By Mariam Mokhtar
Some of you may have experience of a “toxic” friend. You spend hours trying to calm them down, or assuage their feelings. They always appear to have some personal problem to sort out, or claim that someone has deliberately upset them. Anyone with a “toxic” friend, should dump him, or her, immediately.
What is the definition of a toxic friend? One person who recently dumped his “toxic” friend said, “She was someone I met at a gym. At first, she appeared to be fun-loving, but once I got to know her better, I found that she was emotionally draining. It affected my health, and work performance, so I had to end the friendship.
“She was someone who wanted me to be at her beck and call, but if I wanted to talk about my problems, she did not want to know. It was all about her. Nothing else mattered.
“She expected me to answer her calls, at any time of day or night. She would bombard me with text messages and get angry if I would not take her calls immediately.”
So how do you recognise a “toxic” friend?
The following are tell-tale signs of such a person.
A dismissive nature. They frequently moan that they have been wronged. They rarely want to talk about your concerns or how you spent your day. If you attempt to speak about yourself, they can be insulting. Only what they do matters. Only their solutions are correct. They are always dismissive of you and your closest friends. They ignore your efforts, and claim that you achieved success only because of their help. They rarely acknowledge your achievements. They have delusions of grandeur.
Selfishness. Only their interests matter. They expect you to wait on their emotional needs, to soothe them or perk them up, when they have had a bad day. If you say you are sick, they will claim that you are lying.
Unavailability. When it comes to your own needs, they do not want to know. They will only contact you when they want.
Manipulative. They contact you when they want something from you, but you rarely hear from them, otherwise. If they are nice to you, you should realise that their charm hides an ulterior motive. They use emotional blackmail to attempt to force you to do something against your will.
Insincere. They will gossip about others and claim that others are plotting against you. They claim that they are being used, but despite your attempts to tell them otherwise, they turn on you and say that you are as bad as the rest.
Unreliability. They have a tendency to break their promises and come up with a list of excuses for being unable to keep theirs.
Being personal. They cannot take any criticism, however slight, and they take offence easily. When that happens they are vindictive and lash out without thinking. They do not care if they hurt other people’s feelings. They have no time for compromise, for meeting others halfway, nor for reconciliation.
Inconsiderate. They expect others to go out of the way to accommodate their wishes, but they have no desire to consider other people’s needs. The word “sorry” is not in their vocabulary.
Possessive. As they find it difficult to make friends, they cannot imagine that you have other interests and would want to meet your other friends. They rarely share your happiness, because they think, “If I cannot have what you desire, then you cannot have it either.”
Insecurities. As they have low self esteem and lack confidence, they try to make you feel just as insecure. They will turn against you when you least expect it and twist your words. They are very intense. Perhaps, they are afraid that people will pick on them or blame them for no reason. They switch their emotions at the click of a finger, and an almost insignificant incident can trigger a volte-face in emotions.
If you recognise that your friend is “toxic”, get rid of him, or her, immediately. He will drain you physically and emotionally. Nothing you do will be good enough for him.