Toxic Friendships

It has been said that we choose our friends, but we are stuck with the family we have. I have at times separated myself from some family members that I had felt were causing negative effects on my well being. However, I have not been as good as doing that with friends.

It has not happened in a while, but I have had some friendships that have been toxic in my life. They have been full of negative attitudes masked as motivators. Some of them have been people that have in some ways tried to keep me back from reaching my potential simply because they either can or don’t want to achieve what I want to achieve.

Even though this does not happen with men as much as it happens with women, competitiveness sometimes can make a relationship very toxic. There is a huge difference between constructive criticism and outright attempts to destroy your self esteem.

Realizing that not everyone around you deserves to be your friend is a hard lesson to learn. A lesson some people might never learn at all. If a friendship is not building you up in some ways, but it is simply taking at every opportunity it has, it needs to be cut off. You will see that in those kind of relationships as soon as the effort is taken out of it, the relationship pretty much goes away on its own.

In a world of givers and takers, it seems that if you are a giver you start getting surrounded by takers. The problem is that eventually you run out of energy to give, and the takers will move away to the next giver. It is often said that during hard times you learn who your true friends are, and this is a harsh lesson that some of us have to go through.

Lucky for me I have great friends in my life now, and those that do not deserve to be, are identified a lot earlier than when I was younger. It prevents a world of hurt when you see someone for what they are and what they want. I see now that we don’t need to do something without expecting something in return, which is a good value, should not necessarily apply to friendships also. The moment we enter the relationship real with other people it needs to be something both people work on.

No matter how much someone looks like they need a friend, unless they truly want one, let them be. If they reach out and you are there for them, it is a lot better than in some cases just extending a hand. I wish I practiced what I preach here, but my personality is such that I am always willing to lend a hand and just hope it does not get ignored.

9 Responses to Toxic Friendships

  1. ahhh. i had to dump one of these people earlier this year. i feel so much better now. she was horribly toxic. and i think she needs help. but oh a huge sigh of relief that i am not struggling with her anymore. whew.

  2. Logtar you do come across as a very giving and helpful guy. If that’s your nature it is hard to go against. Being conscious of the fact should help you avoid being taken advantage of.

    On the other hand, for the last year I have felt a lot like a taker. I don’t like needing help, it makes me feel powerless (which in turn can leave a person needing even more emotional support).

    Most people tho come down somewhere in the middle. For me, I’ll do anything for a true friend in need. That is mostly because they have all given TO me at some point, whether they know it or not.

  3. @Nuke,

    Being in need of support does not make you a taker. I think it simply makes you in need of true friends. A taker that never gives back, as in not even a word of thank you. A taker in my eyes is the kind of person that expects things out of a friendship but does not feel like they have to do anything for the other person.

  4. lol, don’t get me wrong Logtar, I have known a couple of people who were takers (one I thought was a good friend for some time) and I know I am not one.

    I do however feel like I have gotten a lot more out of my friends and family in the last year than I have given. And I wish it were the other way around.

  5. Self stem? I love spellchecking software.

  6. Burro, I am his spell checker. Everything taken care of now (way before I read your comment, though). What about sharing input instead of pointing at grammatical mistakes? ;-)

  7. I agree with you on this one. I’ve “divorced” a few toxic friends in the past, often too late to prevent being taken advantage by them.

    I read about leaveing a bad friendship. It had helpful suggestions, like do not just start ignoring the person. Tell them why you don’t want to be friends anymore. Sometimes, that talk may save the friendship. If not, at least you were honest with the person.

  8. @Bea: How ’bout another Epictetus quote?

    “The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.”

  9. Great post. Running into some of that right now. In the interest of saving friendships, I will not get into it. I’ll just say this: isn’t it interesting that those who you love most are most capable of easily harming you?

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