You know a friend is not very good for you if:

You feel bad about yourself when you speak with them or are around them.

They seem more comfortable being your friend when you’re down.

They struggle to be happy for you and view your happiness and your gains as something that they don’t have.

They encourage you to stay in relationships that are damaging or even potentially dangerous.

They hit on your partner.

They seek to damage your relationships with friends and family. In fact, they may be a Friend Stealer.

A ‘toxic friendship’ is a relationship that has the ability to permeate negatively into other areas of your life and is likely to affect your self-esteem. The type of person who is ‘toxic friend’ tends to the one with a tight smile trying to orchestrate your demise under a pretext of friendship. Some don’t recognise their behaviour because they have such negative beliefs and behaviours about themselves and what friendship actually means, whereas others know exactly what they’re doing and act out of jealousy, envy, and being generally screwed up. As far as they’re concerned, if they’re going to be down, you’re going to be down, and even if they’re up…they prefer you to be down…

I often talk about how you feel in situations or around people and how it should be a strong indicator of whether this person should be in your life. When you have toxic friendships, you’ll often feel uncertain, and may play conversations or scenes back in your mind as you are worried that you may be being paranoid that your friend is being unkind. Much of what these ‘toxic friends’ do can be subtle or not outright cruel so you can end up doubting yourself. They take a firmer hold on you if you are already insecure or they are your only friend, or one of only a few friends. Because they come in a package of ‘friendship’, it can be difficult to ascertain whether they are truly a friend or foe.

Whilst I don’t deny that people generally can’t ‘make’ you do something, there is a lot to be said for the person that takes advantage of the fact that you are already down, already insecure, and hence more susceptible to being manipulated. Your ‘toxic friend’ may already have bad love habits herself so when you find yourself in an unhealthy relationship, she may encourage you rather than provide healthy counsel. Two is often company in this type of situation and if you were to take up with a guy that provided a healthier alternative…that could potentially throw the spotlight back on her choices.

Whatever is taking place, if you find yourself around someone who seems happier and friendlier when you’re down, you know you’re in ‘toxic friendship’ territory. True friendship means that you can be there when they are up as well as down and that you can share in each others successes and struggles. If your friendship relies on you taking some sort of lower status in her mind, you need to let her go. Remember: friendship isn’t friendship if she’s not actually your friend….

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