Recognising a toxic friendship
If you’re wondering whether your friendship with someone is toxic, you can look out for some possible signs. A toxic friend might:
- have an angry attitude towards life
- gossip about others or about you
- criticise you, either subtly or not
- constantly remind you of your past failures
- try to manipulate you into feeling a certain way or doing something you don’t want to do
- stress you out
- demand too much, without giving anything back.
The best way to decide whether a friendship might not be healthy is to be honest with yourself about how you feel when you’re with that person. Do you generally feel worse when you hang out with them? Do you feel drained of energy any time you spend time with them? Toxic friendships are bad for our mental health and wellbeing. If you can’t improve the relationship, you should think about letting it go.
What you can do about a toxic friendship
None of us likes the idea of losing a friend, and some people deserve a second chance. Your friend may not be aware that their behaviour bothers you. It might be worth talking to them and establishing some healthy boundaries:
- Say ‘no’ when your friend asks for something that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Point out to them when they’re acting mean or being critical of you.
- Tell them when their behaviour is unwanted and unacceptable.
- Talk to them about how their behaviour makes you feel.
- It’s okay to tell them that if they aren’t willing to treat you better, then it might be best if you parted ways.
Ending a friendship
If the steps you’ve taken don’t improve things, then it might be time to pull the plug:
- Write down a list of reasons why you think the friendship should end. Keep the list handy in case you need to look at it.
- Sit down with your friend and explain as best as you can that the friendship isn’t healthy.
- Try not to point the finger at them or to make them feel bad.
- Instead, tell them how the time you spend with them makes you feel. Nobody can ever take your feelings away from you.
- Listen to their point of view and try not to argue with them.
- If either of you gets angry, calmly remove yourself from the situation.
- End the conversation as politely as you can, for their wellbeing and yours.
Sometimes we need professional help to deal with the effects of ending a relationship. Also, if you think your toxic friend needs to talk to someone, or that they’re a risk to themselves or others, encourage them to seek help.
Check out our getting help section for information on who can help.
If you feel like you need to talk about what’s going on, contact a phone counselling service such as Lifeline (13 11 44) or Kids Help Line (1800 55 1800).
My Bad Friend Essay
Her. My best friend, my un-biological sister, the calmness of my drama. She has many titles to her name, well from me at least. But unfortunately bad friend is one of them. It all started last year. Our first year in a new school. Our first year in middle school. I can just remember about how we were wishing things wouldn’t change. But they did.
This past year my very best friend has treated me like dirt. I was not the wind beneath her wings, but the dirt beneath her feet. She has treated me like a no one. She has pointed out my flaws, order me around like a slave, embarrassed me to a point of no return. Yes my parents know about it, and even some friends too but they do not confront her because they are waiting on someone, waiting on me. I have not told this problem to her yet because I’m scared. No I’m usually not a cowered, but when it comes to losing something I love and value so much, what’s the point?
I’m always wishing and hoping for it to come true, us going back to the way we were. But it hasn’t come true, and it won’t. I keep telling myself it’s just a phase and she’ll pass over it soon. But I’m only kidding myself. . I always thought when I was littler, that we would be best friends forever. That she would be my maid of honor and I would be hers. That when we get older our children would be the best of friends, like us,...
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