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The pitfalls of toxic friends

Recognizing red flags in friendships

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If you feel worse after spending time with people, are they really your friends?

Growing up, most people can remember those friends whom you felt so close to and spent the majority of your time with. At that time, this friendship may have felt completely right and acceptable.

However, it is often the case, as the movie “Perks of Being a Wallflower” said, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” Looking at this quote, it’s easy to understand how we accept people into our lives based on how we view ourselves and how much we love ourselves. 

So, when thinking about those one or two friends who are super close to you, ask yourself if the way this friend is treating you is right and acceptable. These individuals could be very close to you, but if you do not fully love yourself or treat yourself kindly, these people could actually be a toxic 3-D model, mimicking your behavior and actions without your knowledge.

As you get older, your ability to tell the difference between your true friends and those toxic individuals improves. You start to understand who you really are and can determine the path that is best for you. This means as you age and become more independent, you should ask yourself if these ‘true’ friends are really as true as you think.

Has the thought ever crossed your mind that an individual is friends with you because they want to take advantage of you or feel superior to you? When you are older you may be able to recognize this behavior as unacceptable in other friendships, but perhaps not your own. Some unacceptable behavior from adult friendship might include: talking about you in a negative light behind your back, making you feel small, not supporting your life decisions, being passive-aggressive, not listening to your points of view or the events going on in your life and not making time for you.

All of these actions are huge red flags in friendships. As we become more comfortable in our adult lifestyles our friendships should also feel more permanent. These red flags should be dealt with and acknowledged. If these warning signs go unacknowledged or unnoticed by the friend creating them, are they really your true friend?

Do not let these people hurting you get away with their behavior or push you down, but instead, you should grow away from these relationships into a stronger adult. Toxic friends are never worth the pain of holding onto them.

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