Most people are unaware that they are engaging in a toxic friendship. The common mindset is that friends stick together no matter what; however, this can be a damaging mindset in your life. If you have a friendship that you feel is more harmful than beneficial, you may want to consider cutting ties with that friend. If you are uncertain, try asking yourself these eight questions based on Talkspace’s recent post, “When to Ditch a Toxic Friendship (According to a Therapist),” and reflect on your answers:
- Does your friend often cancel on you for what he or she perceives as a better plan?
- Does your friend lie to you frequently or break promises?
- Is your friend constantly seeking your attention or act overly jealous of your other relationships?
- Does your friend gossip about you?
- Is your friend often discouraging your healthy activities? For example, do they get upset with you if you decide to go to the gym instead of having a movie night with them?
- Is your friend unwilling to compromise on activities that you engage in together?
- Do you feel that you are the one in the relationship always giving and that they are constantly taking?
- Does your friend make you feel bad when you are together? For example, do you feel like they weigh you down with constant criticism or judgment?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it may be time to reevaluate your friendship. This does not mean that you need to end the relationship completely; instead, consider taking some steps to ensure that you are taken care of in the relationship as well. According to Tamara Stevens, a contributor at Talkspace, here are some steps you can take to transform your relationship into a healthy one.
Before you proceed with setting boundaries, identify what boundaries you have or have not set with your friend. This can provide you with insight into what boundaries need to be established and which, if any, are being broken. It is important that you understand what healthy boundaries are and how to preserve them not only to save your friendship but to preserve your own personal feeling of self-worth as well.
Opening up a line of communication with your friend may feel impossible, but in the end, it can help you establish an even closer friendship. According to psychologist Susan Heitler, talking about problems with a friend is the only way to reach a resolution. If you remain silent and don’t resolve the tension, then there is bound to be a major conflict between the two of you.
Limit Time Spent Together
Ask yourself, “Does this friendship bring something positive to my life?” If your answer is “yes,” then you may want to consider reducing the time you spend with this friend instead of cutting them out completely. Identify activities that you enjoy engaging in together and limit your interactions that led to animosity.
It is easy to blame your friend for the problems in the relationship, but it is imperative that you also reflect and identify your part in the conflict. It may be as simple as the fact that you do not set boundaries; however, it could go deeper. For example, you may find that you have difficulty being assertive, which causes you to be resentful in the relationship. Self-reflection is one of the most powerful tools you can use to build a healthy life and effective relationships.
Does This Sound Overwhelming?
Letting go of a friendship, setting boundaries, and communicating are not easy tasks. Many individuals go through their lives without ever confronting such issues. However, when someone gains the courage to face a toxic friendship and make decisions based on what will provide them with a healthy life, they develop a stronger sense of self-worth and belonging.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to do this on your own. Turning to an online therapist, such as those at Talkspace, can provide you with a simple solution to get the help you need. Working with a therapist on a digital platform can reduce any anxiety you may feel about seeking professional help while providing you with the support you need to make healthy decisions.
An online therapist can help you:
- discuss your friendship dynamics and help you determine if you are engaging in a toxic friendship
- learn what boundaries are and provide you with guidance on how to set effective ones
- communicate openly and honestly and help you reduce guilt associated with such communication
- understand how to self-reflect and the benefits of such reflection
A Talkspace online therapist can walk with you through your journey and help you develop lifelong, healthy, and strong friendships. They can also help you improve your self-esteem and your feelings of self-worth, at least according to what some users have noted in their Talkspace reviews. Plus, most of the communication is done through messaging, providing individuals with a simple way to build a wholesome life.