After our family members, our friends are the biggest emotional and social support systems that we have. It is not always to have fun, but an emotional bonding with a friend is extremely vital. However, not everyone is lucky to have supportive friends, as there are certain friendships are toxic too. They can not only drain you physically and emotionally but toxic friendships can also affect how you behave and think.
Hence, it is important to identify toxic friendships and eventually cut off relations with toxic friends to lead a healthy life, both physically and mentally.
Ways to identify toxic friendships
Be on a lookout for the following signals to identify toxic friendships, according to Dr Kamna Chhiber, a renowned psychologist at Fortis Healthcare.
If you are in a friendship where the other person constantly raises questions around what you say or do, almost leading you to doubt your situation handling skills, it is certainly a toxic friendship. Also, if there is a pattern that continues, be wary of such friends.
When there is a conflict, instead of taking it on a path to resolve it, the other person can try to create a situation where you end up experiencing guilt. Also, if they use more passive-aggressive means to make you feel bad and withdraw from communication or not respond to you despite repeated efforts, that’s really a direct way to identify toxicity.
If the communication involves usage of a lot of harsh words which characterize you a certain way and talk about negative impacts of your personality, it is again a clear trait of a toxic friend.
You may often feel that when you have certain needs and expectations of the friendship, they do not get fulfilled and are often sidelined, making you feel that you are putting pressure on the friendship. However, you are made to do a lot more than you may expect the other person to do.
You are often manipulated in order to agree to the choices that your friend may want to make and if you do not adhere, an emotional situation is created for you to finally agree.
Your decisions are always questioned and it is cited that there are better ways to handle or tackle a situation. Indirect ways of communication like sarcasm or humour are used to make fun of personal equations in outdoor situations.
Ways how a toxic friendship can affect your mental health
The ways in which a toxic relationship can impact you is extremely significant because when you look at friendships, there are certain core characteristics that are critical to ensure the quality or health of that particular relationship.
“In toxic friendships, what goes missing is the ability to communicate or express freely. There is depletion of trust and there is an impact on the ways in which the relationship is being experienced by both the individuals. Oftentimes, honesty might not be the core foundational value of that relationship,” Dr Chibber told Health Shots.
You might lose a sense of self, their belief in who they are, their worthiness, their self-esteem and the ways in which they make choices.
The self-doubt in you can manifest in situations where there is no need to make proactive decisions.
It can make make you wonder about their positivity
The confidence with which you meet and interact with people might be depleted.
There is an enhancement of nervousness and worry
You are wary of engaging in any action due to constant overthinking.
You lose interest in most things like sleep and appetite
So just let go of that toxic friend because your mental health is way to important!