The company we keep plays an important role in our lives. A good friendship should consist of the following characteristics; supportive, considerate, trustworthy, generous, honest and understanding. Great friends grow together. They should make you feel good inside. They share moments of joy and are great support systems.
But what about if your friend/s are toxic? Unfortunately many of us have experienced a toxic friendship. When a certain friendship becomes detrimental to your well-being and puts you in a negative space, you have to consider whether the friendship is worth maintaining or not. This is not an easy process especially when you extremely care for that person and once had a close friendship.
This is something that I’ve personally experienced. I found myself feeling like certain friendships became more like a chore. I never felt like they supported my endeavours and that they would project their insecurities onto me. Friends should never make you feel like you’re not good enough or that your feelings don’t matter. I often felt compelled to maintain our friendship because they have previously shown me care. But when I started to attract people in my life that were loving, considerate and caring, I realised how dysfunctional a few of my friendships were and decided that I had to make changes in order to preserve my well-being.
However, I have also been a toxic friend! As painful as it is to admit it, I am guilty of the very things I’ve experienced. We don’t like to admit when we are the problem however in order for us to grow, we have to hold ourselves accountable and live in our truth. I have been that jealous, un-supportive, bitchy, negative friend. The reasons why I was so toxic was because I was unsatisfied with the person I was inside. The way I treated others was mostly a reflection of how I felt about myself. When you are a toxic person, it’s common to believe that you’re a great friend who does little wrong. It’s very important that we sit with ourselves and analyse how we interact within our friendships. Admitting that you’ve made mistakes is the first step to becoming a better person and friend to those around you.
I’ve stood on both sides of the fence- being the toxic friend and having toxic friends. Because of this I feel like I can offer some humbling advice.
Your friend is Toxic:
Signs that they’re toxic: don’t support your endeavours, gaslight you, picks on your personality, thrives off of your insecurities, projects insecurities onto you, lack empathy, untrustworthy, gossipy, self-centred, stubborn, rude to you, doesn’t admit when they’re wrong.
Words of advice:
- You deserve to have friends who genuinely supports and shows you love. You are not obligated to settle for less than you deserve within your friendship. You shouldn’t accept abusive behaviour under the guise of ‘love’. Ultimately you get to choose the company you keep. You have agency over your life and get to either create a circle of friends who are helping or hindering your growth.
- If being around them makes you feel negative then you need to seriously consider distancing yourself or removing them from your life. Growth takes some people time and your friend probably isn’t a bad person. In fact you’ve probably shared plenty of great moments together in the past. Experiencing good times with someone or knowing someone for a significant period does not give them an excuse to treat you badly. Your needs and desires come first and you should be selfish in preserving that. There’s people out there who will be loving, supportive and trustworthy, so you are not obligated to settle for those who don’t.
You are the toxic friend:
Signs that you’re toxic: you put your insecurities onto them, you’re not supportive, you gossip about them, you’re possessive, you’re unforgiving, you don’t admit when you’re wrong, you copy them, you don’t ask them how they are, you undermine their goals.
Words of advice:
- When you put your friend down and have something negative to say about them, most of the time it’s only mirroring your own insecurities. It might make you feel better finding flaws in someone so you don’t have to deal with your own insecurities, but you’re the only person who loses in the situation. The next time you find yourself feeling triggered by someone’s achievements, ask yourself whether you are 100% satisfied within that area of your life. Chances are you are not. Figure out what’s missing inside of you that’s causing you to act this way. What do you need to do more of to feel better about yourself? If you truly love your friend and yourself, you’d take some time out to become a better you. Use those feelings as a guide to where you need to work and develop on yourself.
- You are probably an amazing person deep down inside who is currently going through a difficult time. That being said, you going through something doesn’t mean you can’t apologise for the ways you’ve hurt others. If you’ve really hurt someone you should admit when you’re wrong and say sorry. Even if your apology is not accept by them, accept and forgive yourself. The best form of apology is by demonstrating that you can be better.
Ultimately the message is if we love ourselves more we will naturally treat others better. Keep people around you where love is reciprocated, where you both want to grow and glow together.
Questions to you:
Have you had a toxic friend?
Have you been a bad friend to someone?
I would love to hear your experiences & thoughts.
Love Ash, xx
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