How To Differentiate Between True Friends and Toxic Friends?
There is a quote at the end of the Christmas movie It’s A Wonderful Life about friendship. It says that no one who has friends can count themselves as a failure.
But what does it say about us if our friends are toxic?
Friendship is a valuable thing in life. You might not realise it, but a lot of what you do is because you’ve been spurred on consciously or subconsciously by your friends.
I remember when I was at school and learned an instrument with a friend. Would I have had the courage to learn it by myself? Probably not.
When I joined a netball team as a young teen, I joined with a friend.
Friends encourage us to do better, and we grow and learn with them. We achieve milestones with them, and as much as we help them through difficult times, they help us through tough times, too.
Some friends, however, are toxic. Rather than help us to reach the top, they keep us grounded. Worse still, they make us feel bad about ourselves. They use us and don’t give us anything back.
If you’re having a bit of trouble making the distinction between a true friend and a toxic one, our article seeks to clarify things. Let’s take a look.
Success: True Friends Celebrate, Toxic Ones Get Jealous
“OMG. Congratulations! Tonight, we’re going out. No excuses. We. Are. Going. Out!”
This is how a true friend would react to your success. A jealous friend? They will probably ghost you on social media, pretending that they didn’t see your status about your ace exam results.
Eventually, they’ll make a status about how much life sucks and that we’re all gonna die eventually.
To true friends, you are an extension of themselves. They have invested so much in you over the years that they are feel your joy as much as you do.
Toxic friends, however, can’t believe you’ve just done something they couldn’t do. They didn’t want you to outgrow them. And now you have, they’re going to mope about it.
Alone Time: True Friends Respect It, Toxic Ones Invade It
You want some time alone this weekend. You’ve got a few TV shows to catch up on and you’d really like to just chill by yourself, away from everyone.
A true friend understands this and gives you your space. They don’t call, text or Facebook you. They maintain a cool distance.
A toxic friend, however, comes a-calling. They’ve got an assignment due and they need YOU to help them with it.
“It’s your field!” they cry. “You know math, you gotta help me!”
After all, you’re only watching stupid TV shows, right? Surely your friends matter more!!
Chatting: Real Friends Call ‘Just Because’, Toxic Friends Call You When They Need Something
“Hey! Just thought I’d call to see how you’re doing.”
This is the hallmark of a true friend. They call you just because they want to talk to you. They miss you and want to hear your voice.
A toxic friend, however, doesn’t care for any of that sentimental gush. They’re noticeably absent most of the time, but whenever they’ve got a problem they know you can fix, they’re practically at your door.
True friends are there for you whenever you need them. They’re available on tap. Toxic friends just pop up now and then.
Your Other Friends: True Friends Recognise The Value Of Other Friendships, Toxic Friends Don’t Like Anyone Else You Hang Out With
You’ve got other friends beside your true and toxic friends. But while true friends understand that they’re not at the centre of your Universe, toxic friends get jealous. They want you all to themselves so that you’re available whenever they need you, and they don’t like the thought of you hanging out with anyone else.
There can be a few reasons for this. One of them is that toxic people don’t like to see others doing well for themselves. If a toxic friend sees that your new friends are encouraging you to take your life onto another level away from them, they’ll make rude comments about how your new friends just aren’t right you.
They might say things like “you’re changing” in a bid to undermine you and keep you the way you’ve always been. Change and new people scare them. Rather than encourage you to meet new people, they want you all for themselves.
YOU: True Friends Accept You And Your Quirks, Toxic Friends Are Determined To Change You
Let’s say you used to be the life and soul of the party, but these days you no longer drink alcohol.
Not only are you teetotal, but you’re also now a vegetarian.
A true friend might be surprised by your change in direction, but they’ll support you 100%. They’ll even help you to make any changes you’re looking to make.
Toxic friends, however, won’t be able to grasp your changes, especially if it affects them. For example, if you’re no longer their drinking buddy or they think you’re changing for all the wrong reasons, they’ll try to convince you that you’re making the wrong decision.
For them, it’s not even about you and your happiness. It’s about them and their happiness. If your changes means you’re not the same person to them anymore, they’ll let you know.
“What do you mean YOU want to be happy? What about ME?” they’ll ask.
Empathy: True Friends Offer It, Toxic Ones Don’t
We need our friends to have some empathy towards us. We need their support and understanding. Friends are meant to be there for us, and we should be able to open up to them.
True friends show us empathy. They attempt to see things from our point of view, and they show you that they care about us and our welfare.
Toxic friends, however, would rather hurt you than show some understanding. Instead of caring that you feel depressed or anxious, they’ll likely either dismiss your feelings or totally ignore them. Only THEY are allowed to feel like this.