“Dear Pheonix, How do I know if I have Toxic Friends?”

Throughout our entire lives we will encounter toxic people. Unfortunately, many people we call friends, family, and even lovers are secretly toxic.  Here are some ways to clarify if someone is toxic for you.

1. The friendship is a “One way Street”

A friendship is about balance between giving and taking. One form of a toxic friendship is when one person is always giving. You might be planning everything, complimenting them, brightening their day, or helping them with homework. If this friend never thanks you for your effort, does not make you feel appreciated, and never supports you they are toxic. A friendship is about support and if the support is not reciprocated you need to get out of that relationship. You deserve to be appreciated for your effort.

2. The friendship is shame filled

Many people have friends who criticize them constantly. If your friend makes fun of you and makes you feel bad about yourself you are definitely in a toxic friendship. The person might justify their behavior by saying “I was just giving you advice.” That person may constantly be giving you “advice” that is really just criticism.

3.  The friend is controlling

A controlling friend only thinks about themselves and how you can benift them.  They will try to take away your independance and make you feel like you are never enough. Signs that you have a controlling friend: they will not allow you to hangout with other people, they are jealous if you do better than them, they find joy in your failures, and uses you to benefit themselves.

4. The friendship has no trust

If you know your friend is a gossip and talk behind others back, they definitely talk behind your back also. If you cannot trust this person with your secrets because you know they will gossip this person is toxic. Your friends are here to support you, but if you cannot simply trust them how do you expect your friendship to grow? Your friendship will shrivel away because you never established trust and you will feel lonely.

So where do you go from here?

First realize you have some faults in the friendship too. If you knew your friend was a gossip and you gossiped with them the first thing you need to do is change your behavior. After you change any bad behavior you have, you can confront the toxic person. Tell them what went wrong and don’t justify their behavior. You can try to fix the relationship but honestly I recommend simply finding new friends. It will be difficult but the reward it great!