Friendships have a direct impact on your mental wellness. How so? Good friends help you increase your happiness, feel connected, alleviate stress, help you cope through trauma, and so much more. One could say that friendships play a vital role in your overall health. They can even help you live longer in life. According to recent studies, adults with a healthy support system and rich social life had fewer medical illnesses and a reduced risk of death than adults who had no active social life and healthy friendships.
Relationships with friends should be healthy for these statistics to apply because a toxic friendship will not help improve your health; it will have a reverse effect. A study conducted by researchers at UCLA found that adults who had harmful social experiences had high pro-inflammatory proteins. The increased levels of proteins can lead to medical developments such as heart disease, depression, diabetes, and even cancer.
How do you know if you have a toxic friend?
Your stress rises when they are around, and there are a ton of red flags associated with toxic behavior. A bad friend is not going to be considerate or care about your feelings. Look for the signs below.
1. They pressure you.
Your friends should never pressure you in any situation to do anything that you are not ready for or do not want to do. A bad friend will pressure you in many risky behaviors and won’t respect your boundaries. You might be left feeling disrespected or uncared for, and the truth is your friend is just inconsiderate and selfish.
2. They love drama.
It doesn’t matter what the situation is, and there’s always drama wherever they go. Whether they are arguing with someone or causing chaos, it is never healthy to encourage them. If you feel uncomfortable, then stand up and leave. The drama will likely continue to thrive with this person because they live for inciting it and seek attention which is highly unhealthy.
3. They never apologize.
Part of being a good friend is apologizing when we make mistakes and letting our friends know we value and respect them. A lousy friend rarely apologizes, and if they do, they will likely make you feel guilty for it. The best you will get from them is a cheeky “sorry.”
4. They yearn for gossip.
When you confide in a friend, you expect them to keep it confidential, but a lousy friend will spread that conversation like wildfire, and before you know it, everyone in your circle is aware of what was said. They depend on gossip as people depend on clean air. Keep a close watch on who they talk badly about because it’s likely that they will talk bad about you too if they talk about other friends in your circle.
“People gossip. People are insecure, so they talk about other people so that they won’t be talked about. They point out flaws in other people to make them feel good about themselves.” - Blake Lively
5. They are jealous.
Jealousy will come into play if your friend feels insecure about your friendships with others. They will likely get upset when they think they must share you with others as if you are some piece of property. They will often try to become the roadblock between you and other friends. They will always want you to drop anything you are doing for them.
6. They constantly put you down.
This is by far probably one of the worst things a ‘friend’ can do. No matter what you are accomplishing, wearing, or eating, they will throw in a snarky comment that will hurt your feelings. A bad friend will likely never compliment you or hype you up when it is needed. They might even get jealous when your other friends praise you. You probably don’t feel happy when they are around and might even feel the negative impact on your energy.
Whether your circle of friends is small or large, someone has likely exhibited these signs. Whatever you do, do not sink to their level when you decide to remove them from your life. It is essential to remain graceful and with dignity when you communicate your observations with them. They could likely not realize how toxic they have been, and talking to them about it might change their behaviors and make them better friends.
Also, be sure to look in the mirror and be sure that you have not been the toxic person in your friendships. If you are the person from above, make sure you apologize and take time to learn how to become a better friend.
If you know you have good friends who have not shown any of the red flags above, be sure to let them know how thankful you are for them because finding a good friend is a beautiful discovery in this crazy adventure through life.