A toxic friendship can threaten your self-esteem, bank account, privacy and your ability to trust people in the future. Rap princess, Nicki Minaj knows this all too well. She recently stated to the media, “I’m not a trusting person. I think it’s because I’ve had to deal with so many people letting me down.” Since her career took-off, it’s been even harder to decipher who really cares for her—instead of her fame and fortune.
Ms. Minaj admits, “I’ve lost my peace of mind. I no longer know who’s my friend or my enemy. I don’t know if they’re calling me because they like me or because they want a photo op, and that’s not a good feeling. I’m always second-guessing everyone, trying to figure out, ‘Who is this person, and what do they want from me?’ ”
Most of us don’t have to factor “fame” into the reasons we’re part of a toxic friendship. However, how do we know when someone is genuinely there for us? And when do we know when it’s officially toxic?
Here are signs that your friendship doesn’t have “BFF” of favorite homeboy potential and you’re in a Toxic Friendship:
1. It’s One-Sided.
Many toxic relationships rely on an uneven give-take ratio. If you find yourself always being the one to make the plans, pay the tab, initiate a conversation or be “the listener,” your lack of equilibrium is a red flag. But before calling it quits, be sure to communicate your observations to your friend. Often times, people can be so wrapped up in their own lives that they become unaware of their selfish tendencies. They may just need a small nudge of realization to fix the problem. However, if you don’t confront the dysfunction, you may start to build feelings of resentment—which can be even more detrimental.
2. The Honesty is Lacking.
We all know relationships, romantic or platonic, are nothing without trust. When one or both participants begin making excuses, leaving out details or blatantly lying, there is something wrong with the friendship’s platform. That said, everything built above the platform is relatively unimportant because you have no solid grounds for it to stand. Friendships should be something you can rely on in times of instability. Instead, these types of friendships will only make things more shaky.
3. It is Overly Critical.
Your friends are supposed to support you. They should be your biggest cheerleaders and encourage you to be your best. However, some “friends” constantly focus on the negative, attack your weaknesses and will eventually threaten your self-esteem. This type of behavior is often a result of jealousy or plain cruelty. If you have a friend that only seems to mention what’s wrong, without acknowledging the good, consider the closest exit. These “frienemies” are exactly what real friends should protect you from.
4. You just don’t Feel It.
It’s true that sometimes you simply grow out of a relationship. People change with age, life events, and various other experiences. Sometimes our beliefs are altered and we see the world in a different way. And, while all of this happens, we end up slowly growing out of touch with someone that was once very close to us. However, it’s important to consider whether you are staying in that friendship because you want to, or if you feel it’s an obligation. While it’s important to remain loyal to people close to you, you aren’t being loyal by giving them a false sense of closeness. It’s okay to evolve—in life and in your friendships, just be kind and communicate. Chances are it’s a mutual feeling.
5. Without Them, Life Seems to be Easier.
When you notice yourself felling less stressed, calmer, more alive and generally happier when a friend hasn’t been around, you need to reconsider why they’re in your life. If your friend is bringing you down due to a break-up, job-loss or rough patch in life, you need to remember that it’s not your responsibility to fix them. In this case, you may need a break without an official break-up until they’ve recovered. Besides your encouragement, prayer and kindness, it’s up to them to change themselves. If they refuse to make that effort, your effort in the friendship is useless.
Toxic friendships can be extremely draining to any person. Not to mention, they are a waste of energy and all the “giving” you could be invested in a more rewarding place. Life is too short and there are too many good friends out there to entertain a toxic friendship. Always remember the golden rule, “treat others as you wish to be treated.” If you’re friends are not followers… then you are on the wrong path.