View this post on Instagram
Friendships add some happiness, excitement, and some brightness into our lives, don’t they?
Despite the things we go through, good friends will forever be there through everything, which makes them a blessing.
However, replace “good” with “toxic.” What happens then? And what’s even worse, what if we are not aware that we are involved in a toxic friendship? What do we do then?
Similar to a toxic relationship, a toxic friendship can end up destroying our lives. Those friends will lurk in the shadowy corners, ready to jump in whenever they get the opportunity, just to hurt us.
Toxic friendships can be hard to recognize because toxicity is not a trait anyone is willing to show out in the open. Instead, those types of friends will play their mind games on us and convince us that they wish us the best, while, at the same time, coming up with devious plans to hurt us as much as possible.
The good news is that we can sometimes spot toxic friends just by being a bit watchful. And once we do, we can cut off all ties with them, and end the friendship for good so that they can never harm us again in any way.
Seven types of toxic friends we should avoid at all costs:
1. The one who always flakes.
This is that friend who always makes plans with us excitedly and pretends to look forward to seeing us, but when the day comes for us to meet, they cancel at the last minute. They always have a ton of excuses ready for ditching us. Sometimes, they don’t even turn up and try to gaslight us into believing that there were no plans in the first place. Worse still, they sometimes cancel on us for “better” plans and give us all sorts of sad excuses for doing that.
Flakes are those types of friends who are extremely unreliable and dishonest, who can leave us in a lurch whenever they feel they have a better option at hand. They will make grand plans with us but flake at the last minute. It’s perfectly okay to take a rain check once in a while, but if it’s happening all the time, then our self-confidence takes a massive hit. We gradually start to feel that we are not good enough or fun enough to spend time with.
So before our self-esteem takes a hit, we need to see through those friends’ toxicity and cut all ties with them because we deserve better. Or we can treat them as acquaintances instead of good friends and stop giving them the respect and importance we have been granting them for all this time, and then we can see what they do.
2. The one who is bossy and controlling.
Controlling and bossy people make some of the worst friends, and if you have one, then congratulations, you’re in a toxic friendship.
Controlling friends will always try to dictate what we should and shouldn’t do because, according to them, “they know what’s best for us and our happiness.”
They will try to stop us from being friends with other people, and if we protest, they will cut us off and simply manipulate us into doing what they want us to do.
For example, if someone invites us to a party, our bossy friend will make the decision for us and simply say no to this person on our behalf; we have no say in this. Wanting our friend’s opinion is one thing, but being controlled by them every step of the way is just disturbing and toxic. If they are dictating every move of ours, they are not just crossing a boundary, they are also harming our sense of identity and individuality.
Just like romantic relationships, friendships should never be all-consuming.
If we feel that we have a bossy and controlling friend, then the best thing we could do is take some time off from the friendship and put some distance between us two. We should be able to build friendships with other people if we want to, but not tell our bossy friend that. We should also take control of our own lives and relationships. If they react badly to us being headstrong and independent, then we can cut them off for good and do what makes us happy, not what they think makes us happy.
3. The one who is overly competitive.
A little bit of competition is fine between friends, as it can push us to give our best, but if our friend is overly competitive and is always trying to feel superior, then it’s a problem—an extremely annoying one at that.
They will always claim that they are our friend, but the very next moment, they will start an invisible competition that we seemingly had no idea we were a part of.
If we were made the captain of the sports team, they will go out of their way to be in the spotlight so that they get to take our place. If we are the boss’s favorite, they will go to any lengths to change that, and before we know it, they have become the boss’s pet. This constant need to feel superior and always be two steps ahead of us can get annoying pretty fast, and we deserve better.
Overly competitive people, in a nutshell, have toxic tendencies. End of story. End of discussion. When we have friends, we should be able to rely on them for understanding, support, and loyalty, not be on our toes all the time because we are concerned that they will take our hard work away from us by working behind our back. We should leave them and focus on having friends who will motivate us and encourage us to do our best and cheer for us when our hard work pays off.
4. The one who is always starting drama.
Some people thrive on drama and always look for it wherever they go; drama is something they can never get enough of. For such people, even the most minor setback threatens to unravel them. Have they tripped while walking? They behave as if they have broken their leg. Did we forget to call them back even after seeing their missed calls? They become overdramatic and accuse us of being a bad friend who doesn’t care about them at all.
