Friends form an important part of our lives. Our social support is vital not just for our prospects in life, but our mental health as well.
Good friends help you navigate your life. They offer an ear when you are down, watch out for your interest, shoulder your concerns, and improve the quality of your life.
When you have solid friendships, your physical and mental health improves as result. From increased longevity to decreased risk of chronic problems like blood pressure and depression, the benefits of friendship are rather profound.
However, a bad, or a toxic friendship also has just as powerful an impact on your health. It leads to emotional turmoil and stress, which may even then require help from a Psychiatrist then.
Signs of a toxic friendship
Laugh at your expense
Your friends are supposed to lift you up, not shove you down a shaft of embarrassment. If your friend is constantly laughing at your expense, making a joke with you like a punch line, dredging up embarrassing memories for a cheap laugh, and is demeaning you, that’s a sign of a bad friend.
If your friend cannot be your confidant, you have trouble brewing. If you share something in private your friend, but it becomes gossip mill’s fodder, then perhaps the friend is not a sincere one and needs to be cut out.
Even if you manage to confront them about their curt and hurtful behavior, they might offer an insincere apology, which is often followed by a conditional statement that is supposed to make it look like you are overreacting.
Phrases like I am sorry, but it was just a joke, or I am sorry, I didn’t mean to slip the information are some characteristic sentences used for the non-apology apology.
Ask but don’t tell
With friendship, trust is two-way. However, not with toxic friends. Since they do not want to be vulnerable, they will ask you things point-blank, but refuse to share their own information.
So, if you are baring your soul to your friend, but the only personal thing they discuss is the weather, then it’s not a good sign.
Put you down with comparison
Parents might compare you to other children, and well even that’s not okay, but friends should never be pushing you down by comparing you to others. It may be something banal as your choice of clothing, or something personal like your bank account or personal life.
Such words pack a punch and a lot of hurt. Giving up on such negativity is better than nurturing it.
Take they will
While good friends share, toxic friends take. They take a lot of your mental and physical energy. Moreover, if you happen to work or study with them, they tend to take credit for any project well done. The fact that they didn’t do their due, or if it was a joint effort is inconsequential.
They matter the most
Another sign of a toxic friend is that they are in the habit of centering the universe around them. Their needs, their preferences, their being is simply more important. However, such an unhealthy balance in any relationship, let along friendship, is not good.
The funny thing about intuition, or gut instinct as we call it, is that it is often correct, but we seldom pay heed to it.
If you are uncomfortable or nervous around your friend, if your soul is not at ease, then it is not a sign of a healthy friendship. If an interaction with them leaves you uneasy, it’s time you seriously reconsider your friendship.
Cut them off
If you are able to recognize these signs in your friendships, you need to cut them off. From stress that may require the help of a Psychiatrist in Islamabad for management to poor self-esteem, the issues that they cause are aplenty.
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