It's happening again.
Your friend is pushing you hard until you hit a record low with stress.
You feel powerless and even a little embarrassed.
As a friend, you should have a better handle on this, right?
But maybe you're too hard on your friend. Maybe you need to forget the bruises and forgive -- again.
Before you resign yourself to your friend's behavior, know this:
"Friends are like stars,they come and go, but the ones that stay are the ones that glow" -- Unknown.
Staying with toxic friends influences you more than you think:
"You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with." -- Jim Rohn
Here are 23 signs to help you identify toxic friends
1. They convey criticism
They lack consistency in their words. They're like snipers you don't know when they might strike, and their advice is a kick-to-the-stomach that makes you feel small and embarrassed.
2. They're smart.
They are like a single aircraft propeller. They skillfully determine which direction you move and how fast you go. If you try resisting, they fill you up with guilt until you cave in.
3. They're covetous
They feel bitter when you acquire things they don't have instead of being happy for you.
"As iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by their own passion." -- Greek Philosopher
4. They discredit you
They doubt everything you say or do. They hold you in low esteem and spread lies about you. They lack faith in you and belittles your achievements.
5. They lack empathy
They don't feel your pain.
"If you can empathize with someone, it's because you have been in their place, you've walked a mile in their shoes." -- Greek Pathos
Well, don't expect that from toxic people.
6. They're untrustworthy
They disclose secrets confined to them which destroys the trust you put in them.
7. They're freeloaders
They take advantage of your generosity and give nothing in return. They can stay at your house for months or years without chipping in for groceries, or even offering a thank-you.
8. They're gossipy
They chatter behind your back and spread rumors about you. Their gossip is like a whirlwind, and it destroys your reputation in a short period.
9. They're unhappy
Low spirits mark their lives. Always dissatisfied, complaining, discontent and misery are their companions.
They offer help when it's convenient to them not to you. They only care about themselves and don't consider you. They'd probably refuse you into their boat if your's was sinking.
11. Their life is a living drama
They live in "one life" and "another world" dragging you into their exaggerated lifestyles. Describing a bad day is stretched to an abnormal level.
12. They bully
They use your emotions to attack you. Your morale gets destroyed and you end up psychologically damaged.
13. They're blabby
They talk too much. You never get a chance to put one word in a conversation. When you do, they talk about you until you shut up.
14. They're judgmental
They pass harsh and critical judgment based on their own ideas. They're not open to hearing your version of the story.
15. They're liars
They habitually lie with every intention to deceive you. They tell improbable stories which you know are far from the truth.
16. They're bigheaded
They are too stuck up to deal with and for the most part, they just talk about themselves.
17. They're stubborn
It's their way or no way. They're uncompromising and won't bend their schedule to accommodate your plans. Ajahn Sumedho nailed it when he said:
"The mind of an enlightened human being is flexible and adaptable. The mind of the ignorant person is conditioned and fixed."
18. They're fussy
They're picky and needy, annoying and hard to please. You can only make yourself scarce when they get fussy because pleasing them is not an option.
19. They're resentful
They never give up their ruthless nature. If they believe you have wronged them they won't forget until their mean-spirited wrath is launched on you.
20. They're harsh
They get involved in fights over petty arguments. They like to sow division just to agitate, they start with friendly talk, then it becomes contentious, and finally a conflict.
"You can never win an argument with a negative person they only hear what suits them and listen only to respond." -- Michael P. Watson.
21. They're inconsistent
Their commitment to the friendship is hard to predict. You get frustrated trying to understand them.It's time to remember
"Don't deal with sometime-ish people. Life is too short for inconsistency." -- Rayaleradin
22. They're pessimistic
They always believe the evil outweighs the good. And that is, bad things are likely to happen.They're always discouraged which is a downer for those near them, including you.
23. They're cheap
They lack generosity and are concerned with themselves. They grudgingly share with you when you're in need. They forget that:
"No one has ever become poor by giving." -- Anne Frank
Immunization against toxic friends
Most people lack the courage to let go.
Tackling your personal relationships will give you the confidence to achieve your dream.
Firing a toxic friend is not hard.
