At this stage, people generally make a lot of friends. Either through discussion groups for doing college assignments or college friends with mutual interests. There is always a list of friends that you go to when you need assistance with research paper or discuss some overly demanding statistic homework due in a week’s time!
It is important to choose your friends wisely as friendships have an impact on almost all the important aspects of your life like, studies, career, marriage and health. This article explores ways to identify toxic friends at college us see how to identify toxic friends and deal with them.
It is essential to identify and end toxic friendships at an earlier stage in life as your future depends on it. The results of toxic friendship can be dreadful at times. Toxic friends find it difficult to embrace your success as they consider it as a threat to themselves.
This could also result in you being a victim of their anger, resentment and manipulation. Identifying these individuals and eliminating them from your life is important for your wellbeing. So, toxic friends exist, and wear you down; everyday!
Remember, true friendship should not hurt. If it does, possibly, it is toxic!
Although there is no specific code for identifying a toxic friend, there are some red flags to look out for.
Any person in your social network, who belittles, backbites you, and more often than not, drives you crazy with their soul-sucking behavior—that is a hideous friend!
They need you all the time for absolutely anything and everything. They tend to lean on you for all their emotional needs and in extreme cases; you could be their source of finance. They call you only to discuss about their problems and are not interested in listening to yours.
It is common for everyone to turn to their friends when they feel low or encounter a problem. But if you are only becoming a crutch to someone constantly just because they need you, you may want to reconsider your idea of having this person as your friend.
They try to control you. Toxic people try and control you constantly. They do not have any control on their life and are insecure about their friends being successful. Hence, they continuously try to put you on the wrong path so that they can get a sense of satisfaction. Simply put, they want you to drown with them if you are in a sinking ship.
“You are only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with so be brave enough to let go those who keep weighing you down” – Anonymous!
Believe in your instincts, always! With this particular person, you are constantly uncertain whether he / she is your friend or not. You tend to hide some of the good things about to happen in your life with a fear that this person might be a hindrance.
For instance, you might not want to tell your friend about a person you have romantic interest with as you are afraid they might try to catch their attention before you do. These are common occurrences in colleges. Insecure friends are all over: from those who cannot stomach your success in writing research papers, jealous of you’re the positive feedback from your dissertation supervisor, to those that are just jealous of your social friends.
They are blind to their own flaws. While they are good at finding faults in others, they are blind to their own flaws. Even if you explain to them that you have issues with their conduct that may be straining your relationship, they do not try to understand instead, they blame you. They also make you feel guilty for being rude to them.
Always remember: “If a friend can’t be behind you, pushing you forward, they can at least stand beside you. If they’re standing beside you being negative, then they need to be far away” – Anonymous.
Above motioned are some of the prominent qualities of a toxic friend. In your newly-found friendship, look out for these qualities to avoid the awkward situations that might arise later in your relationship.
Beware; Toxicity is contagious!
You might take on some of the qualities from your toxic friends without your knowledge. They impact your life in a way that before you realize it, it’s too late.
You tend to carry on the frustration as a result of your discussions with your toxic friends to your family and other friends. Therefore, you have to learn a way to deal with your toxic friends in order to avoid it from spreading around.
Do you know that 8 in 10 people endure poisonous friendship? Don’t be a statistic!
If your “friend” fits the above description of a toxic friend, it is time to act. In the words of Will Rogers: “If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging”. So, put an end to that friendship. Or avoid them.
But if you already have some toxic friends in your life and cannot afford to leave them, you can always confront them:
Set boundaries: Try and set boundaries with the friends that you feel are toxic. Although they try to manipulate you in most of the situations, you have to put your foot down and make them gain some sense that you are not weak anymore! This makes them move a few steps backward and think before they say anything that will let you down. You have to remember that you do not have to deal with any individual who makes you feel miserable.
Make them realize what they are doing: Not all the toxic people do it knowingly. In certain instances, you can help your friend realize how they have changed over time and confront them. This could help them re-evaluate their behavior and set it right. This way you could not only save your friendship but you can also enable their well being.
Avoid gossiping with them: Do not encourage your friend while they’re constantly gossiping about others. Try and steer the conversation to a different direction. Even after you making an effort to avoid gossips if they still want to continue doing so, you should let them know that you are not interested in that conversation anymore! If they are worth your relationship, they will respect your preferences.
Don’t let yourself down: Your toxic friend’s aim is to put you down. This gives them strength and a sense of achievement. Do not let this happen. Be confident of your abilities and do what you believe is right for you without really considering the opinions of toxic friends of yours.
But My Toxic Friends Cannot Change?
Even after trying the above mentioned steps, if your friend does not change their attitude, then it’s time for you to end your friendship with them and move on in life.
Perhaps, nobody captures this better than Danielle Koepke:
“You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It doesn’t matter whether someone is your relative, romantic interest, employer, childhood friend, or a new acquaintance —You don’t have to make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small. It’s one thing if a person owns up to their behavior and makes efforts to change. But if a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and continues to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go”
Speak it out: Let your friend know that their behavior is not acceptable and you want to end your friendship with them. Do not give them a chance to debate on the topic. Keep it simple and move on.
Accept the process and be patient: Ending a friendship is always difficult, no matter how long or short the duration is. Toxic friends do not respect your boundaries and continue doing the same. Even if you end your friendship with them, they might come back to you as they are used to lean on you, always. You have to be patient throughout the process and distance yourself from them gradually.
Write them a note: For most of us, it might be difficult to tell your friend directly that you want to end your friendship. To make it less awkward, write a small note with all the problems that you faced with them and let them know that you want to end it for the well being of both you and your friend.
While ending a toxic friendship, consider the following for your own safety:
Do it in a public place to avoid from any harm occurring to you. If the situation is getting awkward, you can always choose to walk away from the place.
Block them on all the social media platforms. Some of the toxic people will not be able to accept the fact that you cannot be in friendship. They will result into all kinds of drama in whatever avenues. Rule of the thumb: Do not give them that grace to harm your social image. Block them, if you may!
At college, you need to lead a healthy and peaceful life. You need time to work on that nagging college essay. Or even that dissertation chapter that your supervisor needs you to rewrite it. Mind you, you did the best. When you are at peace, you will discover the resources available to you. Maybe it’s time to seek the help of a statistician to analyze your research results or to get a professional to proofread or edit your dissertation.
In the midst of all this; toxic friendship is something you should steer off!
Your future is more important than anything else. You have to learn to respect, believe and stand up for yourself in life! And college is certainly the best place to start building your future. It is absolutely necessary to choose your friends and acquaintances wisely to your well being and success.
So ditch your toxic friends; move on!
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