An Add-On to Articles on Toxic Friends

Toxic Friends

With all the recent articles on toxic friendships (8 Signs of a Toxic Friendship, 23 Warning Signs of a Toxic Friend, etc.) , I began to realize how they failed to acknowledge that cutting your ties probably meant you were doing the other person a favour too. True, it becomes easier as an adult to detect which relationships are unhealthy for us – but what about acknowledging that we too could benefit from the loss by learning about our own enabling behaviours.

Growing up, I realized that many, if not most of my friendships were toxic relationships. I used to think that these people just gravitated towards me – impossibly beautiful and self-destructive girls whom I felt were very unlike myself. I didn’t share the same circle of  friends, I didn’t go out to the same parties, I didn’t share similar experiences –  it became increasingly puzzling to me as I began to question what was it about myself that drew these people in?

For hours I would listen to my friends talk about their moral dilemmas, I would help them carry out lies, incessantly talk over how they could fix their situation. All I wanted was for them to feel that no matter the circumstance, they would never be judged by their friend.  Oftentimes they would refer to me as their own personal “therapist”.

For selfish reasons I liked being someone who could be counted on. But as time drew on, I started to feel reluctant to follow through with plans and if  I did, I would leave feeling worse-off after hanging  out. I too would become attached to their problems as if they were my own and would feel disappointed, sad and fearful to see my friends lapse into their toxic patterns, wondering whether that could be me too. Though I would be present for my friends, I wouldn’t say I were being “supportive” of them. If anything, I allowed for them to indulge in their self-destruction – I became an enabler, leaving neither of us being helpful to one or the other.

Though one person might be more harmful than the other, most failed relationships are a two-way street. When you go through the pains of parting from a toxic friend, it’s time for both parties to reflect on what they could do to help friendships flourish. Sometimes, the best thing you could do to be a true friend, is step back, accept that you’ve done all you could to offer your support.

No One Asked.

Bye.

There is nothing worse than making light conversation only to find yourself speaking to one of these people: The ones who have something to say about everything. You could be walking down a cereal aisle contemplating aloud “what cereal do I want…” with this person alongside of you, and all of a sudden find yourself wishing you had never set foot in the grocery store as you drown out their impassioned speech about Lucky Charms and consumerism.

Don’t get me wrong – stimulating conversations are great, healthy debates are cool too. But for the love of God, I just wanted to get my cereal. And it happens more often than not where I find myself in the midst of these convoluted tangents I could care less for.

After having roused one too many of these conversations with no intent in doing so, I began to wonder what on earth prompted this – what drove this compulsion to shove an opinion wherever and whenever? Here’s what I’ve deducted – and feel free to disagree.

  1. We live in a world where we’re looking for any reason to be mad. I know – the irony right? Girl can’t stand hearing other people’s stance, so she blogs about it. To be fair, it practically balances out the amount of one-sided conversations I’ve endured, half-listening to people “voice an opinion”. People love stirring the pot – we see it all the time in the media. For example: Alicia Keys is famously known for being a feminist – and what kind of advocate would she be had she not tweeted a picture of either herself or some woman in a hijab – right?? (I hope you detected my sarcasm). While I’m pro feminism, I still don’t know what this public stunt was responsive to nor do I understand its overall message.  It’s no surprise this sort of behaviour has transpired into our day-to-day conversations…
  2. We love to set ourselves apart from the rest. Anytime anyone’s spoken out unnecessarily it’s to point to one of their poignant characteristic attributes (usually the best ones). Now this is only overbearing when the conversation had nothing to do with the latter. It’s not that I don’t want to get to know you as a person — truthfully, I’d rather see, than be told. Nevertheless, we seem to feel the need to make a point about ourselves whenever the opportunity presents itself. It’s the only way to get the message across. We get it, you’re “different”.
  3. We’re obsessed with having a “cause”. Imagine telling a friend you’ve cooked (insert meal of choice here)  the other day and every single time you say something to do with what you’ve cooked because the topic were brought up, they say something to the effect of “I’ll never cook a day in my life”. Every. Single. Damn. Time. Just in different variations. Here I was thinking we were conversing about what I made the other night, but now I feel as though I ought to applaud you for your defiance against cooking.

To those of you who have a habit of projecting, take a moment to ask yourselves – Is this for me or for the two people involved in this conversation? If you’re the type who has something to say on even the most trivial matter, to this, I say: No one asked.