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Am I Toxic? How to Recognize If You Are the Toxic Friend (and How to Stop)

Relationships

Tue, January 23

There is a trend of “firing friends,” which means cutting friends out of your life because they are a toxic influence. There are many valid reasons to cut someone out of your life. However, it doesn’t occur to many people that they could possibly be the toxic one. This article will cover signs that you are a toxic friend and ways to stop and repair your relationship.

You Make Them Spend Time with Only You

It is natural to want to spend time with your friends. However, forcing them to spend time with only you is not. An example includes forcing them to eat lunch with you when they would rather eat with someone else.

This also extends to guilt-tripping them into skipping school, practice, and other activities. These show over-possessiveness and toxicity.

You Criticize Their Every Move

Constructive criticism is fine and helps people become better. However, criticizing every single move they make proves you are a bad friend. If you are constantly nitpicking everything your friend does, whether it is their hairstyle or choice of clothes or something else, you are showing that you are making things more difficult and toxic.

Never Owning Up to Mistakes

It is normal to have disagreements. It is part of being human. However, if you constantly lash out and refuse to own up to your mistakes, then that is when the relationship starts to become toxic.

Even if your friend does something to make you angry, you still are the one in control of your emotions. Therefore, refusing to own up to anything is toxic.

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You Are Always Envious of their Achievements

Anytime your friend makes an achievement and you can’t feel happy for them, it is another sign that you are a toxic friend. This is even more evident if you tell them that no one cares about their achievements to make them feel undervalued. Constantly putting them down because you can’t feel happy for them is a sign of toxic behavior.

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You Make Them Do Dangerous Things

In a true friendship, you do not peer pressure other people into things such as drinking and smoking underage. However, in a toxic friendship, it is common for the dominating one in the friendship to force the more submissive one to participate in things that they do not want to. They feel like they must do this to win your approval. Having friends who feel they have to prioritize your happiness over your health signifies that you may be toxic.

The Friendship Only Benefits You

In a friendship, both sides need to benefit. If your friend always helps you out, but you cannot be bothered to help him/her/them out, it shows that your friendship is one-sided. This also extends to conversations when you go on and on about yourself, but whenever your friend wants to talk about themselves, you decide to change the topic altogether or leave.

Ways to Fix a Relationship

Toxic friendships are indeed difficult to fix. Despite this, it is possible to fix a friendship without your friends cutting you out of their lives completely. It just takes time, patience, and the willingness to change your behavior. Both parties have to make it work for the friendship to be better.

Set Boundaries

You need to set boundaries if you want to fix a toxic friendship. Ask your friends what behaviors they consider acceptable and what they consider crossing the line. Then, realize you must follow through with the acceptable behaviors and forego the unacceptable behaviors to repair your friendship.

Uphold Your Promises

Don’t just tell someone you will do something and then just not do it. Uphold your promise. If plans change, that is acceptable.

However, if you are available, you must uphold your promise. Don’t make fake excuses such as “I forgot that I had soccer practice today” or “I don’t feel like it. Maybe some other time,” Keeping your promises shows that you are improving.

When You Apologize, Mean It

Toxic friends apologize a lot, but they never mean it. When you never mean the apology, they are never really accepted. Sitting down and giving your friend a genuine, heartfelt apology feels more real. Having a heart-to-heart conversation shows that you are willing to own up to your mistakes.

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Compromise

Toxic friends frequently do what they want to do and refuse to let their other friends have a say. However, if you all work together to see if there is a way that everyone can benefit, then that shows that your friendship is repaired. An example of compromising is if you want to go to a festival and your friend wants to go to a concert that overlaps, then you can spend half the time at the festival and the other half at the concert.

Find Opportunities to Be Compassionate

Instead of being toxic and giving nitpicky criticism, find ways to be nice to your friends. It could even be something small like holding the door for your friend or complimenting their clothes or a new haircut. Make sure your compliments are genuine. Fake compliments are still a sign of toxicity.

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Take Time Apart

While taking a break from your friendship may not seem like the best idea, it could actually help your friendship. Spending time apart from them can help with self-reflection and realizing what you need to change and how to be a better friend.

It will be difficult to become a better friend. Becoming a better friend doesn’t happen overnight. It takes baby steps.

Work on small actions such as genuine compliments. Then, build your way higher. Soon, improving your friendship will become closer to a reality.

Chantel Hernandez
10k+ pageviews

Writer since Jul, 2023 · 11 published articles

Chantel Hernandez is a 15 year old girl. She likes reading, watching TV, and being on her phone.

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