There are moments in life when the thing that gave you joy one day only brings anxiety the next. It’s completely normal to have ups and downs. However, there are moments when the line is crossed, making you question whether you’re in the right place and with the best company. Friendship is one thing that should never be forced. If the relationship begins to take a turn for the destructive, it will only cause a catastrophic effect for both parties. Because who can hurt you more than the person who knows you so well?
Most of us have lived through toxic friendships during our teens. We loved our BFFs but also found ourselves in a bizarre competition of sorts: who was prettier, smarter, or more popular? Eventually we learn to not put ourselves in situations that have no point. But what happens when these patterns continue over time? Also how do you discover whether you’re in a type of friendship where one person, if not both, are constantly being placed in emotional turmoil or distress? What are the signs that perhaps you and your BFF should take some time off, if not completely part ways, so that both of you can keep or regain your mental health?
Rude offhanded comments
It’s healthy for friends to tell each other the truth. But, does that mean also saying things that hurt? If your friend constantly makes comments that result in you feeling ashamed, guilty, embarrassed, anxious, or just plain sad, then perhaps they’re not there to support you. Maybe they’re just hanging on to have someone they can belittle in order to feel better about themselves. If you find yourself gossiping or criticizing your friend, whether face-to-face or behind their back, you probably need to evaluate what you’re getting out of it.
Make fun of you in front of others
We all can have a self-deprecating vein when we speak about our weaknesses or embarrassing truths. But what if the person you confide in the most actually uses these to mock or ridicule you when you’re hanging out or with other people? If your friend constantly creates a joke out of you, then why would you keep hanging out with them? Vice versa, what can be so great about constantly diminishing another person’s dignity? If the only reason you’re still friends is for someone’s ego boost, then this is a bad sign.
Constantly leave you hanging
Ever feel like you’re always left waiting at your door for your friend to pick you up or tell you they’re on their way? If plans are constantly getting cancelled, and it seems like your friend only calls you when everyone else is busy, then it’s time to put your foot down. If you’re the one that’s always bailing, then maybe you need to set your priorities in order. If you care for your friends, then make time for them. Time is a commodity, don’t squander it.
Ask for more than what they’re willing to give
Balance is important in any relationship, whether it’s between friends or partners. If the scale is tipped way more in one direction than the other, then perhaps one person is placing a lot of themselves in keeping this afloat while the other only expects certain things to be provided. Always strive for equality. Maybe you can’t provide each other the same things, but you can be there for your friends when they need you. It’s not about the material stuff. It’s about being another member of their family.
Friendships can last a lifetime. They can also last a few hours. What makes them remain is respect, support, and love. Life can bring surprises. Be there for each other. If you find that perhaps you need a break, voice it. You’ll find that the better you communicate the easier it will be to no fall into negative patterns.