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How to Tell if Your Friends are Toxic

February 7, 2019 by

It is normal for a friend to mess up every now and then. But if you have a friend who is consistently disappointing you, lying to you, asking favors without giving anything in return, you might be in a toxic friendship.

The signs of these types of friendships can be easy to miss, but they all have a few things in common: they are emotionally harmful.

Friends who cause stress and anxiety to those around them and don’t support other people in their endeavors. These friends can be draining and lead you to doubt yourself.

So what are some clear-cut signs that your friends are toxic?

Signs You Have a Toxic Friend

1. You give more than you get

You may be bringing your friend lunch every day and driving her to and from social events, but does she do anything for you in return? While your friends may not be able to be there for you all the time, you should be able to see some effort on their part that they want to make a contribution to the relationship.

2. You don’t trust them.

Friendships are based on a sense of trust. This means that if you don’t trust that your friend has your best interests in mind, they probably aren’t a high-quality friend. For example, if a friend makes a promise to help you out, you want that person to stay true to that. If a toxic friend makes a similar promise, he or she will likely back out at the last minute.

3. You Don’t Want to Look at Your Phone

Technology makes it easy to keep up with your friends, but if you feel a sense of dread every time you hear from a specific person, that could be a sign that they are toxic in your life.

4. You Don’t Enjoy Your Time Together

Do you feel relieved when plans are cancelled with this friend? If so, you may be tired of putting more work into the relationship than you get out of it. Being around this person is probably draining and can even lead to physical symptoms like headaches and stomachaches.

5. They Bring Out the Worst in You

A toxic friend can be contagious and bring your own toxic behaviors to light. This might include drinking too much, gossiping, or acting petty with them when you’re normally not so dramatic.

Or, you might feel like you can’t act like yourself around this person because you are never sure about how they will react. So basically, if you feel lousy about yourself when you are with this person, then they could be a toxic friend.

6. You Know They Gossip About You

When your friend talks about you when you’re not around, is she coming from a place of genuine concern for you or not? There is a difference between saying: “I’m not sure about the guy Katherine is dating, he seems controlling.” and “Why does Katherine always settle for these sketchy guys?”

7. You Compete With Them

You can have healthy competition with your friends in small doses. This is normal and fun at times, but only if, at the end of the day, you still have their best interest at heart. However, if you feel like you are constantly fighting to be better than one specific friend, the relationship is probably toxic.

8. You Feel Used

One sign of a toxic friend is when you find yourself doing thing that you don’t want to do, just to appease that person. Toxic friends can manipulate you into making a decision that seems fair at first, but really isn?t. For example, a toxic friend will insist on splitting the check if they got a lot more at dinner. You know it’s not fair, but you do what you have to do to keep the relationship going.

What do you do if you have a toxic friend?

Get an outsider’s opinion on your relationship with this other person, or if you have a mutual friend, talk to them about the actions and behaviors of your possibly toxic friend.

Start setting some limits and boundaries with your friend so you can gain back some feelings of control. Stick with your boundaries. “No” is a complete answer, and you shouldn’t be afraid to say it.

Or, you could start to slowly distance yourself from this person so you’re not spending so much time with them anymore. If you don’t find that this solves the problem, you may need to completely cut ties with them and move on.

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