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Alert: 7 Signs You Have A Toxic Friend

Alert: 7 Signs You Have A Toxic Friend

Have you ever been in a toxic friendship? I have and it just about destroyed me. It took time before I finally ended the relationship and restored my health. I also learned some things in the process so I won’t make the same mistake.

Toxic friendships are bad for your health. By the time you enter your adult years you will have encountered one or more. Maybe you are the type who attracts toxic friendships. Some people are like that. They have an active rescuing chip in the brain and they cannot seem to help themselves. Is that you?

Toxic is synonymous with poisonous, deadly, unhealthy. Your system is not made to exist with anything toxic. If you listen to your inner self it will alert you that the friend you chose is bad for your mental health. Here are 7 signs you have a toxic friend.

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Your friend needs to be the center of attention

Toxic people crave attention and they will get it in any form. They can be nice to be noticed. Or they create drama to draw attention toward themselves. Even negative attention accomplishes their goal.

A toxic friend can hijack your special event, like a birthday party or celebrating your recent promotion. When the focus of the moment should be on you, it somehow shifts to her. Why? Because toxic people struggle with insecurity and the way they cope is to keep the attention on them.

Your friend always takes and rarely gives

Toxic friends are always on the take. You are the “lending tree” and they are the “picker”. They want to borrow your car, clothes, money, and your precious time. When they call or text, the expectation is that you will respond immediately. If not, expect a flood of 911 messages to follow.

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When it is your turn to need support, don’t count on a toxic friend to respond. Your needs are not as important as what they are doing at the moment. A litany of excuses (many untrue) are given and you’re supposed to understand. After all, their problems are more important than yours. In reality, toxic people lack empathy, an important friendship trait.

Your friend uses guilt to control your friendship

Toxic friends are experts in making you feel sorry for them. They play the victim role at an Oscar award winning level. Because they create a lot of drama, you are at their beck and call. Guilt is an underlying current that dictates the relationship. You never know what might happen if you don’t respond when they call.

Individuals with a tendency to “rescue” or “fix” others are susceptible to toxic friendships. You think you can turn this person around, yet in the end, you are the one being controlled. Guilt keeps you responding.

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Your friend is impulsive and repeats bad behavior

Toxic people tend to be impulsive. They do not think about the outcome of their decisions. Instead, they just act in the moment. The problem is that often their impulsive behavior gets them in trouble.

Impulse control is a function in the brain that regulates behavior. It involves frustration tolerance, the ability restrain impulses and live within limits. People with poor and impulse control and lower frustration tolerance make decisions quickly and don’t factor in potential risks or consequences. At times you may feel like your banging your head against a wall trying to get a toxic friend to look at her behavior. It won’t work if she is ruled by her impulses. Which brings up the next toxic sign.

Your friend blames others for her faults

Have you noticed that your toxic friend creates a lot of problems? But does she accept responsibility for them? Toxic people usually blame others and rarely take ownership for their actions. It’s always someone else’s fault. If you have a toxic friend then you’ve likely been blamed too!

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It is difficult to feel safe in a relationship with a friend who blames others for her problems. It can be like walking on eggshells around her. You know they are the problem but somehow they make you feel like you are. So here’s another sign.

Your friend makes you doubt yourself

A toxic friend can get into your head and make you doubt yourself. Suddenly, you’re questioning yourself and wondering what you’re doing wrong in the relationship. You may feel responsible for her problems. Some toxic people are so convinced in their minds about things and state their case with such conviction, it can mess with your head.

You want to end the friendship but feel trapped

As I mentioned earlier, guilt is one of the toxins that controls the relationship. Toxic people are very manipulative in friendships. It feels a little like Hotel California, “you can check out anytime you want but you can never leave.”

Good friendships don’t come with traps. You should have the freedom to be yourself and not be overburdened by drama. If this is not how it feels with your friend, it is likely because she is toxic. You may feel trapped but it doesn’t mean you are. Do not allow guilt or fear control you. You are free to walk away.

Featured photo credit: Dollar Photo Club via dollarphotoclub.com

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Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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