Toxic relationships- we have all heard of them and most of us may also have first hand experience. The signs are easy to recognise- an overly controlling partner, narcissistic behaviour, attempts to guilt trip and so on. Once you know the signs, it is easy to break ties. But a toxic friendship, on the other hand, is not so easy to identify. The signs are subtle and hard to miss. Here are some pointers-
Have a friend who “helps” you out only to make remarks with snarky undertones? You know the one that makes you feel bad in the back of your head but you brush it off since your friend did you a “favor”. Yep, that. Anything said in good fun is different than these comments that keep troubling you.
2. Being the “victim”
Most toxic friendships work on this foundation. Your “friend” constantly keeps acting as the victim so you feel bad for them. This “friend’s” parents are a total nightmare, life is a mess, everyone else is out to “get them”. And you? You are their only saviour. Sounds familiar?
3. This friend “gossips”
Now I didn’t know how to put it any better. Let me give you an example- I had a friend who kept ranting about his/her other friends. For instance, he/she hung out with a couple of other people, happily. But when he/she used to talk with me- he/she would call one of them “a racist, homophobe, Islamaphobe and a hypocrite” and the other person (who is quite intelligent in my opinion) “a know it all”. At times I would ignore it but eventually I started seeing a pattern when this person would do this to everyone he/she hung out with.
4. They want all your time and attention
Even past midnight. Because they have no boundaries. So this friend will call or text you any time as if you are in this world only to serve them. To listen to their (non-existent) woes. In short, they are just constantly craving for your attention. So even if you are normally having a conversation, your friend is the talker and you are simply the listener.
5. Your friend doesn’t “share”
This was perhaps the last straw. At this point I realised how toxic this friend was for me. He/she never wanted me to talk or hang out with my other friends. And one time when he/she noticed that I had a disagreement with another friend, he/she used that opportunity to get me to break all ties. How? By simply adding more fuel to the fire and by trying to get physical unnecessarily.
Staying in toxicity is never a good choice. It messes up your mental health to a great extent. While most people advise you to leave a toxic relationship, we hardly ever talk about toxic friendships. And in a way, that is worse. Why? Because when you leave a toxic relationship, you want to be surrounded by friends that support you. And even in general, you need people who push you up. Not those who suck all your energy like a parasite.
It is best to recognise and separate yourself from such problematic relationships as soon as you see the first signs.