Dealing with Toxic Friends

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There are friends who support you through thick and thin, and then there are ‘friends’ who bring nothing but negativity into your life. They’re always demanding something from you but give nothing positive back in return. They strip away your self-worth, and you feel as if you’re perpetually walking around with an emotional weight chained to your ankle. Sounds familiar? Then you’ve got at least one ‘toxic’ friend in your circle. Dr Yeo Pei Li, licensed professional counsellor at Rekindle Centre, shares how to zero in on toxic friends and break up with them.

 Identifying them

“As long as you are in contact with people, you will be at risk of encountering those who are ‘toxic’,” Pei Li reveals. The good news is, there are always tell-tale signs that the relationship is doing more damage than good.

  1. You feel taken advantage of

Your friend continuously preys on your kindness and wheedles favour after favour from you. Perhaps you always have to pay for her when you meet up, or you’ve turned into her personal driver.

  1. She invades your personal space or privacy

Everything is about her and never about you. She rummages through your things and borrows them without your permisison, even though you’ve told her not to. Worst yet, she demands your attention 24/7 and if you don’t put up with it, then you’re the ‘bad’ friend.

  1. You don’t feel comfortable around her

You’re unable to enjoy good moments with her, as it seems like you are faced a with new challenge daily and it’s sucking up your energy. It’s almost as if she’s holding you hostage and attempting to control your behaviour or happiness.

  1. You’re not being respected

You are unable to have two-sided conversations with her, because your thoughts and ideas get brushed aside as soon they’re spoken. Instead of acknowledging your thoughts and feelings, she argues with you until she gets the last say. You just can’t do anything right, and you’re always left feeling unworthy and useless. In fact, you have to put on a mask just to be accepted by her.

  1. She tries to compete with you

Whenever you aim to grow and improve yourself, she responds with mockery and disbelief. There is no encouragement or support for your efforts. Instead, she tries to keep you stuck in old judgments, insisting that you will never be any different than you are now.

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