People are social beings: we live in groups and surround ourselves with people we care about. So for many people friendships are a vital component of life. This is not surprising because with friends you can share your secrets, they lift your spirit and you can also have a lot of fun with them. Unfortunately, friendships can change if the person in question changes or they were never a good friend to start with. In this article we will discuss how to recognize a toxic friendship.

  • He or she is codependent: Friends are there for each other in good times and in bad times. However it is important to find a balance. If someone is always depending on you, it might  disturb the balance and this will start to feel like being smothered and, in the long term, come at the expense of other friendships.
  • Your friendship is a competition: A healthy friendship means, among other things, that you want the best for each other and are happy for his or her successes. Jealousy is a human characteristic that often has to do with one’s own uncertainty. If this jealousy takes on excessive proportions, you must be careful that this does not stand in the way of your own happiness. A jealous person rather sees you fail than succeed.
  • Your secrets are not safe: Trust is often described as the basis of friendship. Being able to share your secrets with someone can relieve a lot of tension. However, if this trust is violated, the basis of your friendship breaks down. You can wonder if the friendship is worth keeping without unconditional trust.
  • The friendship is one-sided: As described above, a healthy friendship is balanced. If a friendship is one-sided, it means that just one of the friends takes all the initiative to remain friends. Do you have the feeling that all the initiative comes from you, test if this is true by letting the ropes slide a bit. If he or she does not pick up the initiative, you know what the friendship means to them.
  • The friendship only takes energy: Friendship should give you (mental) energy. If the opposite is the case and you do not look forward to seeing that friend, it is not a good sign. Think about how and why this is the case and if the friendship is worth keeping.  

A toxic friendship, what do I do now?
There is no simple answer to this question, because there are several types of friendships. Some friendships do not have to stop. Sometimes, there is just a need for more space from one side. For example, a friendship where a person appears to be strongly dependent, is perhaps difficult for people to break because they feel guilty. The best thing you can do is, indicate that you also need time and space for other things and friendships. If someone respects this wish, there is no need to break up the friendship. This also goes for a friendship that consumes a lot of your energy. The best thing you can do is tell the person that you feel this way and you would like more space. If someone respects this, there is no need to break up the friendship. If not, you can stop putting energy in the friendship, knowing that you tried. In summary, friends should always be able to be honest to each other, even if it is about their friendship.

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Tim Buijs

Here to help you every step off the way. Passionate about sports, traveling and movies.

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