Toxic friendships can be a little hard to identify and even harder to sever.
During my time at university, I noticed a lot of people would talk about ‘snakes’. This term usually refers to friends who turned out to be worse than enemies, since they might have betrayed your trust or done something which might have ended your friendship on a very bad note.
There are lots of memes about having toxic friends who are also “lovingly” called snakes
And there is truly nothing worse than being betrayed by a friend. A lot of people never see it coming, they never figure out that their ‘friend’ is no good for them and will screw them over the first chance they get. But once I sat down and truly thought about it, I figured out that there is a way to tell whether or not a person will be good for you.
Before ‘snakes’ betray you, they aren’t exactly the best of friends to you in the first place. And there are subtle ways for you to figure this out with. You might be in a toxic friendship and it is best to sever it early rather than deal with even worse consequences later no.
So here are some ways you might be able to identify whether your friendship is toxic and break it off as soon as you possibly can:
1. They usually make you uncomfortable when you’re around them
Friendships are never meant to be uncomfortable for one person. If at any point your friend has done or said something that has made you uncomfortable and ignored your concern when you voiced it out, chances are they don’t give a crap about you and you need to run.
2. You give more than you receive in this friendship
This one is fairly simple, are you the only one listening to them and never getting a chance to talk. Are you going out of your way to make them feel happier but rarely ever see reciprocity? Like did you plan their birthday surprise 4 weeks in advance and all they did was get you a card and chocolate after being reminded it’s your birthday by another friend? Do you feel like you are giving much more of yourself than you’re getting back? If this is the case, this friendship is toxic and you need to end it.
3. They always criticize you for everything, even throw insults at you
A little helpful advice is part of any healthy friendship. How else would you know you have spinach in your teeth? But round the clock criticism which at times feels like plain old insults, that’s not cool. Especially when it starts to occur in front of other people. When you’re sitting in a group and your ‘friend’ decides to tell everyone about how your sense of style and claim they’re kidding, well if they hurt your feelings, then the joke wasn’t really funny was it?
4. It feels more like a competition than a friendship
Your ‘friend’ will never truly appreciate you or whatever you do for them, they will always remind you of another friend who does or did more. You got them jewelry for their birthday? Cool, another friend got them an actual gold-plated ring so you could have done better. Or how you could have done better. Bottom line: nothing you do will ever be good enough. One word for this: RUN.
5. There’s just always a lot of fighting between you and your “friend”
If your ‘friend’ gets upset with you pretty often for seemingly small issues, chances are that they are toxic. If they get mad at you because you said hi to someone they don’t like, or if you took their pen and forgot to give it back; incredibly SMALL things which should not matter in a friendship, then they are not your true friends and you need to say bye, real quick.
6. It feels like you’re the only one making compromises
So you have fights pretty regularly and when it comes to burying the hatchet you always have to make the first move and apologize. This is always the case, unless you did not approach them again after a fight and did not apologize, the friendship would have been over long ago. They always want you to admit the fight was your fault. And if this is the case, maybe don’t apologize.
7. You are never the priority
Your so-called ‘friend’ might just consider you as their backup option. If their plans get canceled then they make them with you. You will never be a priority for them, unless they can hang out with some other people or do something else more to their liking, they will never really choose to spend time with you. If all your plans are spontaneous because they randomly called you and said they wanted to hang out even though earlier they might have mentioned they were busy, they aren’t really your friend, you’re just a convenience for them.
8. They try to isolate you from your other relationships in life
Your toxic friend might go out of their way to make you miserable and one of the ways they will do it is by making you feel left out of the group. They might make a plan and it was spontaneous so they just ‘forgot’ to invite you. They will try to make you feel like you don’t belong and they’re the only ones looking out for you. They might even act remorseful or upset, but don’t fall for it. If they really cared, you wouldn’t have been left out in the first place.
9. They always keep a score of how much you owe them and it’s not just about money
You know that corny saying ‘there are no thanks yous in friendship’, well it might not be that corny after all. If your toxic friend does end up doing something for you, they will hold it over your head forever and use it to make you do their bidding. ‘Oh, you can’t go shopping with me? But remember when I got your a really nice bag for your birthday.’ ‘So you can’t pick me up? Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten you such an expensive bag for your birthday’. Time and again, they will use whatever they did for you to make you agree to do something for them.
10. They always lie to you
I have had friends tell me they weren’t in a relationship and then update their relationship status on Facebook the very same day saying they’re committed to someone. At the time, I used to be just hurt. But now I realize, this is just another trait of a toxic person. They will lie to you just because they can. They will keep things from you, things that everyone else otherwise might already know. They just want to keep you in the dark and enjoy watching you looking miserable because you probably feel like you’re on the outside and they hold the key to ‘letting you in’.
11. They Threaten You
If you seem to be trying to get out of the friendship or no longer want to bend to their will, they will resort to threats. The threats might not be of causing you physical harm. They will likely be threats of isolating you; ‘you end our friendship, and you won’t have any friends left because they all like me better’ or just threats of telling people your secrets and what not. They will resort to saying anything as long as they know can make sure they can keep on controlling you.
But if you have decided to brave through it and end the friendship, you will need to prepare for backlash because I guarantee there will be quite a bit of it.
If a toxic person does not end the relationship on their terms and you do it for them, chances are they will not be happy about it. When they find out they can no longer control you and make you bend to their will, they will try to control what others think about you. This means they will start rumors, spread lies and do whatever they can to make you miserable and isolated. If you have a toxic friend in your life, make sure you take a few other friends in confidence and tell them that there is a chance this retaliation might take place. And if those friends still choose to believe the toxic person, you will have dodged a bullet by avoiding more fake friends.
Ending a toxic friendship is even harder than recognizing it in the first place. But don’t stress about it more than you already are. You will get through this. Talk to your actual friends or family, there will be someone who will help you through it. You just need to have faith in yourself.
Have you ever been in a toxic friendship? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments.
Cover image via: dissolve.com