Friendship: How to spot a toxic one
Like how it’s a tough to come by a good friend, it’s tough to spot a toxic one. They start off really nice and they often convince you that they are not the problem. This is where they danger lays. They have a way of making their friend feel inferior, invisible, anxious, and that they are a bad person, thus, eroding a person’s sense of self and compromising their mental health.
However, the non-toxic individual should not change their good nature or the tendency to be self-reflective and accountable. These are admirable qualities. By implementing six techniques, they can neutralize the toxicity without having to change who they are or sever the friendship. I’s necessary to decipher whether a friend is in the toxic zone.
Your friendship is in the toxic zone if:
- Make comments that are confusing and that sting. These comments swim in a person’s head, causing self-doubt and anxiety.
- He or she ignores their friend’s feelings and promotes their own.
- If the non-toxic friend asserts themselves in the friendship, the toxic friend frames them as dramatic or over sensitive.
- Occasionally the toxic friend is nice in order to deter their friend from suspecting they are toxic. The toxic friend is especially nice when other people are watching.
- Toxic characters project like crazy. Chances are they have already accused their friend or others of being toxic.
- Frequently they play the victim, asserting they have a more difficult plight than anyone else.
- They triangulate – meaning if there is a mutual friend they begin to align that friend with themselves and exclude the non-toxic friend.
- Rarely do they comment on their friend’s successes or achievements, but they readily highlight their own.
- Often they ignore or exclude their friend when they are with mutual friends.
- They indirectly sabotage their friend by drawing them into drama that deters them from pursuing their goals.
How to neutralize a toxic friendship
- Get space, emotionally. Refrain from telling the toxic friend anything personal. Avoid talking about feelings, issues, hopes, and dreams. The toxic person cannot sabotage without this information. Also, do not go to the toxic person in need of help with something. Finally, steer clear of their drama with other people. Simply empathize with their feelings and politely excuse yourself from the conversation.
- Be diplomatic. Do not make it evident that emotional space is the goal. Say things like, “I’d love to talk, but I’m knee deep in a work project. I’ll call you next week.” It’s okay to be slightly disingenuous in order to protect yourself and salvage the friendship.
- Pursue activities and friendships independent of the toxic friend. Hitch your wagon to a friend with healthier interpersonal capacities. Make friends with an empath. Find a passion or hobby independent of the toxic friend.
- It’s alright to have fun with the toxic friend. Have some laughs and talk about impersonal things like the Cubs, HGTV, or the weather. Go out and dance or see a movie.
- Do mind and body work. A toxic individual can impact your sense-of-self. One way to recover is to do mind and body work, such as yoga, tai chi, and martial arts.
- Laughter is good medicine. A toxic friend can zap your ability to laugh. Find it again. Be silly. Go to a comedy club. Watch funny movies.
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Handling a toxic friendship is an essential skill in today’s world. Identifying one is the first step. Grabbing enough emotional space to be safe from a toxic person’s manipulations is key. Have fun, but don’t get too chummy.
A Tedtalk on the 8 signs of a toxic friendship
E004S001 – The one about friendships
This week Shane takes a look at friendships. The bad, toxic ones and the ones that we all should hold close to our hearts. Shane discuss how to spot a toxic person in our lives and how to cut the friendship cord.
Episode length: 14:44