“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies””, Aristotle once noted wisely. How great it is when there’s a person close to you who believes in you, understands your worries and anxieties, whose help and support you can count on in difficult times.
However, no matter how many songs and books are written about friendship, there are situations when it brings devastation, inner anxiety, guilt, or simply deprives one of their strength.
If this is how you feel after talking to a loved one, then it’s time to talk about relationships that aren’t beneficial, but cruelly destructive – about a toxic friendship.
These are the signs.
- By twos, Count off!
And you’re number two… And the problems, the desires, the ideas, the achievements of the other party come first. They can talk about them for hours. They’re important. But when you start to share your thoughts and concerns, the conversation quickly “collapses”, or again moves onto the subjects of the “number one”.
- Nothing special
You start sharing your successes, victories with a friend, and in response you hear: “Well, it’s nothing special …”, “You just got lucky”, “Who knows what’s gonna happen next”, etc. … Over and over again you see that no one is going to be happy about your achievements. Your happy emotions are devalued, and victories cause open displeasure.
- I’d rather not say anything
You don’t tell your friend about new acquaintances, successful purchases, interesting parties, because you are afraid to upset them, cause displeasure, hear malicious and scornful jokes.
Alas, if you have to carefully choose your words, “filter” information and anxiously wait for their reaction when you talk to them, that’s a very bad symptom.
- Boundaries? Never heard of them.
A friend is bored, and they’re constantly distracting you from work. They buy two tickets to a rock concert, not interested in your tastes, plans and, in the end, finances. Criticize your partner. Creep into your personal space. Talks about how you should look, dress, where to work and what to do.
All of the above are signs of blatant violation of boundaries.
- And you call yourself a friend
You are not forgiven for saying no. As soon as you begin to defend your boundaries, to say no, you are accused of heartlessness and selfishness. Even if you refuse for a very good, good reason, you are still pouted at and they’re muttering under your breath: “And you call yourself a friend …”
- At least I’m being honest
Of course, we’ve heard that “the enemies tell a sweet lie, and true friends tell a bitter truth,” but everything should be in moderation.
If your friend constantly criticizes you, tactlessly points out your shortcomings, often and with pleasure recalls the ridiculous situations where you were the protagonist, then this is more like frank humiliation, rather than “honest truth from a friend”.
- Competitive spirit
Are you happy with the purchase of a new car? A loved one immediately wants to buy one too, except not like yours, but cooler. Did you celebrate your birthday in a cute cafe? So, theirs will be in a cool restaurant. Are you pleased with your weekly trip to Spain? So, the friend will definitely go on a month-long Europe tour.
And all this with a mandatory demonstration in the context: look, look, I’m cooler than you!
- And a little intuition
Stop and listen to yourself. Are you trying to spend less time with your friend? Are you waiting for their call or arrival with inexplicable anxiety? When they leave, do you exhale with relief? And then feel like a squeezed lemon all day? If the answers are “yes”, then the answer is obvious: it is a toxic friendship.
Of course, it’ s up to you to decide how long you will stay “friends” like that for. But don’t forget that in addition to toxic friends, there are also real ones who respect, support and love you just for who you are.