Friendship is on top of my list of important things in life.
For the past 10 years I have moved around quite a lot. It forced me to make new friends but also it taught me how important it is to nurture the relationship with my current one. Friendship, as anything precious in life, isn’t granted.
What I am still learning is to be more selective in my choice of friends.
I tend to only see the positive in people and, even when I see the negative parts, I mostly find reasons to explain it and excuse it (for example if someone tend to be rude and I know he has problems in his family).
I also tend to attract what I call now toxic friends.
What is a toxic friend?
- A toxic friend is at first super friendly and open
- A toxic friend will very soon tell you about the struggle he is going through
- A toxic friend will at first listen to your own story and empathy, linking his own history to yours
- A toxic friend will use you as a support to go through the difficult phases in his life
- You won’t know when exactly it started, but a toxic friend will take most of your time and energy
- He will suck your energy using it as a fuel in his own life
- When you start to feel that this is going too far, the toxic friend won’t hesitate to manipulate you, to ensure he has your attention.
- One trick for a toxic friend to get hold on you is to create the same unhappiness in your own life
- A toxic friend will sabotage your own confidence, trash-talk the people you care most about or he’ll constantly call you with his latest drama when he knows you are having a good time (thus making sure you won’t).
- When and if you confront him and want to talk about the un-balanced relationship you have with him, the toxic friend will always find a way to put the fault back at you.
Such a relationship will always end. Painfully.
So nowadays I try to avoid such people.
What are some of the early signs?
- Someone who looks bitter or make a lot of negative comments
- Someone who try too hard to be friendly and happy
- Someone who at first doesn’t show any vulnerability
- Any sign that the new relationship isn’t balance. It could be that she is always the one who wants to meet or that the conversation is only about one of us
- If after meeting this person I end up feeling worse instead of better
Do I walk away?
I am still not good to walk away when I meet this kind of people.
My natural instinct is actually to try to help this person.
To empathize with her and show her that all isn’t that bad after all. That I know what he is going through and that if he needs someone to talk to I am here.
I also tend to take responsibility for the unbalanced relationships.
It goes to the basic thought:
‘I am the one who created this situation. It has to. As it’s not the first time it happens and the only common denominator is me’.
To a bit more subtle one:
‘ I created this situation. I always think that others are more important than me. Their issues are more important, etc. She was a normal friend and I did withdraw myself from the conversation and made her confide and need me. Now she trusts me and I am about to hurt her and betray this trust by pushing back’.
Like I said, toxic relationships don’t end well…
I don’t think I have any such friends around me at the moment. But next time I will meet one… Well, maybe the very fact that I wrote this down will help me recognize the signs earlier.
And not engage.
(Listening to: Birdy)