Wifeys & Gentlemen,
How has everyone been? I know it’s been a week since we last connected and I am sorry for that! I am so behind on life. The start of this 3rd and final trimester has been a real bitch and a half. I am so tired (again), ya’ll. The struggle is so real. Don’t even get me started on the heartburn….
Lately, my energy is spent on work, getting my workouts in, and worrying about everything & anything! I need a nap just to recover from a 15 minute call! LOL.
Case in point, I have been deep in my feelings lately about the kind of person I am and the kind of parent I will ultimately be.
Sometimes, I feel lonely and left behind.
I worry that my friends don’t care about my anymore. I worry that my family has forgotten me. I know it’s the hormones coupled with being stuck on lockdown and paranoid about illness, but sometimes it takes a LOT of reflection and meditation to dig myself out of that space.
This, of course, got me thinking about toxic friendships.
As I close my eyes and focus on manifesting my dreams, I am often reminded that I need to walk away from people and things that are no longer serving me. I mean, how many times do we see memes or reminders about how we need to clear the toxic elements out of our lives?
Am I the only one who has ever wondered if maybe I am the toxic element? What if I am the one that others need to walk away from or let go of?
The good news is that if you have these thoughts, you likely ARE NOT a toxic friend. Your concern over the way others see and receive you means you care about their feelings and want to make sure your presence has a positive impact.
Still, for those of us who aren’t quite sure, I decided to put together this quick list of signs that you might be the toxic friend in your circle.
As always, this list isn’t exhaustive and even if you display some of these traits, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a bad person. We all have growing to do. We all have things to work on. Let this list act as a guide to help you reflect and refocus.
What is a toxic person?
A toxic person is someone who takes advantage of others in the name of love or friendship. They often use manipulation tactics to drive their own personal desires and maintain a sense of ‘control’ over their circle to mask greater insecurities.
Are you a toxic person?
Are you very needy?
Do you look to your friends to fulfill your personal needs, take up slack for your weaknesses, or solve all your problems? Do you feel entitled to their time and energy? Do you feel slighted or offended when they do things or have fun without you? Needy people latch on and can’t seem to let go.
Are you overly critical/judgmental?
Constructive criticism or solicited advice is fine, especially if you’re close enough to the person and know how to speak to them in a way that doesn’t offend or impose. However, if you’re always belittling them for their actions or choices or judging their decisions, pump the breaks! You’re a friend, not a parent. Even if you think you’re helping, no one needs to be told what to do or how to live. You might find that you’re causing more harm by hurting their feelings or lowering their self-esteem.
Do you believe everything is about you, all the time?
Do you always find a way to make the conversation about you? Do you try to invalidate someone else’s feelings by letting them know you have it way worse? Do you try to “one up” your friends when they share good news? Do you have a hard time listening instead of talking? You cannot be a good friend if you believe you are the center of everything. Allow others to be seen. Let someone else have the spotlight from time to time.
Are you controlling?
If you have ever felt like you “own” or “posses” your friend, you might be controlling. Do you want to know where they are or what they’re doing all the time? Do you get upset if your friend makes new friends? Would you hate to see your friend get into a romantic relationship? Do you often feel like no one is good enough to be around your friend, except you? Do you not trust your friend to do the right thing or make up their own mind? Again, you are not their parent and cannot monopolize their existence. Let go. They do not owe you an explanation or justification for everything they do or the way they feel. Figure out what is causing this strong reaction.
Are you inconsiderate?
Are you always late? Are you bad returning phone calls or responding to texts? Do you bail on your friends when you find a new man or woman to date? Do you blow off plans when something better comes along? Do you order the most expensive food on the menu and still expect to split the bill? Do you rarely offer money for gas or pay for the uber? Being inconsiderate shows your friends that you don’t value them as people. It signals that their friendship is secondary or unimportant in your eyes.
Are you always negative?
