Identifying toxic friends

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Friendship is indeed a wonderful necessity in life. And while the finest of friends can make your friendship a worthwhile experience, toxic friends can be a constant source of headache and emotional pain. Friendship can be a source of joy, laughter, security, and positive self-beliefs, all of which will contribute bountifully to your general health and well-being. Some friendships, however, are experiences you will want to avoid at all cost. Therefore, how do we discriminate between healthy friendships and toxic friendships? 

Toxic friends are self-centered

Toxic friends are friends with you only when they think there is something to benefit from you. They take advantage of your kindness and give nothing back. When they see you prospering, they want to benefit from your prosperity. And when they see you experiencing hardship, they abandon you like a dog abandons its poop. The self-centeredness or greed of a toxic friend makes him/her a parasite in your life. While most of them may never offer to help, there are others who may offer to help only when it is convenient for them, and not when you really need them to.

Toxic friends are not supportive

While a great friend will be ‘highly’ supportive of your dreams and aspirations, making significant effort to help turn those dreams into reality, checking up on you to ensure that you have not given up on your dreams, and taking an active part in helping you accomplish your goals, a toxic friend will discourage you, make you feel incompetent, or dismiss your brilliant ideas altogether, simply because he or she is uninterested in your happiness, welfare, and success. He or she may even be covetous of your success, thereby wishing you ill, rather than being supportive. A friend who shows these attributes is a toxic friend.

Toxic friends are disloyal

A toxic friend will speak badly about you behind your back, gossip and say spiteful things against you, lie to you, and lead you on into doing something that may be harmful to you. They may pretend to have your interest at heart, and then deride and ridicule you when you are not watching. They do not care about your success and happiness; they probably just envy you, or are solely interested in what they will benefit from you.

Toxic friends are pessimistic

Friends who are often negative, have low expectations, have self-defeating thoughts, and do not believe in their abilities tend to be pessimistic. Their negativities and pessimism can also rub off on you if you stay with them long enough. Because you are exposed to their negative beliefs, you may also begin to think that you are inadequate and insignificant.

And while every human being needs your courtesy and kindness, these kinds of friends should be kept at arm’s length (at a distance), to avoid their toxicity from ruining your day and ruining your life. People who have negative self-beliefs and low expectations are bound to speak negatively, act spiritlessly, and influence the way you think, speak, and act. And if you care about your happiness and your future, you cannot afford to be negative. Therefore, if you have friends who are negative and pessimistic, treat them politely, but keep them at arm’s length.

Toxic friends ignore you

If you have friends who do not listen to you when you speak, do not value your ideas, seem to always ignore you when you make a suggestion (or when you try to get their attention), or avoid you when they are with their other friends, such friend is a toxic friend. There is nothing healthy or delightful in being treated as though you are unwanted, inadequate, and unimportant. Being exposed to this kind of friends can make associating with them a constant source of pain. Friends who make you feel that you are not good enough are friends you shouldn’t be hanging out with. A lifetime without these kinds of friends will do a lot of good to your health. Avoid these friends at all cost, if you are concerned about your happiness and your life! 

Toxic friends do not share generously

A toxic friend is too selfish to share, and as such will never remember to do so. If they share their time with you, it’s because of what they’ll get from doing so. They will never buy you gifts, remember your birthday, or even throw you a surprise party, because they are least concerned about your happiness, and solely concerned about their own success. Great friends will share their time, information, money, and other resources, just to simplify your life and make you more comfortable. 

Toxic friends do not keep in touch

Most friendships die because most people do not see the need to keep in touch. And most people do not see the need to keep in touch because they are apathetic (indifferent) to the situations you may be going through, and the present circumstances around your life. Great friends keep in touch because they want to be able to help when you are in need. They want to be able to sympathize with you when you are facing difficult times, and celebrate with you when you achieve success. They check up on you once in a while to make sure that all is well with you. 

While there are toxic friends in the world, there are pleasant friends too. Toxic friends should not be treated as though they ought to be avoided. They should be kept at a distance, and perhaps avoided, but they should also be treated with courtesy and kindness. You may occasionally show them your support, remember to say hello when you run into them, respect their ideas and their right to share them, and avoid diminishing them. However, you shouldn’t hang out with or spend much time with them because they are a bad influence on your life.

Therefore, while toxic friends are valuable and worthwhile people who deserve your courtesy and respect, they just aren’t the friends you should be spending plenty of time with.