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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 February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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