This can be a hard one because, most of the time, a generally negative outlook is a symptom of greater issues going on. However, if you are the friend who is always complaining, sad, in the middle of a crisis, or waiting for the next failure, you are likely toxic. That kind of energy sucks the life out of those around you. It might be time to get some help.
Do you spread rumors or dish secrets behind your friends’ backs?
As a woman, I know that there is a fine line between malicious gossip and harmless discussion. I think we all know the difference. I am the FIRST to admit that I have discussed my friends and some of their actions behind their backs. While I can’t say this isn’t always the nicest thing to do, I do know it is never with the intent cause harm, tear them down, or share information that they wouldn’t want someone else to know. Sometimes, our friends frustrate us or confuse us and we need to vent! You don’t want to hurt feelings or cause tensions by sharing every little opinion you have about them to their face. This is normal. It happens in all kind of relationship dynamics. You can be supportive of a friend and care about them when they frustrate you. On the contrary, making up rumors or telling someone’s private business behind their back is low. It betrays trust and can cause major problems for you and the person you’re hurting. Ask yourself why you feel the need to do this? What purpose is it serving you? If you dislike this person enough to bash them behind their back, why go to the trouble of being their friend?
Do you only call your friends when you need something?
Do you only call your friends when something is wrong? Do you only reach out during a breakup or a fight with your lover? Do you find yourself hitting up friends for their information, connections, or special knowledge and otherwise ignoring them? Do you avoid your friends when you know they are in need or struggling? Yep. That’s toxic. Friendships should be balanced and multi-dimensional. Yes, call your friends when you need an ear or need some help. Ask them for advice or support. Use their gifts whenever possible but be willing to reciprocate! Ask them about themselves. Tell them the good things as well as the bad. Share an interest in their life.
Are you very jealous of your friends?
Jealousy is a totally normal, healthy emotion. It comes and goes for most if not all of us. A mature friend knows that jealousy is only temporary and a primal, childish reaction to wanting something that someone else has. It is an offshoot of insecurity and inadequacy that we’ve all experienced. However, good friends do not allow their fleeting jealousy to block them from being happy for others. If you do, you have a problem. If you can’t be happy when your friend falls in love, gets pregnant, gets married, buys a home, gets a promotion, or wins a coveted prize, ask yourself if you’re really their friend. Harboring resentment means you’ll treat them poorly because you believe, deep down, that they don’t deserve the things they have.
Is it hard for you to hold yourself accountable?
Do you have a hard time apologizing? If you do something wrong or hurtful, do you often find a way to blame others instead of accepting responsibility yourself? All friends have arguments or disagreements from time to time, but if you’re always the one lashing out or getting worked up, you need to own that. Do not blame your friends for provoking or inciting your bad behavior. Accept responsibility in the moments where it’s yours to take.
In a time of revolution and true social change, I think it’s important that we better understand how to support the people in our lives. Moreover, it’s important to understand the kind of support we need to seek out. We are all trying to acknowledge our biases and toxic traits and it isn’t easy work.
Just because you exhibit one or two of these traits, doesn’t mean you’re a horrible friend who needs to be cancelled. Maybe you’re just afraid to ask for the kind of love and support you really need? Maybe you have trust issues that block you from being vulnerable with others? Maybe you’re surrounded by other toxic people and these traits are just starting to rub off?
Luckily, it is never too late to make a change. If you feel like you might be a toxic person, figure out whatever it is you need to do to change your course. Apologize for your wrongdoings and learn how to be a better friend, lover, or family member to those you care about.
It isn’t easy, but it’s so so worth it! 🙂
I promise there will be a new podcast up this weekend! By hook or by crook.
Feel free to let me know in the comments if you’ve ever felt like you were toxic! Help your fellow readers by letting us know how you overcame some of these bad habits!
Until next time,
Carry on Wifeys & Gents!
Be a lamb and tell your friends! We are growing and I so so appreciate the warm fuzzies I get when you guys like and share my blog! It makes this pregnant lady proud! ❤