Toxic friendships are nothing new in today’s society, especially among the younger generation that have grown up during the drastic increase. Yet it’s a struggle to spot it when you’re a participant.
It’s a part of life that doesn’t seem to be focused on, people are more concerned regarding their living situation or career ladder but nobody particularly takes an in depth look at their list of friends. I don’t mean all those people you haven’t spoken to in years filling up your social media feeds, I’m talking about those people you see multiple times a week and dedicate a portion of your physical life to.
It’s a question of what am I putting into this friendship and what exactly am I getting back? You’re closest friend may actually be treating you as a convenience rather than a human being.
Here, I will show you some examples of the offenders in these forespoken toxic friendships. Perhaps it will show you someone’s true colours, or perhaps it will save you in the future.
The Convenience Store.
This friend will often not value what you provide for them. They will abuse the offering of friendship you lay before them and only take it when all their other friends are otherwise occupied. I refer to this person as the convenience store as they only take you off the shelf when they need you, whether they don’t want to attend a concert alone or they simply need someone to go clothes shopping with but the rest of their choices are busy. This friendship offers you very little in return, you may get some good times and find some interesting events which is marvellous but the feeling of being used does tend to tarnish those memories.
The Lonely Lover.
This is the friend that only ever appears in your life when they’re between lovers. You became friends with them when they were single but soon discovered this disappearing act when they entered their first relationship since making your acquaintance. It’s difficult to balance a relationship and friendships, granted, however this particular type of friend will drop you from their lives completely. You can message them or try to arrange a social meeting however much you’d like but there is a small chance of receiving a reply. You won’t see or hear from them again until the relationship that previous had all their attention ends, then you’ll receive that “Hey, when are you next free? Want to hang out?” message. The message you’d been sending them for months. You can meet up, but what’s the point? Just knowing you’ll be dropped when the next person who catches their fancy comes along.
The Charity Case.
This is a more uncommon example, but the toxicity runs higher. This is the friend that will manipulate you into believing they can’t survive without you. It isn’t long before you’re doing their shop run, helping them with chores and attending all their appointments with them. You begin to feel like you’re in a full job being their friend, like you should be getting a pay check any day now but you never do. You work hard to be their friend, to remain at a high standard of humanity but eventually realise you are receiving nothing in return for giving your everything. It often slows your life down, you spend the majority of your time helping them, you fail to notice your life has come to a stand still. This is the hardest toxic friendship to abandon, a usual case shows that this friendship has a high level of manipulation. Feelings of guilt stop you from deserting because you believe this persons life cannot go on without you. It can, it did before you and it will after. It’s not impossible to end this friendship, if its bringing you down.
This is the most common from my observations. This is the friend that is the main focus of every conversation when they’re in the room. They must be talking about themselves, their love life, their problems. Often seeking advice from you that they will never take, only wanting you to hear their problems. Treating you like their diary. This is also one of the easiest to spot, this is because when you begin to talk about yourself it will only take a few minutes for them to magically switch the conversation topic back to them. This is the equivalent of being their shrink, except again there is no pay day for you.
Toxic friendships can have an enormous effect on a decline of depression, general happiness if not clinical and the rate your life progresses. It’s a topic that needs to be discussed, more often and in more depth. It is not petty and it is not childish, it can be a serious issue. It is not shameful or betrayal to question how your friendships work and abandon them if they don’t. I’m not suggesting there is no cure, people can change. Perhaps you are noticing you are a toxic person, if so you too can change. Nothing is set in stone.
Put yourself first every now and then. It improves everyone’s lives.