Are you a toxic friend?

Are you a toxic friend?

When it comes to our friendships, it’s not uncommon to display certain toxic behaviours even when we don’t mean to. That’s why it’s important to be aware of these behaviours so that you can correct and avoid them.

Being self-centred

When someone comes to you for advice or even just to confide in you, do you start talking about something that happened to you? We may not realise when we’re doing it, but shifting discussions so that we are the main focus all the time is a bad habit. It doesn’t just discourage friends from confiding in us about things, but it makes our friendships one-sided. So, the next time a friend expresses something, rather than respond with something that happened to you, try to listen to them and find out how they feel.

Not communicating

Like with all other relationships, our friendships fail when we don’t work on communicating effectively. For a lot of people, it’s easier to avoid conflict (disagreements) by just keeping quiet even though a friend has done something we didn’t really like. This creates a lot of unnecessary tension and resentment over time and may lead to the friendship ending suddenly. It’s best to talk to friends about things that hurt us instead of keeping them bottled up in the hopes that our friends will change somehow. Sadly, not all your friends will be positive or receptive when we tell them how we feel, and that’s okay. Someone who cares about you will take time to consider your emotions.

Not apologising

We are not perfect, and that means that we can make mistakes and possibly hurt our friends in the process. In the same way that we want our friends to be able to recognise their faults, we need to be able to admit when we are wrong and apologise if necessary. Friendships where people are not willing to take accountability and apologise when they have hurt the other party can get toxic very quickly.

Being controlling

Just because we are friends with someone, doesn’t mean we can control what they do or who they speak to. It’s common to have ‘cliques’ in high school, where people only hang out with a certain group, but trying to control who your friends become friends with is not okay. Healthy friendships are built on openness and trust, which means that we should be able to trust that our friends still care about us even if they have another friend group.

How can you change toxic behaviours?

If you realise that you have been displaying any of these toxic behaviours, then you are already on the right track. Recognising your behaviour can help you make a change. It doesn’t mean that you are a bad person or friend. It simply means that you need to work on getting rid of these behaviours. Communicate this with your friends and ask them to help you be aware of these behaviours when they show up. Remember, the aim is not perfection, but to get better at being positive influences in all your relationships.

We all have certain traits and habits that we are not proud of, but it doesn’t make them right or unchangeable. Being aware of these traits can help us make changes so that we are the best version of ourselves. Change doesn’t happen overnight and it’s definitely not going to be easy, but with the right attitude and support system, you can definitely be a better friend.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).