The more time you spend having friendships and building bonds with people, the more you’ll see that sometimes these bonds can become toxic. This toxicity often goes unnoticed because it can sometimes be really subtle. Things like putting you down and talking bad about you behind your back are the obvious and more noticeable things, but people tend to overlook the things like subtle jabs and backhanded compliments. Noticing these toxic behaviors are the first steps to bettering the friendship or just straight cutting them off.
Not every friend you have has your best interest at heart and some would rather bring you down to their level or try to get out of your character. Instead of trying to push you to be a better you they’ll try to discredit you. According to Huffpost, they’ll “doubt everything you say or do,” “hold you in low esteem and spread lies about you” and will “lack faith in you and belittle your achievements.” You don’t need that in your life at all.
Another taletell sign that the friendship is becoming toxic is when you start to see that your “friend” will act out around other people. When someone feels the need to move different just because they’re around different people, that’s not cool. Be consistent. Don’t start switching up just because you’re in the presence of others. You also shouldn’t let how you’re moving and what you’re doing be determined by what other people are doing. “If you’re trying to move forward and achieve and they’re trying to stay in the same place, because that’s what everybody else is like, then it’s time to move on,” says Bianca, 16, Brooks College Prep.
Things won’t always be 50/50, but you should never feel like you’re the one holding the entire friendship together. When it starts to feel like that, you either need to talk to your friend and resolve the issue or just start to distance yourself from them. You shouldn’t be the one always reaching out, making plans, and initiating conversations. It’ll get draining after a while. Find friends who reciprocate the energy and effort you put out.
Nina Thomas, 17, also of Brooks College Prep, is one who’s been involved in a toxic friendship and eventually cut it off. She’s found friends now who put in just as much effort as she does and that makes their friendships much easier to manage. “In all my friendships, the energy has always been equal because I know now, as I’m getting older, how to have verbal communication and problem-solving with my groups,” says Thomas.
Friendships are supposed to be one of the best experiences of your life, but nobody should be dealing with a toxic person because it’s tiring and a waste of time. Life’s too short to deal with people who are trying to get you out of your character or just being plain spiteful because they feel like it. It’s okay to cut those toxic people out of your life. You’re doing this for you and no one else.
By Allana Green, Senior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep / Twitter: Allxnxg
By Cierra Lemott, Senior, Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep / Instagram & Snapchat: @cece.kodak