Is Your Friend Toxic?

Board, School, Hostile, Enemy, Knowledge

The problem with toxic friendship is that other people tend to dismiss it, but friends who are more like enemies, or”Frenemies” can be very abusive. Frenemy relationships are far more emotional (controlling, passive-aggressive or demeaning) than physical. It’s usually not as extreme as domestic abuse, because friends have a simpler time, generally, walking away from abuse than romantic or family relationships. Since people tend to downplay the abuse of a friend; victims of it keep it a secret.

How to tell if a buddy is a”frenemy” (alternating pronouns)

1. If she says bad things about you to your friends, or tells others secrets you shared in confidence, she’s trying to build herself up by undermining you.

2. If he does not keep his promises, or is always late, or likely not to show at all, he does not care enough about you.

3. She’s jealous or upset when something good happens to you. This is not the attitude of a friend, this is a competitor.

4. You only hear from him if he needs something from you. If he only contacts you when he wants a ride, or for you to take him to dinner, or help him with homework or a job, or be his”wing man” if he wants to troll at a bar; then he is just using you, and he is not really a friend.

5. She tells you you’re second best. If she suddenly breaks a date or she’s unavailable if she gets a”better deal” from a date or a popular friend, she is not a real friend.

6. He criticizes you, your accomplishments, your loved ones, your home, your job or your friends. A good friend doesn’t subject you to a continuous barrage of criticism and negativity. A fantastic friend may feel the need to tell you a challenging fact, but even that can be stated with kindness.

7. She lets you cover items and give her things and do things for her, but she seldom or never reciprocates. Even if there is a difference in your financial status, a fantastic friend will try to reciprocate with anything she can afford: a home made meal or treat in return for taking her out to lunch; or helping you with something in return for something you purchased.

8. He flirts with your girlfriend or someone he knows you’re interested in, or he tries to steal your very best friend from you. This is not a buddy, this is a rival. A good friend would be glad to see you happy and encourage your other relationships.

9. Whenever there’s a problem between you, she won’t admit she’s wrong, or apologize or talk about it. She stonewalls you and tries to make you feel guilty for not liking what she did. Friends may have problems, it’s a natural part of relationships; but good friends can talk it through, work it out, apologize and forgive each other.

10. A good friend can encourage you and celebrate with you, even when you’re doing better than he is.

How to sensitively and diplomatically handle jealous friends:

• What a pain in the butt!! She is late for lunch, she is constantly complaining or whining, she does not pay you back. But, she’s your friend, so what do you do? Work with her! She is easy to teach, if you do it right. Let her know what you like about what she does, then she will hear you when you say you do not like something. Use silence: if you do not like what she is saying or doing, do not respond; she’ll get the message, with no word.

• Establish limits: If he’s habitually late, be sure he knows when the timing is significant (you hate to miss the first 5 minutes of this film ) and when time isn’t an issue (you can read a book or talk to a friend until he arrives) When timing is critical, tell him if he is not ready by xxx time, you will leave without him. It’s wonderful how well that works.

• Don’t be too strict about it: if she has a good reason, or it is only occasional, cut her a little slack. But, don’t be a pushover, either.

• Don’t react to things that are obnoxious, but just politely ignore what he is doing or saying, and maintain a pleasant demeanor. Be a grownup, whether he is or not. In case you have to treat him like a misbehaving child, so be it; just don’t let him drag you into bad behavior of your own.

• People who respond this way are usually in a lot of emotional pain in their lives. Be as understanding as possible, be happy to listen to your friend’s feelings to a fair level, but don’t let their battle ruin your good feelings about yourself. If possible, offer the friend time with you, to help her feel special and important. Many times, publicly thanking her for nice things she’s done will help keep her pacified.

• Understand underlying causes of terrible behavior: People who’ve always felt competitive toward you’re likely to misbehave, to get attention in that manner. If someone’s behavior becomes a problem, place some limits. Tell the friend right what behavior is unacceptable (like making nasty remarks when you’re around other friends) and let him know you can not be his friend if his behavior doesn’t improve.

• Don’t be scared to speak with friends about what friendship means to you: is it OK to cancel a date with a girlfriend (or her with you) because you get a better deal from a man? Due to family illness or problems? How much loyalty do you anticipate in the friendship, and what does that mean?

• Be honest. Lying to your buddy about whether you have broken an agreement does more harm than breaking the agreement. If you do something with another friend, tell the truth do not protect the jealous friend. It gives him a false belief.

• Handling difficult personalities takes skill and knowhow. Here’s a technique anyone can learn to use that works every time.

If a person behaves badly in your presence, giving that adult a”workout” is a powerful and subtle way of fixing the problem. Modern parents use a time out to discipline small children. An adult variation of this time out works as well on any adult friend who is acting childish or misbehaving. Just become very distant and considerate around the person who’s not treating you well. Be very polite, so they can’t accuse you of being disagreeable, mean or rude. There’s absolutely not any need to explain what you are doing: the problem person will get the message from your behaviour, which is much more effective.

If you have never tried this, you will be surprised at how effective it is to become polite and pleasant but distant. Most of the time, your friend’s behaviour will immediately become more subdued around you, and often, more caring.

Eventually, he or she may ask you what’s wrong, or why you have changed, and at the point you have an opportunity to tell her what the problem behavior is, and why you do not like it. Learning how to put obnoxious friends in time outs at the start of unpleasant behaviour can make it unnecessary to use tougher tactics at all. And if the person’s behaviour does not change, you can leave them in”time out” and you will be protected from it.

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