The Circle You Keep: 4 Types of Toxic Friendships

September 5, 2018

We can all agree, friends can be great!  They are the family we pick, they make the world go round, we get by with a little help from our friends...ok are we done with all the euphemisms now?  Your happiness is influenced by the people you choose to surround yourself with, period.  Sure, happiness is an inside job but we can't do it alone.  Think about a time you felt inspired to make a positive change in your life, you might have seen someone else or read something somewhere and decided that was what you wanted to do.  We are influenced by others and that is why the people you choose to call friends are so important because this becomes your reality, your circle, your little corner of the world.  I love my friends and in my lifetime I have been lucky enough to cross paths with some amazing people I am fortunate to call friends.

First a little about me.  This might surprise you but I can be defined as an introvert.  I can be a lot of fun and outgoing but also be very reserved and observant.  I don't like small talk, I prefer depth over noise.  I have never been afraid of walking away from anything or anyone that no longer served me.  If you read my I am a Bad Mom series then you know I walked away from an abusive relationship at the age of 20 with a new baby in tow.  I don't have the best relationship with my family (that is for another post) so my friends are really my family.  If I am able to walk away from toxic, unproductive and destructive familial relationships you better believe I have no time or fear of walking away from a bad friend.  Friendships are very important to me.  I am selective in who I invest my time and energy in.  I have gone through my share of friendships, some great, some not so great, all taught me valuable lessons.  Which leads me to what lead to this blog post, recently I have met up with a few friends and there has been a common thread in our conversations, toxic friendships.  The friends I have talked to didn't identify these friends as toxic or bad but the issues they describe are concerning. It hit me, not everyone knows what a bad friend looks like.   Have you heard of frenemies?  They are your friends but sometimes they are your enemies? Yeah, I don't understand it either but I think just like in romantic relationships we accept the love we think we deserve and sometimes we sell ourselves short.

Now before I jump into this post I want to be clear, toxic friendships or toxic people are not evil people.  They are damaged people (aren't we all?) but it is worse than just having issues, they actively play out these unresolved issues in their relationship with you.  They make you feel bad about yourself, doubt yourself, they don't respect you, manipulate you, compete with you or try to control you.  Drama is always in the mix.  Crazy right? You are probably thinking, "well I would know that and wouldn't have any part in it" and for some that is true but for others these signs are so subtle you might not even realize it when it is happening.  So allow me to share with you 4 types of toxic friends.

1) Ms./Mr. Taker

This is the friend who takes up all your time with their "problems".  They will go on and on and you will listen, thats friendship right? Sure, but what about when you find yourself with a "problem"?  Can you count on them to be there for you in your time of need?  Are they able to be there for you?  And on the flip side, are they able to rejoice in your accomplishments?

2) Ms./Mr. Controller

This is the friend who is there for you at your lowest and your weakest, great right?  I mean we all need someone to be there for us during those low times but this friend feels like you "owe" her. She has nursed you like a baby bird and now you owe your life to her for her time and investment.  Every decision you make once the bad times are over, should be ran by and approved by her.  She will judge your decisions or remind you of the bad times.  Like, "oh remember what so and so did to you? Don't go and do will just happen again and what are you going to do??"  You might think to yourself well my friend is looking out and ok, maybe that one time heart to heart is warranted and appreciated but it is YOUR life.  Your choice, your mistake.   A good friend will be there for you regardless and without judgement or conditions.  And remember this too.  Some people really thrive on other people's misery, they prefer you broken and weak because in some twisted way it makes them feel better about their situation (which btw they aren't happy in).  I swear to you I have met my fair share of these types of people.  They are real and they are out there and often times completely unaware of themselves.

3) Ms./Mr. Negative 

OMG this friend is so draining.  They can't see good in anything.  They are in a rut and don't know how to get out of it so they get others caught in their web of misery.  They plow through your life like a junky lawn mower and just undermine your dreams, your goals, everything.  They are quick to point out why it won't work out or why you shouldn't pursue a goal.  They don't trust people, they don't trust themselves ugh I am exhausted just writing this one.  Now here is the deal, are you a dreamer?  Are you an optimist floating around in orbit?  Great, there is nothing wrong with this outlook.  Dream BIG baby!  What you don't need is a ball and chain around your ankle pulling you down.  You need someone who is going to dream with you, find ways to help you, encourage you, inspire you.  That is the kind of friend you need. We all do. :)

4) Ms./Mr. Shade Thrower 

Now we have come this far and while number 3 was a pain in the arse, this "friend" is my biggest peeve.  You aren't perfect, shocker!  You are a work in progress, always evolving, growing and learning about yourself through your relationships with others. You will make mistakes, you will hurt people, you will mess up.  A good friend will let you know immediately or soon there after when you have hurt them.  They will value you and trust you enough to communicate when you have hurt them.  A toxic friend won't be able to do this.  They would rather drag it out, act it out, leaving you in a state of confusion and distress, pulling out your hair, thinking over every conversation trying to decipher what you might have said, did or didn't do that offended them.  (I am literally pulling my hair out right now😱😱).  I can't begin to tell you how awful living in this space can be, you don't deserve that, no one does.  Sure, conflict can be difficult but the only way past it is through it, in active conversation and mutual understanding.  Friendships are work, there will be bumps but "throwing shade" creating drama won't resolve it they will just add fuel to the fire.  As I use to tell my 2 year old toddler, "use your words."

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I hope this was illuminating.  Please share far and wide, because we all deserve good friends in our corner!  Don't forget to subscribe!

Until next time. 💋

by LifeStyledbyErica 

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