Realize you can only spend time with sparkling stars.
And that begins with letting go of toxic people
Now is the time to honor your authentic values and break loose.
Ann Davis is on a mission to help you find your calling with these, 11 powerful Questions
Follow Ann Davis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/therealdreamer2
As I get older and my life becomes more complicated, I've noticed that my desire to spend time with certain friends has waned. Not that I don't love and care for them, but for various reasons, these friendships have become too complicated or too negative to warrant the effort that it takes to keep them going. How sad. Yet I have to wonder, is this simply something that happens with age and increased stress? Or is it more?
When I look back, the power of hindsight offers a few clues that these friendships were ending regardless of what was going on in my life. I don't imagine that there was much that I could have done to save them because each one had some of the eroding elements listed below. If you're thinking about shifts in your friendships and wondering if one has become toxic, I offer you these signs that it's time to let the relationship go.
1. It's one-sided. All relationships have a natural ebb and flow to them when it comes to giving and receiving love. This giving comes in the form of listening, making the effort to get together, spending resources on the friendship, you get the idea. Most harmonious relationships work toward a balance; we want to give AND receive. The sign that a friendship is becoming toxic and out of balance is when this give and take becomes overly one-sided. Examples of this include when you're always the one to make the calls, text, say hello on Facebook/email, ask for the girls-night, do the driving, pay the tab etc.
For relationships to thrive, the balance sheet has to have some overall equality to it. Stressful times aside, we need to feel that if we took score, that somehow we'd come up even.
2. It's dishonest. Honesty and genuineness are critical elements necessary to keep friendships alive. When one or both people begin making excuses, trimming stories to leave out details or outright lying there is something seriously wrong. When you consider how busy our lives are, the friendships we have need to be ones where we can be our true selves without feeling that we need to be protective or hide the truth. A major benefit of friendship is the gift of feeling loved and respected for who we are. When that is missing, it's a major sign that it's time to think about the relationship and if it's worth the effort.
3. It's overly critical. Friends are supposed to support us, if not, why have them? If we look for it, we can easily find people to tell us all the things we could do better. But is it really wise to have those critical souls in our daily lives? The truth is that people who consistently criticize us hurt our self-esteem. Furthermore, this kind of behavior hits at two things which are seemingly more problematic: jealousy and cruelty. If someone is constantly pointing out the things we're doing wrong and makes no time to acknowledge the things we're doing right, they may serve us better if we speak with from time-to-time but certainly not everyday.
4. You genuinely don't like each other anymore. The truth is that people change. Life events, stress, age and time all have an impact on how we see the world and how we choose to behave. Sometimes our values diverge and we lose our connection. When that happens, it's important to consider if we're staying with the friendship out of choice or obligation. If you can honestly say that you no longer care for your friend anymore, it's okay to be honest about that change and make choices that reflect this new perspective. Chances are that if you feel this way that your friend has a sense that something is amiss also. There's no requirement that you have a "big talk," sometimes simply backing away is enough. But, if you feel the need to have the talk, try to remember points two and three above and be honest yet kind.
5. Your life feels calmer, happier and more alive without them. When two people struggle to understand where their friendship is headed, often there are periods of time when they don't communicate as much. During these breaks, ask yourself if you're happier or less stressed without your friend? Sometimes the answer is a resounding "yes" and in those cases, the writing is on the wall. But what about situations where your friend has fallen into a self-destructive pattern that you hope will change? Sometimes relief comes when you simply accept that it's not your responsibility to fix your friend, and that until they decide to take action all you can do it wait and pray. Perhaps in this case what you really need is a break and not a breakup.
Toxic friendships can truly be harmful to everyone involved. As you consider this list, if the friendship that you have in mind comes up as a net negative, then it's clear what you need to do. All that's left is to decide how you want to back away and if a conversation is necessary.
Remember that each ending makes room for a new beginning. Fear of walking away from a toxic friendship only keeps you both stuck and stunts your growth. On the other hand, finding the courage to explore difficult questions ultimately raises the bar and redefines the kind of friendships that are worth your time, energy and love.
Follow Melanie Gorman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/melanie360