust and if there’s no trust, there should be no friendship: Your friends may promise to do something with you but at the last second, they back out. As said before there may be a legitimate reason, but if you are constantly being let down by them, your trust in them slowly diminishes and it shows that something is wrong

5.You don’t feel right with them: Whenever you hang out with them or get messages from them, you may not feel happy and instead, you dread to be around them. And hanging out with them may feel like a job that you are getting no pay for.  A good friend wouldn’t make you feel this way. 

6.You might feel like you can’t be yourself around them: If you do you fear how they react. You adjust your opinions and the way you act to their liking so you can be accepted by them. 

7.They always criticise you but not constructively: A good friend would criticise then advise you, so you become a better individual. A bad friend would criticise you to make them feel better.

8.You make excuses for them: If they have done or said something bad to someone or to you, you may find for them an excuse for acting the way they did, but inside you know they had no reason to act like that. 

So, you know some of the signs that you are in a toxic relationship. It's unhealthy for you to remain in the friendship and so now you need to do something about it. The best thing to do is to confront them and discuss the issues you have with them. The response you get from doing this will give you a sign on whether to drop them or to try and maintain a good friendship with them. If they are willing to sit down with you and accept what you are saying, and if both of you wish to continue the friendship, you’ll find that you are growing closer to them and feeling much happier around them. On the other hand, they may shut you down and they may say there’s nothing to discuss or they may get angry for you saying such things. This is your sign to cut off your ties with them. You shouldn’t feel bad for breaking your friendship with them as they probably didn’t care about you in the first place. You need to surround yourself with people who make you happy, who want to spend time with you, who lift your spirits up.

You do have to check yourself as if your friendship is taking a turn for the worse and none of the signs is in your friend, it could be that you are being the toxic friend. The important thing is to take a look in the mirror and realise that you are being toxic and fix yourself.

Aakif Mohamed