Your circle of friends can sometimes become a toxic place, and while friendship is precious, it's essential to spot these warning signs. But how do you recognize when a friendship has become toxic? And what can you do about it? Here's the complete guide to navigating these murky waters and regaining control of your emotional well-being.
Toxic friendship: How to recognize it?
Sometimes a friendship turns into a toxic relationship, a reality that's hard to accept. A toxic friendship “is one where you feel used and uncomfortable, that you perceive as a burden”, explains Beth Ribarsky, a specialist in interpersonal communication. But what are the indicators of such a relationship? That's where we're going to take a look.
They don't respect your boundaries: First warning sign
A healthy friendship is based on mutual respect, including respect for personal boundaries. However, “in a toxic friendship, one person may constantly ignore the other's boundaries. Whether it's violating your privacy or pushing you to do things you don't want to do, this is a clear sign of a toxic friendship.
Sneaky competition: Friendship or rivalry?
In a toxic friendship, your friend may try to outdo you at every turn, even when you're celebrating a personal success. A true friendship should be based on mutual support, not an endless power struggle. If your friend is constantly trying to outshine you, “this indicates unhealthy competition,” Ribarsky warns.
Emotional exhaustion: the tell-tale sign
Feeling emotionally drained after spending time with a friend is another warning sign. If you feel drained after every interaction, you may be in a toxic friendship. “Toxic friendships tend to dramatize everything, creating negativity and emotional confusion,” says psychologist David Tzall.
Exploitation: Everyday toxicity
A toxic friendship is often characterized by exploitation. You feel used when your friend only makes contact according to their needs, without regard for yours. “They expect you to be available at their convenience,” Ribarsky notes, “and if you no longer serve them, they disappear without explanation.”
They put you down: Self-confidence at stake
Toxic friends often feed their own self-esteem by lowering that of others. This behavior can be disguised as sarcastic jokes or passive-aggressive comments. Such a friendship can seriously affect your self-confidence.
Lack of support: Friendship without trust
A toxic friend isn't someone you can count on in a pinch. “Loyalty is not their strong suit,” says psychologist Carla Marie Manly. A friendship without trust is a breeding ground for toxicity.
I am a student and I am part of the editorial staff of thesilverink.com. I have the chance to enjoy writing, however, I also like to discuss all subjects and especially anything related to Science.