Toxic friendship is a phenomenon that commonly occurs with the person that we least expect or the person we love the most. We usually least expect it from them because we are blinded by the faith and love we have over our relationship with the respective person.
Toxic friendship is not something that happens over the night or comes to sight the second we realise it. It takes time and a meticulous analysis through our circle of friends to identify if we are being drained by the leech (toxic friendship).
What are the symptoms of being in a toxic friendship you may ask, well a toxic friendship is a circle we are in that suffocates our well-being and drains our emotions. It takes a toll on our life to actually realise we are in one.
Oftentimes most people do not realise they are in such a relationship because they assume it’s completely normal or either just start adapting to it.
We always have this mindset of thinking it’s their character trying to accept them as friends, hoping that they would eventually change or worst, allowing them to continue in their toxicity so as to not ruin the friendship. In the long run, such a relationship usually ends very badly.
What are the red flags one’s needs to be aware of in a toxic friendship?
Your voice and emotions will be stripped away from you
First, you would feel like you are not yourself and pretending to be someone you are not. Your emotions and mind would feel manipulated and you behave and act to please the group you are in, losing your true self. Your life would be controlled in such a way that you would not be able to voice out your opinions or likings.
Embedding their thoughts and behaviors in your forcefully
You change yourself by indirectly getting intoxicated by their behaviors without your consciousness. You may be gossiping too much, your verbal language gets different, you become passive-aggressive, you are told you are being too nice to people, and you are condemned for being genuine to others.
As this goes, you tend to forget who you are deep inside, thus feeding on the bad qualities, growing it, losing hold of who you used to be. There is always a saying that, in each human, there is a good wolf and a bad wolf residing. We decide which side we want to be portrayed as.
The right friend brings the best in you, a toxic friend feeds the bad side and convinces you that you have the worst qualities making you feel repugnance about yourself.
The whole friendship only revolves around them
The friendship only revolves around them! Every topic or problem has got to be about them deciding, in terms of what to do, where to go, what to eat and who to meet. You will not be able to make your own decisions.
Well, obviously being the good friend you are, you go along with it just to put a smile on their face, but how long would you tolerate their narcism? You have got to wake up, shake yourself free, and start living for yourself!
Feeling mentally drained and tired each time you have to socialise around them
You are always giving more than you are getting. You tend to compromise more, forgive more and ask for forgiveness often only to have them wait for you to come begging because they can’t afford to simply apologise or realise their mistakes until they are told.
You are always there for them every time they need a shoulder to cry on, but as soon as you need them they have other things to do, or the topic gets diverted to how they are feeling, and your story and feelings are made as a joke or not even cared about.
When the habit is so entrenched, such that you just believe like you give, give and contribute and for a long time there is no reciprocity, this is an indicator that you are in a very bad toxic friendship.
Snitches behind your back
Remember, a good friend will never speak behind your back. They say bad things or cook up their own stories about you, just so they look like saints and victims in the relationship. You don’t feel good about the advice they say about you cause it’s done merely so you look bad next to them.
Then they come to give you life advice wanting the best for you, after all, their advice is just trial and error to see how far you would go for them or change yourself just so they have a topic to snitch about.
You’re humiliated and shamed in public for attention
They could just blow out their tantrum or emotions on someone spoiling the whole atmosphere with not a care in the world. They only are concerned about their emotions and how to be the center of attention, even if it’s in a bad way. Thus, causing you to feel embarrassed about how they treat others.
They would not care about how others are affected by their behavior or how others would feel sitting beside them. They are selfish enough to have the audacity to spoil a person’s day just because they woke up on the wrong side of the bed. They would want all happiness and spotlight to be shined only on them. Proving, they are the ultimate stars and divas.
You start questioning your friendship with them
This is the last stage of realising you are in a toxic friendship. If you ever get a strong affirmation like this, get out of the friendship. Do not contemplate if you should be there just because the person is your friend or how long you have known them or the petty story they have put up about themselves.
It’s better to be safe than sorry! Remember, a toxic friendship can have a long-lasting impact on a person’s mental health and overall well-being, due to intense negativity and toxicity. Always, choose friends wisely, do not call someone a friend too soon, take time and learn about a new acquaintance. Some tend to put on a mask, shielding their true selves.