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How to handle a toxic friend
Some of them backstab you. Others belittle you, break promises, take but never give, and are just plain mean. Who are these people?

Most people would say “enemies”, but these people aren’t enemies. They’re friends. Toxic friends, that is.

Toxic friends stress us out and drive us crazy! Generally they demand way more than they give (if they give anything at all), whether it’s emotionally, financially, or in some other way draining. Some of these people are always in need and use us consequently, yet for us they are unsupportive, unreliable, and make no place for us in the friendship.

There are different kinds of toxic friendships

There are the emotional types that only make contact – whether it’s to hang out or just talk on the phone – for a therapy session! All they want to do is talk about their problems and that’s all they do in the relationship. Sometimes these people make the good friend feel needed or important as the other friend trusts them with their problems, and they don’t realise they’re being used.

Sometimes these emotional types aren’t doing it on purpose, although in my experience, some are. Likewise, the needy type is always asking for financial support or some other kind of support but never gives anything back in return.

Then there are the promise breakers or the flakes

These are the friends who are only friends when it is convenient. They will keep saying they will hang out, call you, etc., but repeatedly stand you up. They will act like your best friend one day and ignore you the next. These are the kind of people that give you mixed signals, leave you out of things, and act like they’re weighing their friends on a scale based on popularity.

What about the betrayers?

These are the people that can’t be trusted. They’re generally backstabbers! They’ll say one bad thing behind your back to other people, and another sweet thing to your face. They’ll tell people your secrets and things you wouldn’t tell them yourself. Sometimes, they even go so far as to try to take your significant other or some other aspect of your life.

The critical ones are especially tricky

They are always putting their 'friends' down, making them feel bad about themselves, and making fun of them, only to follow it up with a not so innocent 'just kidding'. Sometimes, these people are NOT kidding.

Among many other types of toxic friends, there are also those people who are just plain obsessed with themselves. They only want to talk about themselves, never letting anyone else get a word in. They only want to do what they want to do, and never want to compromise. They only talk about their problems, and think about their own needs. Well, you get the idea.

So what to do about these toxic friends?

First, acknowledge that it’s an unhealthy relationship. Set boundaries for this person. Don’t give in to everything they do. I know people can feel trapped for a number of reasons, like if they’ve known the person for a long time, the relationship used to be good but then turned sour (and they have hope it will return to what was before), or if they feel like they fill a hole in that person’s life that they need to fill. But toxic friendships are toxic.

Talk to the person about what they’re doing that is bothering you, stressing that there needs to be balance, and try to understand their behaviour.

If all else fails, sometimes it’s just time to end the friendship

Remember that toxic friendships are not worth it if the other person is not willing to work to improve it – have self-respect and recognise when your time, energy, and love are just not being appreciated. Everyone deserves better than that. Don’t be afraid to move on. Whatever you chose, I hope it all ends well!

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