Friends, they come in different shapes, sizes– and dynamics.
We all have friends. But, not every friendship is the same. There are the friendships where your counterpart knows every secret that you own, and then there are the ones where you never delve far beneath the surface of formalities. And one of these types of friendships aren’t necessarily superior to the other, because we all need different types of friendships at different times in our lives. But, there is a type of friendship that you should try to avoid at all costs: and that is a toxic friendship.
And toxic friendships are hard to spot, because it is often difficult to be able to take a step back and realize that the relationship you have with someone is being mentally harmful to you. So, how are you supposed to decide when friendships are toxic?
First off, you can decide if a friendship is good for you or not by thinking about how you feel after spending time with them. If a being around a certain friend consistently makes you feel anxious or upset with yourself, then they’re probably not a good friend. If your friend is mentally tearing you down or treats you in a certain way that makes you feel less confident in yourself, then that is just simply someone you should not keep around in your life if you have the option. Life is a short adventure, so don’t waste your time on someone that will make you stop appreciating the beauty of it. If you can’t make yourself enjoy the time you spend a friend, then why continue to spend time with them?
Another sign that a friendship might be toxic is if you have an intense amount of competition with them. A bit of friendly competition is okay, seeing as it can push you to expand your limits and work to become a better version of yourself. But, when the friendship becomes entirely centered on besting them and always trying to be one step ahead of your friend, then it is no longer healthy. It’s not really a friendship if the only time you put energy into the relationship is to try to be better than the other. Especially because if you let this become a full-blown rivalry but you end up needing a shoulder to lean on, the chance of that friend taking anything you confide to them to use against you is extremely likely.
Speaking of a friendship that is bordering on becoming frenemies, you should also think about being careful befriending someone that you feel resentment towards. If you find yourself being close with someone that you want to talk badly about after they leave the room– don’t. Don’t be that friend who is slightly two-faced because if you want to gossip harshly about your supposed friend, then the people who witness you act that way will not want to trust you as a friend either. Anyways, if you don’t genuinely enjoy being friends with someone, then don’t be. You know that you don’t want to have a toxic friendship in your life, so you should also make the effort to not be the toxic friend either.
Overall, friendships should be something that have a positive impact in your life. The friendship does not have to be deep and soul-bearing, and you don’t even have to love the unconditionally. But you should want to smile when you think of your friend. A good friend doesn’t tear you down, and you shouldn’t want to tear that friend down either. Life can be crazy and unpredictable, and you want to have a good friendship that you can rely on. They might not be perfect, but if a friendship makes you happy then it is most definitely worth it. Just make sure that the friendship is actually good for you.
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