If someone asked you to imagine a toxic friend, you would probably think about the “Mean Girls” or the stereotypical backstabbing friends you see in movies and shows. We expect a toxic friend to show warning signs or, at the absolute least, manipulating qualities that we would spot from a mile away. And, we would notice these right away and not be friends with these kinds of people, but apparently, this is not the case in real life. And we decide we will never be that friend.
But as time passes, you notice your friend circle has narrowed down. You think your friends changed and so on. You blame it on them because you can never be toxic, right? But what we don’t understand is you don’t have to be evil or manipulative to be a toxic friend; if your actions hurt the people you love, and you’re ok with it, that’s toxic. Sometimes we don’t know we’re upsetting the people we care about until it’s too late.
So, here are some warning signs that you might be turning into a toxic friend :
You’re inconsiderate :
Healthy friendships are built on mutual agreement and compromise, but you always get what you want when it comes to you and your buddies. When they don’t agree with you or what you want to do, you act unreasonably until they have no choice but to give in. You don’t even listen to them when they try to explain themselves. Instead, you cancel plans at the last minute, and insist on doing things your way, even if it means putting them in danger. When was the last time you paused to consider how your actions might impact them? If you can’t recall, it demonstrates how thoughtless of a friend you’ve been to them and this is toxic behavior.
You’re controlling :
Another way you may be harming your friendships without recognizing, is by becoming overly possessive of them. You treat them like your property and forget that they are their person when you try to tell them what to do, who they can spend time with, and make their decisions for them. You’re worried about being left behind, so you’d like to know what their plans are and what they do when they’re not with you. You’re afraid that they’ll make better friends and then refuse to remain with you. You need to realize that there are boundaries, and you need to respect your friends’ boundaries too. And, if this controlling behavior doesn’t change they’ll probably wave you goodbye.
You belittle your friends :
Even though you know it hurts your friend, you often make unpleasant comments about them. And this is toxic behavior even if you’re showing tough love or joking. If you are continuously putting others down, take a step back and consider how your conduct reflects on you. You should feel comfortable being yourself in a healthy friendship, not scared that your friends would make you feel horrible about yourself. Friendship is about supporting each other not tearing each other down. And you’re probably the toxic friend if you’re the one who makes your friend feel insecure about themselves.
You Talk More About Yourself than them :
Consider the last several talks you had with your friends. Was it more about you or them? Are you the one who usually does the majority of the talking? Do you ever interrupt someone in the middle of a sentence? Or show interest with a “That sounds lovely” or “Oh, I see what you mean,” to bring the conversation back to you? Even if you don’t mean to, this type of self-centered behavior demonstrates that you are more concerned with yourself than with your friend. When you don’t create a proper balance in your friendship, it can soon spiral out of control and become toxic for them. Instead, adopt a healthy listening habit, and try to let them talk their feelings out without feeling judged.
You’re not happy about their success :
If you can’t celebrate your friends’ success, it could indicate that you regard them as more of a competitor than a friend. Although it’s natural to be envious of others from time to time, it’s never a good idea to be so jealous of your pals that you can’t rejoice in their achievements. Instead of rooting for them and cheering them on as a good friend would, you find yourself competing against them and secretly hoping to see them fail. And the more they succeed, the more bitter, insecure, and resentful you feel about them.
Regardless of how close you used to be, no one will stay in a friendship that brings them more sadness than joy and happiness. If you still care about your friends and don’t want them to leave your life, you must take charge and change your toxic behavior.
You might also like to read about Relationship Advice: Toxic Dating Habits To Let Go in 2020