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9 Traits Of A Toxic Friend

9 Traits Of A Toxic Friend

It’s not spring yet, but it’s never too early to do some spring cleaning of the people you hang out with. The thing is, every friendship you have is inevitably going to affect you, and change you, in a good way or in a not-so-good-way. And everyone of us is guilty of having a couple of unhealthy friendships with people who aren’t really doing us much good — people who, instead of making us happier and better beings, are doing the reverse. I call these people, “toxic friends.”

Check out the following list to identify a possibly toxic friend in your life:

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1. A toxic friend rarely makes you feel good about yourself.

When this friend is around you often feel like you’re the lesser one. They make fun of you in front of other people, or tell jokes about you to entertain the people around.  They seldom give a damn about what you think or how you feel. Sometimes, you feel like you are not good enough because of their consistent put-downs. As days go by, you might even start to see yourself through their lenses more and more, up to a point where you begin to seek their approval for a sense of security and the feeling that you are doing things right. But as a toxic friend, they feed you with more of their “honest, sincere opinions,” and “the things people say about you behind your back,” only to make you feel even more insecure about yourself.

2. A toxic friend rarely celebrates with you.

Because they also see you as competition and are jealous when they know that you’re doing better than they are. Perhaps, they never wish that you’ll succeed in life in the first place, even though they say that they only hope for the best for you. When you have something to celebrate about, they are the first to throw you a cold blanket. On top of dismissing your good news, they might even share some bad news to truly kill your buzz.

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3. A toxic friend spreads their negativity.

Because when they are feeling down, they want everyone else to be miserable as well. When they can’t be happy, they won’t let you be happy. With them, you can never really be the happiest person that you can be, because everything is dependent on their mood. When they’re having a bad day at school or at work, they will try to drag the people around them down as well. Like Regina George from Mean Girls, they want to be the one who dictates the mood of the things around them.

4. A toxic friend uses you.

When they need you, they tend to be nicer and more polite to you. They trick you into thinking that they have changed for the better, but the truth is, they are only putting on a facade so that they can manipulate you. And you on the other hand, thinking that things are finally getting better, decide to be helpful and do their bidding. But what happens after they get what they want from you, be it a copy of your homework, or your car for the week, is that they quickly revert to their old self. They don’t text, they don’t call, they stop caring about you, and they might even go back to saying mean things to you again. A toxic friend only comes to you when they need your help or feel that you can do something that would benefit them.

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5. A toxic friend always think they know better.

They think that they have everything in their bag. They think that they are smarter than you, wiser than you, and more mature than you. When it comes to planning, they believe that things are better done their way. They rarely take your suggestions or heed your advice.  Perhaps because they fear that by doing so, it means that you are right and they are wrong. A toxic friend thinks that he/she is better than whatever you can offer, and he/she will try to make you think the same way too.

6. A toxic friend talks about you behind your back.

They bitch about you behind your back, simply because they prefer being passive aggressive. Instead of facing the issue and talking about it with you, they would rather rant to their other friends, and leave other people with a biased impression of you. A toxic friend might even share your secrets with others because they are angry, jealous, or just bored. A toxic friend has little respect for your privacy. Sometimes a toxic friend will ask you about your life in the hopes of teasing out some of your more private stories, so that they can use it for gossip with their other friends.

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7. A toxic friend likes to keep score and bring up past mistakes.

To make you feel bad, they will remind you of embarrassing things and stupid mistakes you’ve made in the past. They never forgive and they never forget. They will dig up things from the past and use them against you whenever they see a need to. It’s their easiest ammunition during a fight or a disagreement. With this friend around, it’s so much harder to move on from past pains and mistakes.

8. A toxic friend loves drama. 

There are people who love drama and then there are those who live to create it. With a toxic friend around, your life is often filled with unnecessary emotional turbulence, caused by unnecessary fights, careless bitching, and just being passive aggressive to people in general. You might even notice that this need for drama starts to rub off on you and slowly, you start to feel empty without having a little drama to add some spice to your day-to-day life.

9. A toxic friend takes you for granted.

At some point along the way, this type of friend starts to take you for granted. He or she may have stopped contributing into the relationship while you still continue to do so. If you find yourself making the effort to keep the friendship going, planning evenings out, being the first one to instigate a conversation or stay in touch while they sit on the sidelines and do nothing, then perhaps it’s time for you to let go.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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