Toxic Friend Alert || Red Flags You Shouldn’t Ignore In Your Friendship
Red flags are commonly associated with romantic relationships, but unfortunately, they can also apply to our friendships. However, there are instances when we choose to turn a blind eye, not yet ready to confront the pain and release someone we once considered a friend. But let’s admit it, holding onto a toxic relationship can be more painful than letting it go.
Life already presents us with numerous challenges, and the friendships we cultivate should ideally alleviate stress, not add to it. Unhealthy friendships, on the other hand, hurt our mental and emotional well-being.
That said, you need to learn which friendship deserves your time and effort and which doesn’t by identifying any red flags that may be present. And yea this isn’t an easy task, especially with long-term established bonds. So to make it easier for you to spot them, here are some indicators of a toxic friendship and how to deal with them.
1 || Full-Time Negativity
No, neither you nor your friends are obligated to maintain constant positivity and cheerfulness. In fact, this can sometimes lead to a toxic form of forced positivity. It’s important to express our genuine feelings, even if they are negative or down, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to constantly dwell on complaints.
So if your friend spends their days constantly complaining, criticizing, or engaging in gossip, it might be time to reassess your friendship.
2 || Competitive Behaviors
A genuine friend will always celebrate your happy moments and success as it is hers. However, if your friend is always putting you down, wants to be a step ahead of you, or proves that she is the best then you need to re-evaluate your friendship. Another toxic behavior to be aware of is if she’s always trying to make herself the center of attention.
3 || Lack of Reciprocity
Any healthy relationship should be built on mutual respect, support, and trust. When it is always you who puts in the effort and takes the initiative without the other person seeming to be involved, it might be a sign of a one-sided friendship.
4 || Manipulation
One of the signs of a healthy friendship is that both sides matter. It’s never only about one side. A good friend would respect your boundaries and take your preferences, feedback, and input into consideration before making decisions.
However, if your friend is always trying to do things their way and push their agenda on you then you need to take a step back and reflect.
5 || Frequent Flakiness
It feels very satisfying when you know that your friend is always there for you. You are a priority to them like they are to you. If your friend puts you last and has the habit of canceling or rescheduling your plans at the last minute all the time, it can be a friendship red flag that you shouldn’t ignore.
6 || Emotional Exhaustion
A healthy friendship should heal you emotionally, not the other way around. Friendships should be a source of nourishment, bringing out the best in us. Therefore, if you find yourself feeling drained or exhausted when you’re around your friends, or even afterward, it could be an indication of a toxic friendship.
How To Deal?
Be honest and clear. You need to talk with your friend about what you’re feeling. Yes, these kinds of conversations are uncomfortable but there is no other way to resolve your friendship. You both need to be open to build a stronger bond. And when you talk, remember to stay curious, not defensive. Observe, don’t accuse. Use “I” statements like “I feel…” instead of “you always” or “you never.”