You have truly, great friends and then a few so-called friends. What defines a friend?

A friend is someone who is there when you need a shoulder to lean on or to talk – someone to have fun with and a person who you would do it all in return for. A friend should cause you happiness and always be the positivity in your relationship. This friend is healthy for you and you are in return for your friend.

A so-called friend uses you for their own personal gain, but wouldn’t be there for you when it’s truly needed. You may want to confide in this friend and hope help can be provided but it never quite works out this way. It ends badly and feelings are hurt and emotions are raging,

Then there is the toxic friend or toxic relationship that you may unknowingly have. This toxic friend may have good intentions but doesn’t make the right choices to benefit either one of you. The person may not even realize the toxic nature that is in the relationship. This looks like one friend’s inability to help the other while making the situation worse. It’s two people feeding off of each other’s negativity or hardships.

So, are you toxic; do you have a toxic friend or are you in a toxic relationship?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does this person make you feel worse than you already feel?
  2. Do you have negative emotions after trying to help or receiving help from this friend?
  3. Is this person benefiting you and your health in any way?
  4. Is this friendship healthy always?
  5. Are you comfortable with the decisions made with this friend?
  6. Do you feel satisfied after contributing to the relationship?
  7. Do you feel calm and happy after an interaction with this person?

Depending on your answers, you may be contributing to a toxic relationship.

Anyone can be toxic. A friend, relative, coach, enemy (even yourself) can have negative effects on a relationship. It’s important to be able to realize and take control of the situation. The worst thing you can do is maintain the toxicity. Once you realize that you are associated with it, you must figure out what can be done. Determine if this person can be removed from your inner circle and how to do that purposefully.

You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings in the explanation of separation. It is important to be factual and honest. Explain what is negative about the relationship and the harboured feelings that you feel. Provide reasons for why the unhealthy nature and continued decline in happiness don’t benefit either one of you.

Always leave room for future possibilities of friendship if you both work on the issues at hand. Therapy can improve mental state and can teach one how to deal appropriately with the toxicity. Offer advice and understand that it’s no one’s fault.

Taking the first step to making a relationship stronger is to be truthful about what each of you brings to it. What aspects need to be fixed? Who can you reach out to for help if not one another? How do you each become stronger and non-toxic?

Take some time away to figure it out.

Sometimes the one that hurts us the most is a relative, even a very close one. In this scenario, you have to decide what is the best decision to benefit your future. The present can seem impossible to look past but it quickly becomes a memory. Time does heal wounded emotions and making the right decision is crucial. Don’t stay in a relationship with anyone if it doesn’t benefit you both. In the long run, it’s not worth it.

Figure out who you can confide in that can help you remove yourself from a toxic family dynamic. With time and healing from a positive resource, you can improve your quality of life without this person. It won’t be easy but it will be the right thing to do if you are toxic for each other.

No matter who is toxic, educate yourself about how toxicity has such a large, negative impact on health and growth. Do some soul searching and make a list of the pros and cons of the relationship. Make the best choice for your future self and do it because you deserve happiness.

Control what you can and know that making the healthy choice shouldn’t feel wrong. It should feel cleansing and amazing. You both deserve a toxic-free life.

Remember to reach out for help and advice. There is always someone to give it. Just find out who that person is and that’s the relationship you truly want to have.

Put the time and effort into that instead of fighting the toxic.

Article written by Stacy Ingersoll