by Scarlett Sykes
For the most part we seem to find it very easy to see when a job is not right for us or maybe the signs show early on in a relationship that it is not the one for us but for some unknown reason we seem to struggle with this when it comes to friendships - letting potentially toxic bonds carry on far longer than they should but how can you really know if your friend is an emotional vampire..
As females we are much more likely to continue to try to make a friendship work even if we have that niggly feeling that it might not be right. Men are seemingly much better are seeing it quickly and disconnecting themselves, often without any major fall out (Seriously, how do they do that?). As women we are more emotionally involved when it comes to making those all-important ‘BFF’s’ and therefore struggle to cut people out, even if it's the best thing to do.
Have you ever looked at a friendship and thought ‘how does this really make me feel?’ ‘Do I feel positive when I am with them and happy when I think back to our last meeting?’ – if the answer is no then it might be time to address what the friendship really means to you. It is entirely normal to think that maybe they can change, maybe they were just having a bad day but if you are left feeling empty or low then this is not what a friendship should be fulfilling in your life. Believe me, we have all been there.
It can often feel easier to just keep it going, especially if they are part of a wider circle of friends or someone you see often, but studies have shown that having a friend that makes you anxious or has a negative effect on your overall feeling can actually have a negative effect on your health. So, how do you know if it is actually a ‘toxic’ and draining friendship that needs to be addressed…before you stop answering their calls and refuse to see them ever again…
Here are a few things to ask yourself..
- Do you look forward to seeing them and respect their advice when you ask for some?
- When you are with them do you feel it's a mutual share of emotions – you listen to them, they listen to you?
- Do they talk down to you or make comments that make you feel bad about yourself?
- Do you ever try to avoid seeing them, even though they are meant to be your ‘friend’?
- Do people tell you that they aren't sure the friendship is the best thing for you?
- What does your gut say? It is usually the first sign to look for when something isn't right.
So, should you never answer their calls again and run for the hills when you see them?
No, unfortunately not, unless you plan or changing your friendship circle all together or moving countries (which is a little on the extreme side), the best way to reduce the feeling you get when you are with them is to do just that – reduce it. It isn’t as simple as just never talking to them again, in many cases that can actually make you feel worse and the anxiety of avoiding them seems stressful in itself. Instead of that just make the friendship work on your term.
See them a little less, make sure that when you do see them that you are with other people who do make you feel good and positive, and maybe next time you need some advice you head for one of those ‘good egg’ people, rather than the one best fed garlic…