Happy Monday! Grab your coffee, tea, or wine and let’s get started! I can proudly say I can count my friends on one hand. Why am I proud of that? Because I know that any challenges, changes, or celebrations that I go through, they will be there being my greatest encouragement. I am not going to mention my closest friends because they should already know who they are. However, I am incredibly grateful for them. As much as I could boast about how awesome they are, I want to talk about the opposite—toxic Friends. However, I’m not too fond of that word. They are not a toxic person/ friend. Your relationship with them is what is toxic.

About two years ago, I removed three friends from my life. Why were the relationships toxic? Well, the one, it was a mutual friendship break up. I don’t remember the exact moment that it went toxic, but part of me thinks it aways was. I was never entirely myself and always let her boss me around. I agreed to everything she said even when it was very inconvenient for me or was presented disrespectfully. So, I am not at all saying that she was toxic. If I had been open and communicated my thoughts initially, maybe the relationship would have taken this route. Although some friends or partners may have toxic tendencies, I allowed this toxicity without stating its impact on my life. I never expressed my feelings about her actions.

I am not going to go on and on about these stories; I just wanted to give an example of the toxic relationship rather than a toxic person. I think this is important to be aware of because other connections may be good with this person, but your relationship may be horrible. It is all dependant on the friendship. There are many signs of unhealthy or toxic relationships. In my opinion, the following are the most visible signs in a friendship.

  1. Not bringing anything into the friendship or relationship: Friendships consist of equal qualities. For example, I am incredibly outgoing, but most of my friends are very held back and more reserved. I match well with them because they allow me to find a balance. I try to do the same for them, as well. Although we do not have the same qualities in this sense, we have other qualities that bring us close and allow for fun activities.
  2. Trying to change one another: The best thing about my amazing friends is they accept me for who I am, and I accept them for who they are. We sometimes hold each other back from making bad decisions, but we never try to make them change.
  3. Not supporting you in a time of need: I do not mean by this draining oneself to help the other but always to ask if the other person is okay. If you know the friend is not doing well, always ask if they need something. I have learned the best thing to do when someone is having a good time is to ask them, is there anything you need me to do? Is there anything you need me to say? Do you need my advice? If they say no, step back and give them space. Most of the time, I find they need someone to listen.
  4. Having an unequal balance of effort in the relationship: I am huge on giving when I am close to people. Somehow, I lose track of a limit. If my friend needs anything, I am on my way to give it to them. However, I have learned over the years to see when it is not being reciprocated. Sometimes, you have to provide a little more, and sometimes you have to receive a little more. However, it would be best if you were not continually giving in a friendship. I struggle with this because I am such a giver, while many people do not realize that they are not giving back. I also want to include, by giving, I am not referring to gifts. I am referring to quality time, effort in the friendships, a shoulder to lean on, or just in general proper respect.
  5. Judgement, Possessiveness, or distrust: One of the most essential qualities that I look for in friendship is honestly. I believe honesty is a part of all the topics of this point. If your friend is mental or behind your back, judging you, they are dishonest. This is not someone you want in your life. I notice that the people who stay in my life long term are usually non-judgemental people (to the best of their abilities). Possessiveness comes with trust, but I also think it has to do with many other topics that I have discussed. Possessiveness usually happens when one person is feeling mistreated. This happens a lot of times because they are a giver, and it is not being reciprocated. Distrust! If your friend is not trustworthy to you or others, it will most likely not be a healthy relationship. This is because you will probably be afraid to express yourself fully.

So express yourself! Love your friends, and love each other. True friendship is a beautiful thing. Have a wonderful week!

-Caitlin ❤

  📷 by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

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