Don’t you know that they’re toxic?

Photo credit: Snake via Wikilmages (Pixabay)

Lydia Caunce

It’s sometimes hard to realise that the people you associate yourself with aren’t necessarily a good influence, or make you the best person that you can be. Friendships are never the easiest to let go of but sometimes you need to put yourself first, and remove these toxic friends from your life. It may be hard to realise at first that these friends don’t have your best intentions at heart. However, there are a few signs that you should look out for if you’ve started to get the feeling that these people may not be the best to hang around with.

Friends that constantly put you down and make you feel like crap aren’t worth your time. If you start to notice little passive aggressive comments like ‘I didn’t expect you to go to the gym’ or talking down to you in order to embarass you in front of your other friends, you should start to question whether this is the sort of friend you necessarily want in your life. If these comments start to get more malicious, or even just start to have an affect on you as they are constantly dropped into conversation, then this is definitely a sign of a toxic friend.

Friends that try to turn your other friends against you, aren’t your friends. Anyone that goes out with the intention to hurt you and make you lose friends, isn’t somebody that cares about you in the long run. Whilst this is something that you won’t always know is happening, or be able to avoid if it is behind your back, it is something to be wary of with friends that you’re already slightly suspicious of. If you hear of this happening by more than one credible source, it shouldn’t be something you take lightly as somebody who acts nice to your face, but talks about you behind your back isn’t a good friend.

An easy way to decide if somebody is worth your time and effort is by looking back on your time together and asking yourself ‘does this person make me sad more than they make me happy?’ It is something to seriously think about, as the little things that they do might not seem like a big deal when they are said, but if you look back at it over time you may realise that their friendship does more bad than good for your well-being.

Once you’ve realised that you have a toxic friend, then comes the hard part. Cutting them out. The best thing you can do is firstly talk to them as this may be something that they don’t realise they’re doing. Addressing it and calling them out isn’t always easy, however it’s better than continuing to deal with somebody who isn’t good for you. Also, you have to think that by addressing it with them, before consulting with your other friends about it or starting to make funny comments back, stops you from stooping to their level and becoming as bad as them. It’s never going to be an easy or fun conversation, as usually people like this or quite manipulative and know how to make you feel like you’re almost the one in the wrong, but stay strong. One difficult conversation is better than dealing with more months of manipulation from a toxic friend.

It’s at this point I’d recommend blocking them. It may seem drastic as they were once your friend and you may still care about them, but it’s for the best. Seeing them on social media, and giving them the ability to contact you, is just not a good way to move on with your life. It’s hard at first to go cold turkey on people that you once cared about and shared a friendship with, but prioritising your own well-being is sometimes more important as you need to put yourself first. Uni is already stressful and a struggle, you don’t need those in your social life to become a problem too.

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