Let’s Drop Toxic Friends in 2018 - Han Angus (@hanxine)

With 2018 around the corner we’re entering a time of New Year’s resolutions and new beginnings. There are multiple things people usually say they want to start or drop including weight, being more organized and scheduling for example. However, one thing we forget we should reevaluate are friendships. I know that sounds as if friends are things we switch around constantly with the drop of a hat but what I mean is to reevaluate if your friendships are healthy or not. Friendships just like romantic relationships shouldn’t be toxic nor abusive and in order to save your well-being the best thing to do is finally drop that toxic friend.



What I’d define toxic friendships as would be friends that don’t truly care about you, they make you feel upset constantly and they make you feel as if you are less than worthy of happiness. I’ve had multiple friends like this over the past 10 years as I’m an expat kid meaning I’ve been moving around for most of my life which leads to you developing quick friendships with people just for convenience sake so you aren’t the odd one out in a new environment. Friends like this can have a very harmful effect on your emotional well-being and/or mental health. Instead of supporting you and treating you the way a friend should, toxic friends tend to be self-centred and can even bully their ‘friends’.



The three main signs of a toxic friend would be:



  1. Jealousy: You can’t inform your friend of a good thing that has happened to you. Whether it’s good grades, getting into university, a new job, milestone, relationship etc. They start to act catty and mean when you tell them of anything good going on in your life which leads you to stop informing them altogether due to fear of their backlash.



  1. Guilt-tripping: Have you ever felt as if your ‘friend’ has pressured you into doing something without regard for your feelings whatsoever? Your ‘friend’ may want to partake in something you don’t enjoy or want to do and in order to get you to join them,  they guilt trip you into tagging along by making you feel as if you’re disappointing them by saying no. They do this so often that you’ve grown fearful of saying no to them or putting your foot down at all.



  1. Self Centered behaviour: When you come to your ‘friend’ with any of your issues they always find a way to make the conversation about them. They can never give you their undevoted attention and help you solve your issue. The only time they help you with a serious issue is if they’re involved but otherwise it’s as if you aren’t friends at all.



Now you may have a friend like this and think, “oh well I mean that's just their personality it's not hurting anyone”. Except it is hurting someone. It's hurting you.



Friends like this are toxic to your sanity, mental health, self esteem and overall happiness. They aren't supportive of you whatsoever, they do not checkup to see if you're okay and they do not care about your issues. That's going to have an affect on you and whilst it may not be obvious now when you're going through a truly tough time their true colors will shine through.



Let's say you've identified the toxic friend and how they are harmful to you, you'll need to cut them off. That my friend is the hardest bit of it all. See, friendships are a relationship as I mentioned earlier. They're just platonic most of the time so, however, that doesn't mean there isn't any deep rooted emotion connected to it. When I personally find people to be toxic to me I simply fade away. It may not work for everyone but I minimise my contact and I slowly start to block them on every app. The reason I do this is because sometimes by outright cutting them off they can become confronting and abusive. But this may not be the case for everyone of course so assess the situation the best you can and make the decision you feel would suit your needs the most. Are you good at confrontation? Maybe you could write them an email? Tell a friend to inform them? Do what's in your best interests.



I hope you take this piece into the new year with you and remember that if you going to better your life in 2018 your friends along with diet, habits and sleeping schedule also need reassessing.