Any woman reading this has most likely been the victim of some girl on girl hate. If you haven't, you're an anomaly, or maybe you're just really lucky, maybe you were homeschooled, or maybe we're just feeling a bit pessimistic today.
The conflict could've begun in elementary school when your best friend suddenly had another. Or maybe it happened on the regular through high school, and even college, as girls turned into women and divisions were made. Or maybe you met a work friend who turned out to be sour or it could be a fellow mom who didn't agree with your parenting and told you exactly how they felt.
Regardless of when your encounter happened or how long ago it was, or how often it happened, it still hurts. It still stings and it still makes you wonder if you deserved it all. And let me ask you, who has time for this kind of hate and negativity as a grown woman? Absolutely no one. Even if you were the toxic friend at times, there is always time for redemption. Hold your head high, and become a better person. People can change if they really make an effort.
What is a Toxic Friendship?
Toxic friendships have taken a front seat in the millennial age of bettering ourselves, spreading kindness and seeking joy. These types of friends are people who break you down instead of building you up. They're the gossipers. And what they say is true...if they gossip to you, they'll gossip about you. They're the competitors and one-uppers. Basically, they don't make you feel good and they don't treat you in the way you deserve. They're selfish and everything is all about them.
It Isn't Always Obvious
If you don't look forward to hearing from this friend on a consistent basis, they're toxic. If you change your own behaviors around this person to appeal to them, they're toxic. If they're jealous of other friends you may have or seem to manipulate you, it's toxic friendship. Friendship toxicity can also form its self as anxiety and feelings of dread.
Even a friendship didn't begin a toxic, it can turn that way. That is especially hard if the friendship was long term or especially close but people change, people grow, and others stay the same. It's entirely possible to outgrow any relationship and friendships are the same. And guess what? That's ok!
Look for patterns of behavior
Pay attention to how they treat everyone. If they're nice to you but treating others poorly, that is a severe character flaw and a HUGE red flag. You'll think this person will never turn on you but one day they will and will treat you the same poor way you've seen them treat others. If they have a history of short-lived friendships, be aware. There's a reason those friendships ended.
They Have No Boundaries
Unwanted advice? Your friend has it. Criticizes your parenting? Your friend does it. I had a friend tell me I was going to "ruin" my 2-year-old because I laid with her until she fell asleep. It worked for us and the judgment along with an eye roll seemed hurtful and unnecessary. What works for some families won't work for others and that's ok. A good friend understands that, and short of neglect, will let you parent any way you see fit. They'll even help and commiserate with you.
Toxic friends can often have issues with your romantic relationships too. They'll think your partner isn't good enough or talk badly about your partner to you. This isn't done with the best of intentions. It's out of jealousy.
You Feel Sick Afterwards
If after you see this friend, you feel sick or angry or stressed, thats a bad sign. You didn't enjoy the company and it affected you so much, your mood changed. If you have to force it, leave it. While friendships aren't effortless, it shouldn't be that hard. If the relationship hits a rough patch that can't be recovered, it's best to move on.
Conflict Isn't Resolved
Sooner or later, friends will fight. It can be over something ridiculous or over a real conflict, but these issues need to be acknowledged and solved. Instead of wanting to talk it out, a toxic friend will tell others the issues they have with you, but not you. They'll make passive aggressive comments instead of constructive conversation and they're unable to admit fault. It's exhausting and all the blame is put on you.
This may seem like an obvious one, but it happens all the time. Even if is just a side comment, a real friend would never be mean or criticize your clothes, hair, car, etc, but a toxic friend always has an opinion. And often it's unkind. There's never an excuse to be cruel to another person, so know a toxic friend does this as easily as a fish drinks water.
There's So Much Drama
If there's always conflict in your friend group, there's a reason. Take a hard look over who is thriving off of it and often in the middle of it. That's the person we're warning you about. Toxic friends seek validation and need constant contact in order to feel important. If they're constantly texting looking for validation, or need to hang out with you all the time, that's a problem.
Use your intuition and if any of friendships sound like they're toxic, end it. Friends can be toxic to each other and ending the relationship is sometimes best. Friendships run their course and some are only had by convenience. If you're forcing it, and your heart isn't in it, you owe it both to yourself and friend to reevaluate.
Life is too short to surround yourself with people who make you feel bad and don't support you. Ending a toxic friendship can be stressful but ultimately it will be a huge relief and you'll see an improvement in your mental health.