Friendships are important. Our mental health depends on having friendships that bring us happiness. A good friend will bring comfort and joy, relieve stress, and prevent us from feeling lonely and isolated.
A toxic friendship can often appear like a good friendship. They are hard to recognize and even harder to break free of. It is essential to be aware of the friendships you have and know how to recognize a bad friendship.
What is a bad friendship?
When people think of bad or toxic relationships, many people think of romantic relationships. However, a toxic friendship can be even more damaging to you than an unhealthy romance.
A bad friendship does not add to your life in any way. Instead, they can bring negativity and stress into your life. If you are in a bad friendship, chances are your “friend” is trying to control you, criticizing you, or abusing your generosity. If you feel that you have to compromise your values, it is not a good friendship.
How to spot unsupportive friends?
If you suspect that you might be in a bad friendship, you might be wondering how to spot unsupported friends. Sometimes, even if a friendship doesn’t feel right, you cannot put your finger on why. Here we will look at some of the main traits of a bad friend to better enable you to identify any bad friends in your life.
It’s Always About Them
Part of being in a friendship is sharing your problems and talking about your hopes and dreams. However, this has to have give and take. A friendship where you are always on the listening end of conversations and never have the chance to share anything about your life isn’t a healthy one.
Another sign that the friendship is always about the other person is if they expect you to drop everything and support them every time an issue arises, but they aren’t there for you when you need them. A friend that continually spams you with their problems but takes hours to reply to you is not a good friend. Friendship is a two way straight.
They Don’t Have Your Back
A good friend is going to support you both to your face and behind your back. Friends don’t bring up all of your failures or criticize you. Friends, especially, don’t talk about you behind your back. Noticing that people know things about you that they shouldn’t is a good sign that someone is talking about you behind you back and that someone isn’t a good friend to you.
Being Around Them is Exhausting
When you hang out with a good friend, you should leave the situation feeling refreshed and relaxed. Our bodies tend to be more in sync with situations than our conscious selves are. Encounters that leave you feeling drained or exhausted are good signs that the friendships might not be right for you. Additionally, you should not feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your friend. You should be able to be yourself and not be stressed out about saying or doing the wrong thing.
While none of these things on their own mean that you are in a bad friendship, they are all things that you should be able to recognize if you are experiencing them. If one friend comes to mind with each of the points above, it is a good sign that the friendship might be bad.
What to do when a friend lets you down?
If you have identified a bad friend, what should you do next? The answer isn’t back and white. The first thing that you need to do is assess the friendship. Has your friend been this way through your entire friendship, or has something changed recently?
If the behaviors haven’t been present since the beginning, it can be beneficial to sit down and have a conversation with your friend about how you feel. Be kind and respectful with specific examples of when they made you feel like they weren’t a good friend.
A good friend will be open and receptive to how you are feeling. If your friend isn’t open to hearing it, finds a way to make it all your fault, or downplays it as unimportant, it might be time for the friendship to end.
How to get out from unhealthy friendships?
If you have tried to save your friendship, but there is no way to do that, then it is time to end the relationship. This is a big decision to make; going through the process can seem overwhelming. While it might seem easier to stop responding to a friend, ending a friendship healthily can leave you feeling stronger and prove to yourself that you are putting yourself first. Here are six steps to follow to leave an unhealthy relationship healthily.
- Accept Reality
The first thing you need to do is accept that the relationship is unhealthy and that it isn’t going to change. You can’t change your friend, but you can change how you are reacting to the situation. Friendships are choices, and you don’t have to choose to be in an unhealthy one.
- 2. Be Clear
Telling your friend that you don’t want to spend as much time with them can be scary. But it is essential to the process of ending a friendship. Regardless of whether the other person believes you when you say that you are ending the friendship, use “I” statements and make it clear that you have made your decision to step back from the friendship.
- Identify Your Faults Too
While your friend may be the may contributor to the toxic relationship, relationships take two people. Perhaps you have been too forgiving or too willing to let people make all of your decisions for you. Identify your part in allowing the negative behaviors to help ensure that you can have more healthy relationships in the future.
- Choose How to End it
This is the beginning of the challenging steps in the process of ending a friendship. There are two ways that you can end your friendship. One is a slow wean away from one another, and the other is cold turkey. The one that is best for you is the one that feels most natural and healthy and is also something you can stick to.
Whether you tell your friend to their face or only forgive in your heart, forgiveness is an essential step in ending the friendship. You cannot heal from friendship without first forgiving.
Being upset over a friendship ending is natural. Grieving the end of a relationship is personal and will take each person their own length of time. The important thing is to take the time you need and mourn the loss of a friendship.
All relationships take work, and this rule applies to friendships as well. Disagreements are bound to happen in any relationship, but as long as there is mutual respect and mutual understanding, the friendship can thrive.