Having toxic friends is an unfortunate thing that can and will happen to anyone. In some cases, something like this happening is just unavoidable and is beyond your control. What you can do, however, is to pinpoint it and eliminate them from your life as soon as possible. It may sound terrible, but it’s the most beneficial thing for you in the long run.
The even more unfortunate thing is that a lot of people are stuck in a relationship with a toxic friend without even knowing that their friend is toxic. Therefore, it is just as important to pinpoint a toxic friend as it is to know how to get out of that friendship. Having said that, read on to know the telltale signs of a toxic friend and what you should to do get out of it.
Signs of a Toxic Friend
A lot of toxic people share a couple of personality traits that range from subtle to blatantly obvious. Here are some of the most telltale signs you’ll find in toxic friends. Get to know them to see if some of your friends are toxic or not.
They bad-mouth your other friends to you
One of the most common signs of a toxic person is they bad-mouth your other friends to you. They will always find something bad or wrong to say about them. These words can range from minor nitpicking to outright offensive.
The main reason toxic friends do this is to make you feel like they’re better than your other friends. They will manipulate you into thinking they’re the only decent friend you have. That way, most of your time and effort will be focused on them. A good friend won’t bother bad-mouthing your other friends, otherwise they’re being harmful towards you.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is that if they’re so comfortable bad-mouthing other people around you, what’s to say she isn’t doing the same thing to other people, but the bad-mouthing is directed towards you?
Toxic friends are very insensitive towards your feelings. They will rarely be mindful or tactful about your feelings. They won’t bother to watch their words and whether or not it will be perceived as hurtful and offensive by others. What’s important for them is that they have something to say and they’ll say it no matter what.
If your friend has said things in the past that have hurt you, time and time again, then you have yourself a toxic friend.
Aside from being insensitive, a toxic friend will also be very inconsiderate. They will not stop to consider what you want or how you’re feeling, the only thing that matters to them is what they want and how they’re feeling. Take note of the following scenarios:
If you’ve ever been placed in multiple situations where you feel uncomfortable just because a friend has forced you to be in that situation with them, that’s a red flag already. If a friend has suddenly canceled a plan you have been planning and exerted effort on for a while, that’s a massive inconsideration on their part. If these ring true for you, then you have a toxic friend in your circle.
They keep talking about themselves
In most cases for a toxic person, they will feel as if the world revolves around them. They’re the main character in this story and you’re just playing a minor part in it. They love to indulge you with stories from their lives and tell you about the things that have been happening with them lately. They will never ask about you.
While it’s okay to talk about yourself, it becomes bad when that’s all a person does. It becomes bad when they keep on talking about themselves but they never bother asking you how you’re doing or if things have been good or bad for you.
They try to change you to be more like them
One of the most frustrating things about toxic people is that they will try to change you to be more like them. If there are things they’re interested in which you’re not, they will go the extra mile to ensure you’ll eventually enjoy those things as well. They will force their preferences on you, whether you like it or not.
In the most awful of cases, those who stick with toxic people for far too long will lose the sense of who they really are. They’ll pretend to enjoy things they don’t really enjoy. They’ll force themselves to do things they find horrible. Don’t be that person.
They constantly take advantage of you
If you’re the kind of person who does nice things for other people, then good for you. That’s what a good friend is being all about. However, be wary of toxic people. Toxic people tend to seek out those who are decent, kind, and giving, so they can constantly take advantage of them.
A toxic friend will take advantage of your generosity, kindness, thoughtfulness, and warmth. It’s almost as if the only reason they have for being your friend is because you constantly provide things or do favors for them. They will rarely reciprocate. If they ever do, it’s only because they have another favor to ask from you.
They don’t bring you up
A toxic friend will feel almost threatened with the idea of you progressing in life. They will almost never bring you up and congratulate you on your successes. Instead, they’ll focus on your failures and your negatives. They won’t cheer you up and encourage you to do great things. They will want you to remain as you are now.
This is because they’re afraid they might get left behind if you become too successful. They will go out of their way to bring you down to their level so you will always be their friend. That way, they can keep taking advantage of you.
They criticize more than they praise
A continuation of the previous point, a toxic friend will criticize more than they will ever praise. They will remain silent or attempt to bring you down whenever you’re excelling at something, but do something horrible and they will waste no time in pointing it out.
