July 13, 2012

Everyone Should Get Rid Of Their Toxic Friends

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What is the issue?

Being someone’s friend doesn’t seem like a difficult job. How hard is to treat someone you like with respect and, you know, be there for them?

Oh, right. I guess it’s really hard. People fail at it everyday! Bad friends are easier to find than good friends these days. Cool!

If you’re sitting there and wondering if you are, in fact, a bad friend, let me define it for you.

A bad friend is someone whose jealousies and insecurities outweigh their love for someone. Deep down, they might want to be a good friend and care but they’re too messed up in their own head to ever actually do it. Instead, they act paranoid and possessive, saying things like, “This is MY best friend. Oh, you know so-and-so? I’m super close with them!” This type of person can also be an unattractive mix of territorial and paranoid. They wonder if their friends are hanging out without them or if they’re being forgotten and left behind. People who are violently insecure don’t have what it takes to be a quality friend. Their own issues and neuroses get in the way.

A bad friend is someone who feels the need to undercut what you’re saying and take little jabs. Of course, with close friends, it’s always fine to take jabs at each other but you know whether or not it’s coming from a good place. Putting your friend down often isn’t “Ha, ha ha.” It’s more like, “Ew, with friends like you, who needs enemies?!

Bad friends are narcissistic and self-obsessed. They look for any opportunity to bring the conversation back to them. Worse, they might not even be aware that they’re doing it. In their mind, they might think they are the best friend ever, which is truly frightening.

Bad friends are fair-weathered. They’re by your side when you’re fun and you have something to give them but as soon as you’re going through a difficult time, they are conveniently MIA. They won’t bring you cold medicine. They won’t give you a ride to the doctor. Everything they do is self-serving.

Bad friends wince when you tell them good news. They say they’re happy for you but deep down they’re devastated that you’ve eclipsed them in some area of life. They’re not your cheerleader, they’re your detractor. You’re allowed to move up in the world when they do.

If you find yourself relating to a lot of these or feel like you have a friend who has these same characteristics, dump their asses and send them to Bad Friend jail immediately. Life is hard enough without you having to wonder if you have good people around you. Your friends are supposed to be the solution to your problems, not the source.

I feel like your twenties are a time when you cut the fat and find out who’s really meant to stick by you. In such an insane time of transition, friendships aren’t easy to maintain like they once were in college. Now we actually have to put work into it, we have to make a conscious effort to keep the friendship going. This shift allows you to really ask yourself, “Is this person worth it? Do they treat me like crap or what?” And if you have your doubts, chances are they  aren’t meant to be a part of your tribe. Toxic friendships do nothing but drag you down. Feeling heavy this summer? Thin out your contacts list! It’ll give you the same feeling as going on a liquid cleanse! (Uh, sorta.)

My point is that you have to take care of yourself and stop hanging out with douchebags. Only surround yourself with people who bring out the best qualities in you. It sounds corny but it’s true. If you don’t like the way you act when you’re around someone, maybe you should reconsider being around them.

It’s time to build your second family. The friends you have now will likely be the ones you have forever, so you might as well make sure they’re solid!TC Mark

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