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Stories from Connect, Inspire

Tell-tale Signs of a Toxic Friendship

by Voices Wellness 15 Jul 2021
Photo: Unsplash

If certain friends leave you feeling drained and unimportant, it may be time to cut them off for the sake of your mental wellbeing. By SAMANTHA FRANCIS.

When friendship blossoms, whether by chance encounters or shared experiences, it’s always a blessing. Social connections are more important than ever in the ongoing pandemic, as they offer a sense of support and prevent loneliness. But what if certain friends leave you feeling drained and stressed out instead?

A study done by researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles has shown that dealing with toxic friends can affect your health by increasing levels of stress proteins that potentially lead to inflammation within the body. In fact, there is a particularly strong correlation between higher inflammatory activity and social stressors such as rejection, confrontation, and potential threats.

Don’t know if someone’s being a toxic friend? Here are some tell-tale signs. 

When they’re only around for the good times

They’ll gladly celebrate all the happy milestones in your life and even pop a bottle of champagne for your success. But when you’re feeling down and out, they’re too busy to comfort you or show concern. Need help or advice? They’ve got nothing constructive to offer. 

When they impede on your growth

Don’t count on toxic friends to be happy for your engagement or job promotion. Often, they’ll show signs of envy and jealousy, and even put you down when you need support. If a friendship becomes a roadblock in your personal growth, it might be time to let them go.

When they make you feel like you’re not worthy 

Good friends become your biggest cheerleaders when you need motivation and strength. But if you notice that they constantly criticise your looks and life choices, leaving you feeling like you’re not worthy, then perhaps the problem lies with them.

When they don’t listen to your problems

Friends help to keep us grounded, puts our situation in perspective, and offer thoughtful advice. Being able to verbalise our problems with good friends can be profoundly healing as it reduces physical and emotional distress. If they’re not interested in hearing about the less-than-rosy side of your life, then perhaps you’re not that important to them.

They cross your boundaries

Respecting boundaries is crucial in both friendships and relationships. If a friend constantly does things that you’ve clearly said you dislike, like showing up at your house uninvited, and divulging your secrets to others, then perhaps they’re a toxic presence in your life.

They always bring the drama

Like an overused TV trope, toxic friends are guaranteed to bring the drama. Whether it’s constantly getting drunk when you’re out together, or picking fights with a stranger, they are prone to causing problems no matter where they go. If you start yearning for a sense of peace when you’re with them, then they might not be the right friends for you.

 

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