How to Identify and Let Go of Toxic Friends

A friendship can be a deep and meaningful relationship that can span decades, providing you give it the right amount of care and attention that it needs, however they can also be fragile, tricky and often fleeting. By paying attention to the way that a friendship develops and what both parties both put into it and get out of it will give you some idea of a friendship that is worth keeping, and one that should be left behind.

Identifying Toxicity

There are some people who believe that in order to have a long lasting friendship any misdemeanours or bad behaviour should be overlooked, swept under the carpet and ignored. After all if you don’t bring attention to it, there can’t essentially be an argument about it or any upset caused. If you have found yourself doing this, or any other forms of negative behaviour regarding you friendship and your attempts to keep a hold on it, then it might be time for you to let that friendship slide. Can you identify any of the following traits in any of your friendships?

  • Your friend often makes negative comments at your expense, or makes hurtful comments toward you.
  • Does your friend exhibit signs of jealousy about your lifestyle or use you when they are in need of money or other material things?
  • Do you find that sometimes your friend gets very demanding, or becomes unreliable or overbearing?
  • Do they show any real interest in your life or are they just there for the good times?

You need to pay attention to how often these behavioural traits arise, as whilst we may all have our off days and shows some of them occasionally, a toxic friend will exhibit such behaviour consistently and for the majority of the time that you are together.

What Would Life Be Like Without Them?

If you sat and thought about it, could you picture your life without this person playing a part in it? If you were to give up on the friendship just how different would your life be? Just what would you be giving up if this person were to no longer play a part in your life? If all of the responses that you are coming up with are negatives then you have a problem. The thing about toxic friends is that they are very adept at making you feel bad about yourself; they seem to do nothing but criticize and on the whole make your life a little less enjoyable than it should be. If you fail to come up with anything that wouldn’t improve or be somehow better without them you should let them go. But if you find that you would be losing out on some positive things, that should tell you that the relationship is one that should be nurtured and kept alive.

Talk it Over and Set Some Boundaries

No matter what you have decided about the friendship you should still both sit down together and talk things through. One of the best ways to keep a friendship alive is to be honest with each other. If you have decided that you want to make the friendship work, but are not happy about a couple of things, you need to talk those things through and make it clear what you expect from your friendship and what behaviour or aspects are unacceptable. It may be that you need to set some boundaries in place that will keep you from getting hurt, or make the friendship more beneficial for you. If you have had a friendship where you have always avoided confrontation it can be hard to discuss what is making you unhappy, and if you are scared about the way that they will respond to your request to talk things through you may be better off writing everything down so they can take the information on board that way. You should also be ready to discuss why it is you feel that your friendship should come to an end if that is what you have decided must happen.

What Makes a Healthy Friendship?

In order to understand the difference between a toxic friendship and a healthy friendship, you should understand what a healthy friendship consists of.

  • A good balance of give and take. This insures that the needs of both parties are being taken into account so that the relationship does not become one sided.
  • Unconditional support and understanding whatever the situation.
  • A mutual respect of the others lifestyle, their choices and their feelings.
  • The ability to be yourself with them, whatever the occasion. To laugh out loud, say what you think and be free to have fun.
  • Forgiveness that works both ways.

Compare your current friendships against all of the things that make for a healthy friendship, do you really think that all of your relationships are founded on such basic principles? Only you can decide if you are benefiting from the relationships that you have, but if they are truly toxic, all one sided with lots of take and very little give on their part it is really time to call it a day.

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Laura Ginn

Laura Ginn is the founder of the article writing service Ink Elves and the extreme sports magazine Extreme Sports X. Originally born in Leicester, England she now lives in Greece and spends her days doing what she loves best - writing.

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