University is a time for higher learning, to develop the skills we’ll need after graduation to live our best possible lives. Or something to that effect.
This is the time in our lives where we are making the friendships that’ll last for decades, after we pay way too much for regalia and receive those pieces of paper that we’ll frame and then never look at again. This is also the time where we should be learning how to cultivate our friend group. We need to learn how to cull the toxic friends from our lives.
But what is a toxic friend?
A toxic friend is someone with whom you interact on a continual basis and who may possess any number of the following traits: being insulting, manipulative, negative, inconsiderate, insincere, envious, possessive, unsupportive, selfish, unavailable, or rude.
They may act a way that seems kind and genuine when you interact one-on-one, and then become almost an entirely different person when in a group setting. These friends are most dangerous because you feel guilty for thinking badly about them in group situations, since you know the “real” version of your friend.
Toxic friends are the ones you keep around because they’re not that bad. They may make you feel taken-for-granted, or used, or like you’re just kind of a filler for their afternoon, but everyone needs friends somewhere between acquaintances and best-friends-forever.
We’re all very quick to judge potential significant others — we ask ourselves whether or not they deserve us and if we deserve them. Yet we are shockingly lax about who makes the cut into our friend circles. We spend mountains of time interacting with our friends. They influence us and help shape the way that we as people grow and mature. We need to hold them to a higher standard.
I have lost track of how many times my friends have called me late at night, usually in tears, because of their other friends. Please, if any of this sounds familiar, really think about dropping these ticking time bombs from your life before they blow up in your face.
Of course, sometimes things happen in life and we fuck up in our friendships. But if stuff like the examples below happen to you more than once or twice with a certain friend, it’s quite possible that they’re toxic.
“I’ve been feeling like there’s something off between us, but he says I’m imagining things. Then when I call him on how he’s been avoiding me for the past few weeks, he gets all defensive and tells me he’s only doing that because I won’t let it go that something’s amiss. Maybe he’s right? Maybe I’m blowing this all out of proportion. I feel so stupid.”
No, no, no. He does not get to tell you how you feel, or that what you’re feeling is invalid just because he’s too self-centred to realize that he’s being insensitive and dismissive of you
“I offered to drive my friend around once because she was going to be late for work and she needed to stop at a store on the way, and now it seems like almost every day she expects to be there to drive her around. I don’t want to stop helping her out, but like — I have things I need to do, too, and she’s stopped saying thank you or really even talking to me at all aside to ask when I’ll be at her house.
“I’ve tried to bring it up, but then she gets mad saying that I don’t have to help her if I don’t want to, that she thought I was a better person than her other friends. So I feel like I need to keep doing it for her even though I don’t want to.”
Get out. She is using you and then manipulating you when you try to stand up for yourself.
If you don’t feel good with someone you call a friend, or you keep questioning if they are your friend at all, then it’s a good idea to reevaluate the relationship.
If you feel comfortable talking to them about your feelings, do so. If you don’t, then they probably aren’t your friend. If they’re open to the conversation, but shut you down, make you feel guilty, or make you feel like your feelings are wrong, then there won’t be much improvement.
Friends are the only family we’ll ever get to choose. So let’s be more selective of who we bring into our inner circles.
If they aren’t boosting you up, and aren’t even trying, then you need to cut them out of your life. Otherwise, the cycle of negativity will never end.