Many people hope for genuine lifelong friendships. They seek to establish interactions and connections with people who bring certain values to their lives. Although most seek this beautiful experience, they may encounter a toxic friendship along the way.
How do you know you’re in a toxic friendship? – There are signs that can be indicative of an unhealthy friendship. For example, a toxic friend may engage in malicious behaviors that can negatively affect you. These friends can be demanding, entitled, and even emotionally abusive. Sometimes, people stay in these friendships because they have built a tolerance for their friends’ hurtful behaviors. Whatever the reason, staying in such a situation can be detrimental to your well-being.
Friendships are special; therefore, you should surround yourself with friends who uplift and empower you. When your friends bring you down, you need to consider ending it. If you are still in doubt about your specific situation, here are signs you need to leave your toxic friendship.
Nothing has changed
It is hard to go through a friendship breakup. For this reason, some prefer fixing their situations. They do this through conversations with the toxic friend(s). In this case, they may discuss the behaviors the toxic friend engages in that are threatening to their friendship.
If you’ve tried amending the friendship by having conversations and setting boundaries to no avail, then it is time to let go. In a bad friendship in which the toxic friend has no pure intentions, you will continue experiencing negative patterns.
They are mad at your growth
Having different interests from your friends is not always negative. However, if your friends’ interests compromise your values, it can pose a problem for your friendship. In such a situation, you may consider redefining the terms of your friendship, especially if you’re dealing with a toxic friend.
You can easily connect with someone you have no common interests with. However, in a toxic friendship, experiencing personal growth can become threatening to the friend. They may become judgmental and critical of your new habits without trying to understand you. In these instances, you need to distance yourself from the friendship.
Your other relationships are suffering because of it
Toxic friendships can impact other personal relationships, whether platonic or romantic. For instance, your toxic friend may limit your interaction with other people. In some other instances, their behaviors can become so harmful that you start isolating yourself from those that love you.
Signs of a toxic friend interfering with your other relationships can be manifested in various ways. You may experience other friends distancing themselves from you due to your affiliation with the toxic friend. Sometimes, you can constantly vent about the dynamic of your toxic friendship to others, which can be tiring to some of your relationships. If your situation with your toxic friend is negatively affecting your other relationships, you need to end the friendship.
The toxic friendship is an additional stressor
Life has uncontrollable stressors, but a bad friendship is not one. Therefore, if your friendship threatens your happiness by overwhelming you, you need to leave. Social interactions with friends can be a form of self-care, so if yours hinders your self-care, it is toxic.
You can experience emotional exhaustion by dealing with toxic friends that add stress to your life. If you find yourself avoiding conversations with a particular friend because it drastically lowers your energy, you are in an unhealthy friendship. Consider letting go of the friendship, especially in cases where you’ve tried bringing attention to the issue without obtaining a resolution.
Your mental health is affected
Like romantic relationships, a toxic friendship can also affect your mental health. The psychological impact can become severe long-term if you decide to tolerate this type of friendship. As an empathetic person, you may try keeping the friendship due to guilt or fear of hurting the friend. This is never a healthy situation, and it is critical that you prioritize your well-being.
Manipulative behaviors of toxic friends can leave you distressed. Instead of improving with time, you’ll notice that these friends get worse as time progresses and your mental health suffers as a result. The longer you allow these toxic interactions to continue, the lower your satisfaction level with social self-care. Eliminate these types of individuals in your life and surround yourself with people that respect your boundaries.
You experienced betrayal
Friendship betrayal can be observed in different situations in which your trust has been broken. For example, if your friend discloses sensitive information you’ve entrusted with them to other people, you can feel betrayed. A toxic friend may share your information to humiliate and embarrass you.
Situations in which you experience betrayal can be crushing and devastating. It is important to realize the harm the toxic friend is causing and get out of the situation. Staying in the friendship can lead to trust issues when you form healthier friendships in the future.
Your friendship became superficial
The dynamic of your close friendships can change for the worse if they are toxic. Recognizing toxic friendship traits can lead you to become distant. Many people use temporary distance to process their emotions regarding toxic situations. If you realize that your interactions are no longer enjoyable, then you may need to leave the friendship.
You may only be keeping the friendship for superficial reasons, such as social outings and fitting in. This defeats the purpose of social self-care, as you’re not in a healthy environment. On the contrary, keeping superficial toxic social interactions for the sake of being part of something can impact your self-esteem.
You constantly avoid them
Their absence is music to your ears and their voice or presence makes you feel uncomfortable. Although you may enjoy social interactions, you don’t necessarily want to have them with a particular toxic friend. Finding yourself in this situation can be a clear indication of ending your toxic friendship.
The hurt and disappointments may have taken their toll on you. Avoiding them is a sign of protecting your space and boundaries. Most of the time, there is one-sidedness in toxic friendships. For instance, you may be the friend that reaches out to check on your toxic friend. When you start to avoid them, the calls, messages, or visits may never come from them, unless they need something.