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It was Aristotle who said that man is a social animal. We thrive when we’re surrounded by supportive people and don’t do as well in absolute loneliness. This has become clear from how social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic has affected so many of us mentally. Yes, friends are an extremely important part of our lives. Hence, it is said that friends are our chosen family.
You need friends because these are the people you can be extremely honest with, be yourself with, laugh and cry with, celebrate the victories and nurse broken hearts with. Over time, our friends become our support system and become the people we can depend on. Does that mean all friendships are healthy? Well, you will come across toxic people everywhere from relationships to workplaces. Friendships are no different.
Friendships can be toxic as well and here are 3 red flags you need to look out for to spot toxic friends:
Friendship is all about hearing each other out, offering a shoulder to cry on and supporting one another through difficult times. You do all of this and more for your friend—but they always seem to need just a little more. They will expect you to leave work to tend to their breakup, cut short a work meeting to talk about their interview experience, and even ask you to go shopping with them on a weekend you want to not do anything at all.
But, when it comes to you, they will always have an excuse. Even during conversations, they will always be waiting for their turn to speak, not be sensitive to your problems, and change the topic to what they wish to speak about. Overall, you will realize that your friendship essentially revolves around them and their problems.
From school and college to our workplace, we get to meet some wonderful people and some of them end up becoming lifelong friends. Life might get in the way of you meeting everyone regularly but whenever you can, you do end up spending time with them. A toxic friend, however, is selfish and needy. They will create drama or pick a fight with you for spending time with your other friends.
It won’t go down well with them that you ended up doing something of your choice with your time. Eventually, such behaviour might deter you from maintaining your other friendships in order to avoid the drama caused by the toxic friend.
Sometimes subtly and sometimes outrightly, a toxic friend will put you down. It could be something as subtle as telling you that the colour of the dress you’re wearing doesn’t suit you and something as outright as telling you that you don’t have the skills required for the job you’re doing. Friends are our peers and we often look forward to their acceptance, even if subconsciously. Hence, when someone is so negative towards you and pulling you down, it might hit your confidence.
If you have a toxic friend like this, don’t be afraid of cutting them off for the sake of your mental health.