It’s a universal truth – even the healthiest relationships have issues. No matter how long you’ve been best pals, there will always be a degree of complications. But more importantly, not everyone is meant to stay in your life forever. The best way to identify a person that may be damaging your mental health is to pay attention to the red flags. You know that nervous feeling in your stomach – the one that kind of feels like a knot? Yeah, those feelings shouldn’t be the foundation of your friendships. It’s important to be self-aware; know what kind of friend you want to be and what kind of friend is best for you.
Ignoring these signs will only increase your stress levels, and put further strain on your mental and physical stability. Here are five toxic behaviors you should look out for in friendships, and anyone you get close to.
THEY ARGUE WITH YOU
It’s healthy to have a small argument here and there. It’s human nature, people disagree. And hearing new opinions and being open to new perspectives is perfectly normal. But there is a fine line between a difference in opinion, and every word you say being ammo for an argument. If you argue until the point of feeling emotionally exhausted, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate the friendship.
THEY REACT POORLY TO CRITICISM
A healthy friendship should be centered on growth. We need to be open and willing to hear the hard truths about ourselves. It puts a lot of pressure on a friendship, and your own mental health when you become sour over criticism. Best friends are intended to help you in every step of your journey. There is no growth if we choose to ignore feedback. So if your pal gets instantly defensive at any sign of constructive criticism, they likely have some personal insecurities they need to work on before they can truly be a give-and-take friend.
THEY CODDLE YOU
Similar to rejecting criticism, this one is more about sugar coating opinions just to spare feelings. Over time the constant holding back will build up and either implode, or make your friend bitter from keeping quiet and hurt you in the process. Once trust is lost, it can be nearly impossible to regain. If you think your friend may be coddling you, this calls for real reflection and an honest discussion with your bestie!
THEY’RE JEALOUS OF YOU
Jealousy will poison a friendship real quick. But it’s actually not uncommon for these feelings to arise. There are countless reasons why jealousy occurs. It can be over materialistic things, success, or even envy between mutual friends. It’s normal to feel a bit of jealousy, but it’s important to change those negative feelings into positive vibes. A true friend will be genuinely happy for your success, and hype you up to help you realize you deserve to be your best self! This will only happen if both friends are equally supportive of each other. The jealous friend will often have something missing in their own life, or an insecurity that they know you don’t have, but it’s important to remember that it’s not your job to fill that void. You should never have to dim your own light because your friend isn’t shining bright enough.
THEY TAKE AND YOU GIVE
Treating your friends to a meal or offering emotional support are little ways of saying how much you love and appreciate them, but this isn’t always reciprocated. We live in a world where we see relationships as a transaction. When we give something out, we often expect something in return. Especially when it’s a piece of ourselves like our affection, time, or knowledge. This in itself is a toxic way of thinking, but it definitely happens. Although, there is a point when reciprocity is essential to a friendship. It can be emotionally straining to be the friend who is continuously supportive but never receives that same support back. Like anything else, give and take needs to be balanced. When it becomes one-sided, the giver will eventually break. Don’t let it get to the point where you are taken advantage of and only used for what you can give to the friendship.
Whether you can work it out, or end up growing apart, take care of your mental health, vinas! Every relationship you have in your life is there for a reason, but not every relationship is meant to last a lifetime.
Find a friendship that will help you grow in love, support, and kindness on Hey! VINA today!