A good friendship has to have a number of ingredients such as shared interests, memories and experiences to work.
With emigration becoming rife and technology allowing people to stay in touch so easily friends have become a fabric of our lives which also explains why it hurts us so when a friendship is fraught with confusion, heartache and tears.
But how do you know when a friendship turns toxic?
No one needs a toxic friend so here are nine signs to spot a toxic situation.
1) Your friend is jealous of you. A jealous friend will want to cut you out of her life because she really wants what you have and can’t stand to be around you anymore.
2) Your friend is a “doormat”: It’s tiring to always be with someone who cannot make a decision.
3) Your friend wasn’t there for you. She doesn’t celebrate your good news nor does she help you in times of need.
4) Your friend is draining you: You listen to her non-stop complaining and ‘fml’ moments and receiving nothing in return.
5) You don’t share the same values or the same world view: It’s a red flag that this isn’t the right friend for you if you don’t respect her for who she is.
6) You are using one another: You want to be friends with your neighbor because they have a wardrobe full of designer clothes to borrow is not the basis of a long-term friendship.
7) The relationship offers no return on investment: If you are the one calling your friend to make plans and going out of your way to be with her, but she makes no attempt to go out of her way for you, then she’s not meeting you halfway.
8) Your friend is harming someone else or doing something illicit. Do you want to be associated with someone who is morally unjust? That’s a judgment call on your part.
9) Your friend burdens you with a secret: Your friend trusts you with the details of her affair, but keeping the secret is way too much for you.
If any of these signs describes one of your friendships, it’s likely to be a toxic relationship. The best way to get out of a toxic situation is to deliberately distance yourself and let the relationship fizzle into oblivion.
If you want to give the friendship another shot then be honest with each other and hope things change. Toxic relationships are harmful to both parties and let’s face it: A mean friend is just as scarring as a bad mother or husband.
Don’t surround yourself with people who don’t deserve your friendship!
(Text published in An Focal XXI Issue 2 on 2 Oct 2012 http://issuu.com/ulsu/docs/af_xxi_2)