Do you have a friend whose call you are intentionally beginning to avoid? You no longer take this friends call or you wait a while longer than you ordinarily do before taking their calls. You always look for an excuse to turn down an opportunity to meet? You are probably dealing with toxic friends.
Being with toxic friends drain you. A toxic friend leaves you feeling worse about yourself. Toxic friends create a competition between you and them. Some deal on gossip, putting everyone else down whatever opportunity they get. Or it could be something else. Whatsoever it is, you know that something about this friend drains you and makes you largely uncomfortable.
You have toxic friends, when you realise that your friend(s):
- Is selfish and self-centered.
- Enjoys gossip
- Doesn’t think twice when sharing private information about others
- Constantly complains
- Talks down at you in private and shout bestie in public
- Disguises cruel and negative comments as jokes
- Always have an opinion about your choices
- Fails to acknowledge your accomplishments and hardly compliments or commend you
- Unreliable and unavailable when you need them
- Avoids deep conversations
In my case, I just realised recently that I am in a toxic friendship. A friend whose friendship is beginning to drain me. Dude is hardly ever available when he is needed. Yet walks in every time he needs help or has a good news to share. After which, voom, he is gone like the wind. I remember talking with one of our other friends recently and he is just as drained as I am. I remember we trying to figure out the best way to handle the situation and yet remain friends.
I took it upon myself to further research and find out how best to deal with toxic friends or toxic relationships generally. The following would be useful
1. Talk to Your Friend
This is scary. This is one of the options I thought of to handle the toxic friendship. But the question of how my toxic friend is going to react poped up. Won’t he misinterpret the whole thing? Won’t he cry foul and get all defensive? The list of possible reasons not to confront my toxic friend came up. As much as it would be great to find answers without confrontation, speaking to toxic friends is important. You have to remind yourself that you as well as your friend is in the relationship and anything that hurts you shouldn’t continue.
2. Stop Being an Enabler
This is in the case where you are not directly affected by the actions of your toxic friends. You can’t allow your friend do things that hurts others and keep quiet. If your toxic friends gossip people, you have to shush them. If your friend puts people down and you say or do nothing, that makes you an enabler. That is definitely not a way to live. You have to deal with the toxic friendship at once.
3. Take a Break
This approach works 💯 You love your toxic friends and can’t severe the relationship. Perhaps, you have been friends for so long. Perhaps, this friend has a lot of other good sides. You can have other reasons for which to want to remain friends, which are all valid reasons. Taking a break is an attempt to find out if there’s anything worth saving in the toxic friendship. Stop seeing this friend as often as you are used to. You can make out excuses when it’s time to meet. Or you can point black tell your friend that you need some me time, some space or privacy. Distance makes the heart grow fonder they say.
4. Leave the Friend
Your umbilical cords aren’t tied together. This means that you can work out of the toxic friendship when it stops working. Especially if you have spoken to your toxic friends with no results and have taken a little break.
Whatsoever you do, remember that friendship is a choice. And toxic friends shouldn’t exist as they are against the reasons for which people form friendships.
Have you been in a toxic friendship before? How do you handle toxic friends? Share your thoughts in the comments section.