How to Spot a Toxic Friend

Sometimes It's Hard to See What's Best for Ourselves in Relationships

Relationships with others are essential to our emotional health. However, it’s sometimes hard to see what’s best for ourselves when we’re invested in a relationship.

And then there are toxic relationships. These are the relationships that, if not corrected, could become extremely harmful. They are not necessarily hopeless, but require a lot of work to be corrected. Spotting a toxic relationship isn’t always easy since many unhealthy relationship habits are baked into our culture. Fortunately, there’s been a lot of recent psychological study into healthy and happy relationships and there are some principles that pop up consistently.

These are a few red flags of a toxic relationship:

– Passive aggression
– Arguing without communication
– Extreme jealousy
– Feelings of low self-worth
– Being secretive/hiding things from one another
– Constantly bringing up past mistakes in present arguments
– Avoiding one another
– Physical violence
– Wishing that things were as they once were in the relationship
– Feelings of unfaithfulness

Just because a relationship has taken a toxic course does not mean that it cannot be fixed through time and hard work. However, it does not mean that things must always be fixed.

There is nothing wrong with admitting that a relationship has run its course. Oftentimes there are a lot of things that we put up with simply because the pain that relationships bring us is less intimidating than the pain of letting go of the people that we love.

But we must remember to make ourselves a priority and put our well-being before anything else, even if it isn’t always easy. Even if you cannot imagine your life without a person, with time and distance, you will realize that you are healthier without the presence of the relationship.

This guest blog is written by Madison, blogger for You Matter, a part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and a safe space for youth to discuss and share stories about mental health and wellness.

For information on how to meet, make, and maintain good friendships, check out:

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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