And the list goes on.
Drama kings and queens love conflict and are always looking to start one, even if there’s no reason to. Being friends with them is equal to being on an emotional rollercoaster 24/7, with no end in sight, and after some time, this gets exhausting.
They are never happy about anything and are always looking to start fights and arguments whenever they feel that things are too “normal.” Their behavior is toxic because they pick fights with us over the smallest of things, which gradually makes us feel like we need to walk on eggshells around them.
Such people can never be good friends with anybody, including you. They hate normality because they have a lot of bitterness, resentment, and anger within themselves. Being friends with such people can be emotionally and mentally draining, especially when we find ourselves rationalizing every questionable action of theirs.
We should let them go and focus on finding better friends because it’s just not worth it.
5. The one who is there for the good times.
This is one of those toxic friends who are always there for us when times are good but conveniently disappear if we are going through something hard and challenging. When things are exciting, good, and breezy in our life, we will always find them by our side. Planning on going on a road trip? They are in. Planning an amazing New Year’s party? They are so in. Want to go out for drinks every weekend? They will practically teleport to our side.
But when we need them by our side when we go through tough times in our life, they are never there. We find it hard to share our feelings and pain with them because they never show even the least bit of interest in helping us get through it all. They might be fun to be around, but they have absolutely no empathy for anybody.
Whenever we try to talk about what we are going through, they dismiss our feelings by saying things like “you are overthinking; just chill out,” “you’re too sensitive,” and worst of all, “you’re being negative, and I am not in the mood for that.”
Whenever we are around them, we feel alone and isolated. It’s better to have no friends than have friends like this, right? We can openly communicate to them that, sometimes, we want them to be there for us and be a sounding board. If they react positively to this, then well and good, but if they still behave dismissively, then we are better off without them.
6. The one who is a user.
This one is probably the worst of the lot.
Users turn up whenever they need something from us, and the moment their need is fulfilled, they disappear. They borrow money from us but never return it. They want us to pay for everything whenever we go out together. They expect a VIP invite to all our exclusive events. They expect us to help them out whenever they are in any sort of problem but never do the same for us.
They are basically using us and our friendship as a means for getting things done. The friendship doesn’t matter as much to them as the things we can do for them. Users only care about themselves and their own needs, and they will go to any lengths to get them fulfilled. They are narcissistic, self-centered, and selfish, who never help us out when it’s time to return the favor. All they know is how to use and exploit people to get their own needs met.
People like this are nothing short of dangerous, and because they are so self-centered, they will do anything to fulfill their needs, even if it means hurting us. They will ghost us whenever they want, and come back to exploit us whenever they need something. This ultimately ends up affecting our self-esteem and morale and leaves us feeling devastated.
Cut off all ties with them before they do more damage.
7. The one who is a bad influence.
These people do not only possess toxic tendencies but they behave horribly toward us and are always up to something shady and wrong, sometimes even at our expense. They push us to take part in questionable activities and force us to try out things that make us feel uncomfortable. For example, they may push us to drink more despite telling them that we are done; they call us boring and uptight if we don’t listen to them, and at some point, we give in because we just want them to shut up. And the next day we wake up with a horrible hangover and find ourselves puking our guts out.
Our friends should bring out the best in us and make us feel comfortable in whatever we do together, instead of forcing us to do things that make us look “cool.”
Such friendships are not just toxic, they can make us fall into some serious trouble too. Good friends never push us to break the law or harm ourselves in any way, but friends who are a bad influence do. Sometimes, their actions are subtle, but we notice that whenever we are with them, we are embroiled in some questionable situation or the other.
There are no two ways about this—we need to stay away from people like this. Calling them a bad influence is an understatement, and mingling with them will only put us more at risk of falling into trouble.
We need to focus on having friends whom we can trust and who have a strong head on their shoulders, and stay away from people who have consistently shown us what a bad and dangerous influence they really are.
Having friends is a blessing. Being in toxic friendships? Not so much.
Just like toxic relationships, toxic friendships have the potential to hamper our mental health, happiness, self-esteem, and sense of trust. We should be extremely careful when making friends, and keep our eyes and ears open for any red flags. If we come across people like these, we can make an about-turn and go in a different direction.
They are not worth our time and energy and don’t deserve to have a place in our life.