Yes! There are toxic relationships, and there also are toxic friendships. But how do you identify a good friend and a toxic friend? Hurt feelings are one indicator and there’s multiple more.
A best friend can bring great joy, comfort, solace, and fun to your life. People are pack animals. They love to roam together. They need friends to thrive, friends that share the good times and offer support in the bad.
Unfortunately, a bad friend can have the opposite effect, yielding hurt feelings plus increased vulnerability to all the stress-related body signs — higher blood pressure, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), lowered immunity, higher blood sugar, depression, anxiety…the list goes on.
But how do you know if you’re in a friendship that’s affecting your health and killing your spirit? See tips below:
- You find yourself in a competition with her other “best friends.”
What? Her other best friend gives her more? Do fun things you can’t? Has things in common with her that you would never want? And why do you know this about her other friend, anyway?
- There’s an imbalance in talk time — all for the friend, none for you.
You call her and she tells you about how lousy her day has been or how great her day was.
Then you start telling her about what’s happening with you and…she apologizes but has to get off the phone because, well, she has many reasons why, but the reality is that she leaves without having listened to you or your concerns or joys.
- Your best friend blurts out criticism with a self-righteous attitude.
Honesty is important in any relationship. But what happened to kindness? What’s this idea about brutal truth being something to aspire to? It’s still brutal — and damaging. She tells you, “You know, you are just too needy. It’s like you’re a stalker always coming after me.”
What? No wonder you feel awful. Be sure you realize that her mean words probably are projections — that is, more accurate as descriptions of how she is than as descriptions of you.
- Who calls whom?
Are you calling her or texting her far more often than she reaches out to you? Do you feel like you’re more interested in talking and getting together than she is?
Relationships get toxic when the other person isn’t as invested in you as you are in them. The opposite — feeling stalked by a friend’s incessant demands on your time — can be disturbing as well.
- You’re walking on eggshells.
At first, it was so fun to be with her. You laughed, you commiserated, and it was such an enjoyable connection. Then something changed. She flipped. It’s so easy to get into trouble with her now.
Better be careful. But then you start being overly careful, watching every word to avoid saying the wrong thing.