Friends are great for support and having someone to trust. But what if your friendship feels like a source of stress in your life? You might be in a toxic friendship. They can have negative impacts on your health as well as your social life.
Bad peer pressure: Toxic friendships can make you pressured into participating in activities that you’re not comfortable or ready for yet. You feel influenced by your peers for example to have a drink when you’ve said you’re not sure about under-age drinking. They say it won’t hurt to have one, then another, then another. Next thing you know you’re drunk and susceptible to other risk behaviours such as rape, unprotected sex that can put you to further harm for STI’s or even HIV.
Bullying disguised as light teasing: Light teasing you can find in most friendships but when it goes too far and you feel constantly put down by the other person is another warning sign. Bullying can typically appear in these one-sided friendships where one person is putting everything into the friendship and the other doesn’t respect it as much.
Breaking trust: One of the best parts of friendship is having someone you trust enough to tell your secrets or personal challenges to and knowing they won’t share it. If there’s no trust, there’s no friendship. So if they’re talking about you behind your back, you need to consider how much of a ‘friend’ this person is to you.
Effects of toxic friendships
Toxic friendships have been shown to actually increase stress and put you at risk of diseases such as diabetes! They can affect your mental health, cause anxiety and depression, both of which are negative effects of toxic friendships. They can also push you towards negative behaviours such as substance abuse which particularly at a young age can significantly harm your development.
Dealing with toxic friendships
Despite the impacts toxic friendships can have, many find it hard to remove themselves from them. You can often feel trapped in these friendships.
Cutting these people out of your life is often the best option for you. Understanding however that this is a process, and this can take some time.
Blocking them on social media is also a good way to remove them from the digital space in your life, without their instagram feed serving as a constant reminder.
Some people may feel however that a break is all they need instead of fully removing them from their life.
Reconciliation is possible but only if you feel that the person has grown and understood the negative effects they had on the friendship.
~ To more truthful and soulful friendships ~
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