They will take the chance to criticize you whenever the opportunity comes up. They love to remind you of your past mistakes as well. It’s almost as if the idea of you failing is something satisfying to them. This is not how a friend acts; it’s how an enemy who hates you acts. If you have a friend like this, let go of them without hesitation and guilt.
You’re doing most of the work
A one-sided friendship is a telltale sign of being friends with a toxic person. If you feel like you’re the one doing most of the work to keep the friendship alive, you should take that as a serious sign.
What this means is that you’re the one making the most effort so you and your friend can hang out. You spend the most amount of money and time. You’re the one who goes out of your way to do something nice for the other person and they don’t even show a hint of appreciation. You would go the extra mile but the other person won’t even take a couple of steps for you.
Whenever they do something nice for you, they’ll expect you to reciprocate
A toxic friend does have a few moments where they actually go out of their way to do something nice for you. They’ll sometimes give you a gift or take you to a place you actually want to go to. A toxic friend can do this just as a regular, nice, and decent friend would. However, the main difference with a toxic friend is that the only reason for them doing is this is because they need something from you in return.
That person will only do nice things for you because they want you to reciprocate. They will rarely or never do nice things for you just because they want to, or because you deserve it, or to show appreciation. It’s an awful truth, but it’s the truth for a lot of people nonetheless.
Letting Go of a Toxic Friend
If you do have a toxic friend in your life, then that is very unfortunate. The good thing is that you are now aware of their existence and how negatively they can impact your life. The next step to take now is to finally let them go. It’s easy to just leave them hanging and “ghost” them, as they say, but for the sake of closure and your own peace of mind, it’s better to do this properly.
That said, here are the things you should do to properly let go of a toxic friend.
Start saying no
The first step to eventually letting go of a toxic friend is to start saying no. Whenever they ask you to do something for them, learn to reject their demands. They’ll be taken aback, and maybe they’ll even force you to do what they want, but just keep saying no.
Learn your value and respect yourself. Put yourself first. Stop caring about what your toxic friend wants and start thinking about what you deserve. Even if it frustrates them, that’s okay. You’re doing this for yourself and not for the toxic friend you’re trying to let go of.
Keep working on yourself
If your toxic friend feels threatened whenever you catch even the slightest hints of success, don’t be bothered by it. Keep on working on yourself and do your best to reach your goals. Let them watch you rise up to the best version of yourself.
If your friend brings you down whenever you do something good, just laugh at it and move on. Strive harder and drown out their criticisms. It’ll do wonders for your mental health and for your personal goals.
Rise above the toxicity
A toxic friend will add nothing to the table but… toxic. This toxicity will circle your life and fill you with doubt and problems. Having said that, do your best to rise above the toxicity by not paying mind to the wolf cries of your toxic friend. Ignore them until their words become white noise to you.
Rise above the toxicity and eventually, you’ll be so far removed from the toxic person disguising themselves as your friend that your social and mental life will actually become brighter.
Let them know how you’re feeling
If that toxic friend truly persists and keeps on coming back in your life despite your efforts of moving as far away from them as possible, then your next approach should be honesty. Just be honest with them and let them know how you actually feel. Better yet, let them know how they’re making you feel.
Tell them, with all the kindness and politeness in the world, that they’re being toxic towards you. Remind them of the things they had you do or the things they’ve forced on you. Tell them of the times they’ve made you uncomfortable, all the times they’ve offended and hurt you.
Let them go easy
Finally, it is also important that you let them go easy. While it’s best to be honest with them, there’s no need to be hurtful about it. Remain genuine and kind despite being hurt way too constantly. Be the bigger person throughout all this.
Even if their words have hurt you in the past, there’s no need to return this awful favor. Let them go easy and your mind and conscience will be at ease. The situation may also come back and haunt you later on if you decide to let them go harshly. Avoid this by being the better person.
Having a toxic friend is an awful situation. Thankfully, it’s a situation you can easily get out of if you know what to do. As soon as you have awareness of the situation, making the effort to get out of it should be easy and natural.
You also shouldn’t really feel bad for losing a friend if they’re toxic to you. This is what’s best for you, there’s no need to feel guilty about it. Having toxic friends in your life can seriously ruin your self-esteem. That’s not a trait you want to have. Just follow the steps above and slowly let go of the toxicity that’s circling your life and your social life should be healthier and lovelier.