Toxic Friends: 6 Ways To Tell Your Friends Are Worth Keeping.
There is an old saying which I feel sure you’ve all heard before; “In life you really only make a few real friends. All the rest are acquaintances.” So how do you tell if that friendship you’ve nurtured for so long is worth having. Better still, how do you tell if a friendship has become toxic and isn’t doing you any good whatsoever. Here are 6 ways to tell.
1. You give, they take. It’s often the case that someone realizes that they’re doing a lot more giving than receiving in a friendship. Whether that be emotionally or the materialistic it doesn’t matter. One person might be seen as the individual that will drop everything to come to the aid of the other, but would that be reciprocated. Friends of this nature need to talk and clear the air in this regard. If the taker isn’t willing to change then perhaps it’s time to move on.
2. They bring out the worst in you. Both emotionally and in your behaviors. I remember as a child, my mother forbidding me to hang out with a certain lad. Of course at the time, I didn’t understand and I rebelled, but some people really do behave negatively when they get together. In addition you may have had a period of learning and personal development which a facilitated a positive change in you. If they aren’t willing to accept the new you and want you to stay stuck in the same ways you’ve always been in together, then the relationship is becoming toxic.
3. They are always letting you down or they’re a constant disappointment. Broken promises fit firmly into this category! When they constantly don’t turn up for a meeting or do what they promise they will do. Often the “friend” will say sorry without even meaning it. Almost a throw-away statement. Move on!
4. They do not support you. Who you are, your goals and aspirations in life. If someone cannot accept who you are for what you are, warts and all, then they’re clearly not worth giving the time of day. Constant criticism, often thinly veiled as humor or sarcasm can be damaging to anyone emotionally.
5. You can’t trust them with a confidence. We all have our open selves and our closed selves. The open self anyone can see. The closed self is all the stuff that you keep to yourself. Sometimes it’s worth talking about stuff in the closed part of ourselves, especially when faulty thinking is involved. But, if your freind cannot be trusted to keep that confidence then what kind of a friend are they. Probably an acquaintance!
6. They don’t like or respect your family. Spouse, kids, even your extended family. Ok “like” is probably going a bit far and could be seen as a “nice-to-have”, but respect must certainly be there. If your friends will only be with you when your spouse isn’t around etc, then they really aren’t concentrating on you, only themselves.
I’ve had a couple of clients recently where friends who where once good to them had become toxic. Often, you can’t see if this is the case, especially when that friend has been with you for many years, because you haven’t noticed the small changes that have turned the friendship the wrong way. I’m not saying apply the above to all your friends and dump the ones that don’t measure up. But, talk to them. Let them know how you feel and if they aren’t willing to change, THEN perhaps it’s time to move on.