Thought Catalog

15 Tactics Toxic Friends Use To Keep You From Realizing Your Full Potential

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1. They tell you what’s wrong with your life more than they celebrate what’s right.

Whether or not it’s under the guise of giving “advice” or “being realistic,” they always seem more comfortable focusing on the negative side of things.

2. They feel overly entitled to your time.

Sure, anyone who loves you wants to see you as much as possible, but real friends are grateful for whatever time they get. They don’t guilt you or manipulate you into prioritizing them over something that needs your attention.

3. They dislike when you change.

The reality is that if you’re not changing, you’re not living, and you’re certainly not growing. You do not owe it to anybody to be the person they met (nor do they owe it to you to stick around). But friends who get on your case for not being the exact person you were when you met them aren’t ones you want to have around anyway.

4. You often have to downplay yourself in order to not make them feel bad.

This might not seem manipulative, but ultimately, if you can’t be who you are or share what you’re experiencing because you don’t want to upset someone with cripplingly low self-esteem, you’re the one who is being affected by a problem that’s not even yours.

5. They mock you for taking yourself seriously.

This is the quickest way for them to knock you down a few pegs – and to do so all under the guise of just being “funny.”

6. They belittle your aspirations.

If you want to lose weight, they imply that you’re shallow. If you want to get a raise, they remind you that you haven’t worked there long enough to deserve it. If you want a relationship, they tell you that it’s because you don’t love yourself enough.

7. They constantly offer help when it’s not needed.

They become overbearing about basic things, and it seems their belief is always that you couldn’t possibly function without them.

8. They have something negative to say about absolutely everyone you know.

Even if they claim to love the person, or even like them most of the time, when you sit down together, they have a series of complaints and grievances to take with almost everybody. This often is to ensure that you don’t like anybody as much as you like them.

9. You spend time with them so you don’t lose your relationship, not because you want to.

Your time together is often more stressful than it is fun, and it drains you more than it empowers you. Despite this being the case, you oddly feel as though you do not want to lose this friendship, and so you keep up appearances to maintain it.

10. They don’t believe in your potential.

If you have aspirations to be an author, their instinct is to tell you how hard it is, as opposed to saying that despite it being hard, they know you’ve got a chance to really go for it, because they know you are a great writer.

11. They celebrate everything and everybody but you.

If you’re an artist, they’re always pointing out how someone else’s art is fantastic. If you’re a runner, they’re always saying how impressed they were by someone else’s score. When they dole out their approval, it’s almost always for anybody but you.

12. They correct you more than they listen to you.

Your opinions seem, by default, inferior to theirs.

13. Everything becomes a micro-competition.

Even if it’s not always apparent, you often feel stressed or as though you have to prove something to them. The point is that you consistently feel threatened, or as though you’re being demeaned in some way (however small).

14. They wait for you to take non-verbal cues that they’re upset.

Rather than directly speak with you about what’s bothering them, they harbor their feelings and wait for you to notice. By making you feel as though you’re responsible for their emotions, they are assuming the upper hand in the argument.

15. They’re never wrong.

But you are, and pretty often. TC mark

Poetry That Will Empower and Inspire You

Salt Water, the new poetry collection by Brianna Wiest, is a must-have book on your journey to healing. Grab a cup of tea and let these essential, purifying prose calm your mind and filter out the noise.

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—Lee Crutchley, Author of “How To Be Happy, Or At Least Less Sad”

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Read more books in 2018…

Cut yourself some slack. One of the biggest regrets most people have about their 20s is that they didn’t enjoy them more. And I’m not talking about “buy more expensive dinners, take another trip to Thailand” type of enjoyment. I mean having the ability to take a deep breath and sip coffee in the morning knowing that you have done, and are doing, your best.

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