How to identify a toxic friendship?
In our lives, we are surrounded by friends that support us emotionally and socially through our bad days and good days. Having large social connections full of friends circles help us be more stable, satisfied, and happy. However, there are types of friends that turn out to be downright toxic. They seem to provide the exact opposite of what we expect from them. Toxic friendships negatively influence the daily mood by bringing us down and draining our energy. Therefore, since they are so close to you, it is crucial for your mental health that you know how to spot a toxic friendship.
In case you’re wondering how to recognize such a toxic friendship? Here are 4 signs to look out for:
Gossip about your secrets
It is normal to chat daily with your friends about your recent updates, and these include your deepest secrets. But what seems to be abnormal is finding out the following day that everyone in your school, work, or space no matter what it is knows about your life stories. That would mean one thing, that your friends or that one friend are a big red flag. Not keeping your secrets or even chatting behind your back are signs that they are not even worth your trust. Therefore, taking steps back and staying away from these types of toxic friends are what is needed.
Toxic friendship of comparison
In friendships, it is important to be accepting other people’s flaws and mistakes, rather than judging them. When a friend starts measuring and comparing your achievements, lifestyle, personality traits, or anything else to others, there must be something wrong. People have their own differences, and these include traits, mindsets, goals, etc. By showing that you are less than their friend, or by bringing out the worst in you, that friend is definitely holding you back, and thus, a toxic element in your life that needs to get rid of.
Toxic friendship benefits from you
Friends are known for being a big support and a backbone for one another. It is expected to stand together against anything and everything. During college, you have that one friend that always asks for lecture notes, the answers to certain questions, or an assignment, and you just offer your help without second guessing because that is somehow normal. But when that same friend starts to do the same with every subject, every time and it seems to be exhausting, then you need to take care and stay away from that friend. In a nutshell, that friend is using you for their own benefit under the name of friendship. Taking advantage of you is such a disrespectful act and you don’t need that in your life.
Take away your beliefs
By speaking of support, friends are expected to support you and your goals, opinions, and most importantly, your beliefs. A good friend would encourage you to do the right things religiously, such as supporting you to fulfill your daily prayers, praying for you, asking to do sadaqah together, etc. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) once said, “Man is influenced by the faith of his friends. Therefore, be careful of whom you befriend.” Therefore, it is a responsibility to choose your friends since they exercise a huge influence on your life. If your friend starts to make you feel discouraged to do your daily prayers or makes you feel guilty for being religious and take you away from Islam in general then cut off that friend as soon as possible. This isn’t the type of friend that you need to keep around.
(Written by freelancer Yara Lotfy)