Good friendships are vital for well-being, giving you a reliable support network in times of distress and helping you to feel known and understood. Many successful manifestation stories note the role of reliable friends, as loved ones provide accountability and offer support as you journey towards your goal. But, there comes a certain class of “friends” whose own personality may not go in tandem with the myriads of schemes in line with those highlighted as above and whose mindset, activities, belief, opinions and practice/lifestyle may always swim anti-current to what your expectations of the qualities and attributes of a good friend might really be assuming. This is whom we refer to as a Toxic friend.
It’s important to know when a friendship has become toxic, sapping your energy and undermining your self-esteem and which definitely will be tantamount to heartbreak in the long run. Sometimes, you may be able to improve and restore it through honest conversation, but at other times you may need to walk away for good. Here are the eight key signs of a toxic friendship.
1. Defamation of Character
The joy and balance in friendship is when you should feel like your friend’s equal, giving and receiving positive feedback that makes you both feel good. However, a toxic friend may find ways to make you feel like you’re less than they are. They tend to defame you and which may result in inferiority complexes and low self esteem and worth.
For example, they might draw attention to your insecurities and reinforce them as true. Or, they might discourage you from trying to achieve your dreams (telling you that they’re not realistic for someone like you).
2. Accusation and Blame
Everyone makes mistakes in relationships and it takes good understanding, tolerance and sound mature mind to manage such uprisings when they occur. Good friends can apologize for their part in such arguments or other clashes. In contrast, toxic friendships often involve one person who won’t own their mistake. This person will blame you for everything instead, and apologies may be in short supply. You will be told that everything is your fault and that it’s you who needs to change or feel bad and guilty about a difficult interaction. You would see yourself been accused several times for things you never even conceived in your foremost or farthest mind and be still made to accept such to be true. This kind of relationship does nothing more than making you always look less human and responsible for other people’s ills.
3. Domineering Attitude
Domineering and controlling behaviors can be more obvious in a toxic friendship than they are in a romantic relationship, and they can be just as damaging and disrespectful.
You would just see one person, over-bloated with pride, in a relationship that always insists on being in charge of what you do or where you go or even at times trying to place you under siege and embargoes. This is a very glaring indication of toxic personality. They might even try to influence your life choices. Or, they could attempt to exert influence over how you look, dress or reason irrespective of whatsoever your opinion about it might be. They always get irate and agitated when you don’t adopt their choices and practice their self-made and inflicted doctrines. Loving friends, rather, empower you to make your own choices, stand your own ground and pursue your own goals. They may always require your feedback but will still respect your autonomy and power to independent opinion.
On a similar note, some controlling friends may actively try to stop you from making new friends or reaching out to new endeavours especially when it would place you at a height above their status or control. Alternatively, they may even attempt to stand in the way of you finding a partner. This is because a toxic friend often wants to claim ownership of all of your time and energy. It might be they hate the idea of you turning your attention elsewhere at all times.
Sometimes, this attitudinal influenced can be so stealth, subtle and calculated that you may not even notice this isolating influence until suddenly you realize that other friends, or even family, have completely drifted away.
5. Deliberate Humiliation
If your friend makes fun or jest of you in social settings, tells cruel jokes at your expense, or claims that you “just don’t have a sense of humor” then you are simply being abused. Gentle teasing is part of many good friendships, but being shamed in public is another story. Happiness is a major spice of life and any person/relationship that is not keeping you happy or depriving you of your self-worth is not worth keeping.
If you explain this to your friend and the behavior still doesn’t change, this person is not good for you. Healthy friendships should be about having your back and speaking well of you rather than playing smart and mind games on you all the time and at expense of your own happiness.
6. Inconsistent Personality
Mood swing is a case almost everyone is guilty of. Different people with kinds of temperaments experience different kinds of mood at different times of the day and this should not be used against them in any way. Meanwhile, these toxic perfectionists of inconsistent personality will always capitalize on people’s downtime or theirs to torment people around them. Toxic friends blame you for all your actions during their emotional downtime and also blame you for your actions during your own emotional downtime. As a result, they are never fun to be with as there would always be a pending case to settle at each point in time and you will always be made ‘artificially’ guilty to keep raining apologies. This class of persons is always insatiable and always difficult to cope with; excited at one moment and furious at you the next moment. You will never be able to properly relax around this person, and you’ll spend too much time trying to work out modalities on how to consistently please them.
7. Emotional Blackmail
Finally, toxic friends often withhold affection or support depending on the circumstances. This is because their love is conditional and highly based on what you can do for them. Take for instance, if you say you can’t go to a social event with them, they will get agitated and flare up and may eventually refuse to take your calls, chat you up, or would remain cold in conversation until you change your mind.
In healthy friendships, both people understand that availability varies over time, and they communicate openly and honestly about hurting feelings.