Is your friendship toxic? Don't ignore these warning signs

Mar 09, 2023 03:21 PM IST

From constant criticism to controlling behaviour, these signs can help you recognize a toxic friendship and take the necessary steps to protect your mental and emotional health.

Friendship is a beautiful thing that can provide us with love, laughter, and a shoulder to lean on during tough times. However, not all friendships are created equal, and some can be downright toxic. These toxic friendships can be like a slow poison, slowly draining our emotional and mental energy until we're left feeling exhausted and unhappy. The worst part? It can be challenging to recognize these negative patterns of behaviour, especially when we care deeply about the person. If you're wondering if your friendship has taken a toxic turn, keep reading to learn about some of the warning signs to look out for. (Also read: Ways to have closer and safer friendships )

It's not uncommon for friendships to have their ups and downs, but when the downs outweigh the ups, it may be a sign of a toxic friendship.(Unsplash )
It's not uncommon for friendships to have their ups and downs, but when the downs outweigh the ups, it may be a sign of a toxic friendship.(Unsplash )

Ginger Dean, Licensed Psychotherapist, shared certain signs that can indicate a friendship is toxic, in her recent Instagram post.

  • Competing with you even if it's just in their mind. This constant comparison creates an unhealthy dynamic where they have to constantly prove themselves or put others down to feel better about themselves.
  • They'll copy and paste aspects of your life and who you are in order to wear their perception of you like a costume. Copycats imitate the behaviour of another person with the intention of gaining attention or recognition for themselves without actually doing the work. This is due to a poorly developed sense of self and this allows them to feel good enough.
  • Negging you with backhanded compliments about various aspects of your life. Negging is a sneaky manipulation tactic often used in toxic friendships. It's like a backhanded compliment or a subtle put-down that makes you feel off-balance and insecure. Those who neg want to feel superior and powerful by bringing down their friends, associates, or colleagues.
  • Surveillance vs support. They keep tabs on you as they battle the conflicting and disrupting feelings about you in their minds. They may distance themselves from the person they envy, as a way of avoiding the negative feelings around the jealousy they feel. They'll do this all the while claiming there's something "off" about you when it's really their unrelenting jealousy.
  • Superficial level of friendship marked by love bombing and overly excitable behaviour. They align themselves with you in order to keep tabs or to suppress your own success/happiness as they behave overly excited about your friendship. This is done to mask their real feelings as they ride your coattails copycatting you while nursing their resentment.
  • Gossip about you and covertly triangulate others into conflict, in order to turn them against you. You're often unaware they're doing this by design, but your intuition will tell you all. They smile on your face and talk badly about you behind your back. This is also a fawning response because they're afraid of the conflict they nurse in their minds about you.
  • Align themselves with your enemies then gaslight you if you have a problem with it. This is passive-aggressive and meant to needle you in order to make you confused and ultimately more vulnerable to their manipulation.

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