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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 August 19, 2019

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

That’s where we all should be.

So, answer me this:

How are you, really?

And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

It’s taking control.

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2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

Change will happen.

Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

“Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

“If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

What would you do if you felt you were enough?

By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

Final Thoughts

By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

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