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Are Your Friendships Toxic? 5 Ways To Tell…

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Friendships that aren’t serving you (and possibly never did serve you) can be more damaging than not having the friendship at all. Sometimes we’re friends with people for a variety of reasons — proximity, childhood, convenience…and there are times when you may know that you’ve outgrown each other yet you still try to maintain the friendship. 

If you’re wondering if your friendship is toxic, chances are, it might be. As we grow and evolve in life, so too, should our friendships. When you’re putting time into working on yourself, it’s important to surround yourself with others who are part of your growth and inspire you to be the very best version of yourself. As the saying goes: “you’re only good as the company you keep” — we couldn’t agree more! Below are 5 ways to tell if your friendship may be destructive to your well-being. XO, Nina

1. Their needs are the focus of the friendship:

Do you make time for each other’s obligations? If you’re always scheduling around their work, vacation or parenting commitments without any consideration for your own schedule, it might mean your friendship is out of balance. A last minute opportunity arises for them and they need a dog sitter…do they invite you to come along, or show up at your doorstep with a leash and dog food because they know you “love dogs” and always help them out? 

2. You feel guilty for spending time with other people:  

It’s nice to have different friends for different reasons. If you have hobbies outside the friendship that don’t interest the other person, by all means, you should make time for them. If going on a hike with your girlfriend, who loves the outdoors as much as you, results in a phone call of irritation from a friend who “can see you have better things to do than spend time with them,” it might be a sign you need some time apart. 

3. They dismiss your values: 

Do you head to bed early because you like waking up early and feeling prepared for work? Are you saving for a vacation and making the decision to skip a few happy hours so you can set aside some extra cash? Regardless whether the situation is temporary or ongoing, friends who support the principles you adhere to (without judgment!), will help you reach your goals in life.

4. You feel physically drained:  

Pay attention to how you feel when a friend’s name pops up on your phone. Before, during and after spending time with this person, are you anxious and edgy, or relaxed and excited? Our bodies are a huge indicator of what’s going right, and what’s going wrong. Take the time to tune into yourself and really listen to what it’s telling you. 

5. They’re not “for” you: 

Sharing in a friend’s joy is one of the greatest feelings of secondhand pleasure. When you think of your friendship, is this person always rooting for you and ready to toast when something great happens? Equally as important, are they there for you when you don’t get the promotion or you’re having a tough time with an aging parent? Think of a friendship as a team – you want players on your team who are there to uplift and celebrate the wins, while empathizing and crying whenever there’s a loss. 

A great gut check for toxic friendships is to ask yourself the same questions posed above. What role do you play in the relationship, and how can you improve? For tips on how to maintain friendships at different stages of life, check out this post.

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