Have you ever wondered if you were the toxic one in a relationship? Do you feel like there’s a growing distance between you and your friends?
No one’s inherently a toxic person, and everyone can grow. Though, you may be adapting some behaviors that could be making people uncomfortable around you.
Here are 6 signs that you might be a toxic friend.
Note: It’s normal to relate to some of these qualities. What’s important is you’re aware of them so you won’t unknowingly hurt anyone.
1) You don’t root for their success
Imagine this: your friend’s entering a competition, and it’s their turn to show up on stage. Are you ready and waiting to cheer them on? Or do you feel insecure and bitter about the thought that it’s them on stage, and not you?
If you find yourself envious of your friend’s successes, it might manifest in unintentional ways. You may turn passive-aggressive towards them in resentment, or you may distance yourself away from them out of shame or anxiety.
Even if you feel upset or envious, know that whatever negative feeling you’re feeling is a valid emotion. Instead of inflicting criticism against yourself by fighting these emotions or allowing them to control you, embrace them and practice self-compassion towards yourself without judgment. This way, you’ll learn to cope with the conflict, and in turn, channel it more positively.
2) You enable them
Do you ignore your friend’s pattern of intolerable behavior? Do you make excuses for them?
If you allow your friend to do harmful things to themselves or the people around them, you may be a toxic friend. While it doesn’t directly create an immediate impact, continuously letting them get away with self-destructive behavior can be harmful in the long term — for both themselves and the people around them.
Instead, try to lend a helping hand and a nudge in the right direction. You don’t have to lecture them if you don’t want to, but pointing them to the right resources while maintaining an honest and empathic demeanor with them can help them acknowledge their actions.
3) You never apologize
Do you find it hard to say “sorry”?
Oftentimes, you may unintentionally say or do something that can make others feel worse about themselves. No one’s above this; and showing that you have humility and courage to admit your mistakes is a sign of genuine sincerity.
On the other hand, if you tell others to suck it up or to not worry about it, without giving as much as a thought about what they’re feeling, you could be doing more harm than good to the relationship. A simple, heartfelt “Sorry” at the right time can make all the difference to wash away any repressed dynamics in a relationship.
4) You dismiss their emotions
Do you make fun of them when they express their feelings? Do you poke fun with them through derogatory comments, or say snarky remarks that diminish their emotions?
Friendships founded on snarky jabs and light teases are fine and all, but if a friend shows that they’re uncomfortable with it and yet you still do it — you’re not being a good friend.
This also holds true in more serious situations where they ask for emotional support but you try to shift the subject into something else. By doing this, you’re sending the message that their feelings aren’t important enough and are better off left unsaid, which can lead them to suffer from mental health problems if unchecked.
5) You demand more than you give
Do you call your friends too many times a day? Do you find it easy to cling on to someone?
While friends are supposed to be there for each other, being overly needy can be quite taxing. Being too needy can stem from an anxious-attachment personality style and low self-confidence, and growing out of it requires conscious effort.
Aside from open and honest communication, another way to help if you see this happening frequently in your relationships is by talking to a professional about it. They can teach you how to learn to rely on and love yourself, making you have healthier relationships in the long run.
6) You’re arrogant
Do you constantly inflate yourself? Do you belittle others for your own satisfaction?
There’s a difference between being happy about your achievements and being prideful. If you’re too arrogant, you might cause your friend group to feel less secure in sharing their ideas and engaging with you. It may feel like they’re walking on eggshells around you, which is not good for either party.
While there’s no question that staying true to yourself is important, staying humble and open-minded among your peers can make you seem more like the type person they’d want to be around.
Do you relate to any of the signs above?
Even if you do, know that these negative traits don’t define you. They’re meant to serve as a way to recognize bad parts of yourself — and invite you the option to change yourself for the better.
That’s all for now, Psych2Goers!
Kirmayer, M. Nov 28, 2017. How to Cope When You’re Envious of a Friend.PsychologyToday. Retrieved at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/casual-close/201711/how-cope-when-you-re-envious-friend
Raypole, C. June, 27, 2019. What Is an Enabler? 11 Ways to Recognize One. Healthline. Retrieved at https://www.healthline.com/health/enabler
Avenasa, C. Sept 2020. 7 Signs You’re Becoming a Toxic Friend. Psych2Go. Retrieved at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFMCW2uP3rc