Toxic Friendships

A friend is supportive, loyal and always rooting for you to win. A friend is not envious, disloyal, or full of gossip.

When we think of a toxic relationship, we usually think romantic; but friendships can be toxic as well. Signs of a toxic friendship are usually clear as day, yet we choose to ignore them for whatever reason(s). Friendships can be a bit more complicated than romantic relationships, and often harder to let go of. A lot of times the signs of toxic friendships are overlooked as “character flaws,” when in reality you and your friend just secretly hate each other.

I’ve had my fare share of toxic friends and the red flags were there all along, I was just so pressed for friends at the time that I ignored them. Of course every situation is different, but here are some common red flags of a toxic friendship that you shouldn’t ignore….

Consistency. If you and your ‘friend’ fall out every other week, that’s a huge red flag. One minute you’re BFFs hanging out 24/7, and the next you’re telling your other friend how much you hate her. There’s no consistency in the friendship.

Time. We often think that because we’ve been friends with someone for years that we can’t NOT be friends… that’s hardly the case. You have every right to end any friendship you want, whether it’s someone you met last week or someone you met 5 years ago. Not everyone you form a friendship with will be in your life forever. It’s OK to outgrow people! It’s life, it happens.

Envy. If your friend gets bitter when you get better, not your friend. Your friends should be your #1 fans/supporters in whatever goal(s) you are trying to accomplish. When you get that promotion, when you finally get that ring on your finger, whatever the case may be, she should be JUST as excited as you! When my friends accomplish something, I feel like I accomplished it as well – that’s how it’s suppose to be. Watch out for those ‘friends’ who half-ass congratulate you.

Backhanded compliments. “That dress makes you look so much skinnier.” “I wasn’t expecting you to get the job, congrats.” etc etc. The purpose of any relationship whether it be romantic or platonic, is to uplift each other. So if your ‘friend’ is giving you any kind of criticism that isn’t constructive.. red flag.

Enemies. Some people don’t agree with this one but it hasn’t proven me wrong yet in my 22 years of living. ANY FRIEND WHO HANGS WITH YOUR ENEMIES, IS NOT YOUR FRIEND!!! Point blank. Period. I’m not even going to go into this one because 1) common sense, 2) LOYALTY.

Gossip. I’ll keep this one short and to the point.. if your friend tells you all of her other friends’ business, what the hell makes you think she’s not out here running your business too??? You know, the friend who can’t wait to call and give you the scoop on her other homegirls drama as soon as her and homegirl hang the phone up.  I learned a long time ago if they’ll talk with you, they’ll talk about you.

Communication. You shouldn’t have to be the one to start a conversation every time.. aka if you don’t call/text them first then you would never hear from them. Not your friend. A real friend WANTS to call and see how you’re doing.

Overall, if a certain person came to mind while you were reading.. she’s your toxic friend! A friend is supportive, loyal and always rooting for you to win. A friend is not envious, disloyal, or full of gossip. Pick your friends wisely and remember, time is no measure of true friendship!


Take Care of Yourself

Is it selfish to put myself before others? No, it’s not selfish. I’m sure at some point in life you heard the cliché saying “take care of yourself first, or you will have nothing left to give others.” I couldn’t agree with it more! We were all given a special temple.. our own body, mind and soul; and it is our responsibility to take good care of it.

It is important to not get self-care confused with self-absorbed. Self-care [by definition] is care of one’s self without medical or other professional consultation. To me, self-care is crucial to being able to function — it is getting enough sleep, exercise, peace, etc. in order to perform daily tasks efficiently. Self-absorbed is being preoccupied with one’s own thoughts, interests, etc.. AKA self centered, thinking the world revolves around you. See the difference?

EmptySo why is it when we practice self care and practice putting our own needs before the needs of others, it is seen as being selfish? Ask yourself this, what good are you to others if you are exhausted, stressed out, and unhappy? None. Don’t get me wrong, there is no doubt we would all do anything for a loved one (friend, parent, spouse, etc.); anything to help them feel better physically/emotionally. However, it’s imperative to look after yourself, too. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Meaning if you give all that you have, there will be none left for yourself.

3 easy ways for you to take care of YOU:

  • Pamper yourself Take the time to have a spa day, go and get the massage that you deserve. Get your hair and nails done. Go for a walk/run; do something that relaxes you
  • Don’t be afraid to say NO Protect your schedule. If you know you have a hectic week coming up, don’t feel obligated to make plans or squeeze in a bunch of last minute things. This will only result in you being [more] stressed
  • Spend your money on what matters We all spend it wastefully every now and then, which is to be expected. But you want to spend it on what matters to you; when we’re stressed, we tend to spend without thinking. 9 times out of 10 that makes things worse, considering money is a huge source of stress for a lot of us

Taking care of yourself may simply mean taking time to pamper yourself; it could be a weekend getaway, or simply doing some of your favorite relaxing activities. Whatever it is, take the time to do it! Your mind and body will thank you for it later! Its okay to get caught up in helping others, just make sure you recharge!