Hello guys !
You know what a new Life Talk post means right? It means that I had something happen lately that made me take a step back and reflect on life for a bit. Don’t worry, nothing personal, just things that have been happening in the world, thing I have been hearing, etc… But what really sparked this discussion topic and made me go “That’s it! Now is the time to discuss this.” is reading YOU’RE WELCOME UNIVERSE by Whitney Gardner. The book puts emphasize on friendship and shows a comparison between what a healthy and a toxic friendship is and that kind of made me look at all the friendship I had in my 20 years and I honestly feel good where I’m at right now. So I’m sharing my wisdom (ish)
I’m a pretty social person which means that I know and hang out with a lot of people but I only consider a handful my friends, the rest are more like… acquaintances. I know them, enjoy their company, spend fun times with them but wouldn’t trust them with personal things. That being said, I haven’t always been that way. I was a very naïve girl when it came to trusting and opening up to people and I even considered myself lucky whenever someone wanted to be my friend which means that I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak and disappointment. The upside to that is that now I have killer instincts when it comes to people bullshiting me to their benefit or people having a negative impact on my life in general.
All of this being said, let’s jump in:
They’re nowhere to be seen when you need them.
You’ve had a rough day? You need help? You need someone to just listen to you? Well, they’re conveniently busy, have problems of their own that they don’t fail to remind you of or some varient of that. Sometimes, they’d even pretend to be there for you but by the end of the conversation you’d realize that the focus of it shifted to them without you even realizing it. Yeah, I’d hate to break it to you -no, not really- but that’s not good.
They’re always expecting you to listen to them
Yeah, ironically, they expect of you the very thing they don’t give you. Time. They’re self-centered and they not only expect but demand of you that you hear them out. They probably even manipulate you with “You’re my friend”, “That’s what friends are suppose to do”, “I thought I could count on you” or anything that would make you feel guilty for not being the “worthy” friend they “deserve”. Listen closely, because I know it’s hard to recognize this behavior, especially when it’s someone you love but ask yourself whether this person returns all they’re asking for. If your answer is no, it’s time to make some changes.
They think their bigotry is an opinion
This is more of something I recently started paying attention to, especially while being more involved in the book twitter community. Some people would say really offensive maybe even racist, ableist, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic… things and expect you to respect that because it’s their “opinion” and they’ll make you think that you’re the one in fault here because you are not respecting it. Here’s the thing, that’s not an opinion. Blue is my favorite color is an opinion. I like sushis is an opinion. Hating on a religion, an ethnicity, a sexuality is not. That’s bigotry and you don’t have to put up with it. Actually, you have to stay as far away from it as you can.
They have a negative outlook on things
There are some people who have a hard time after bad experiences, because of mental health issues and so on. People who can’t help it and those are not the people I’m talking about here. I mean here the one that are quick to judge, fast to trash talk, don’t give anyone the benefit of the doubt. The way to recognize this kind of behavior is essentially by the way you’re feeling when hanging out with these people, they’re often criticizing you -not the constructive, healthy kind- making you feel bad about who you are, what you say, what you do, they’re never happy for your small and big victories and so on and so forth. Listen to what your body is telling you, if having them around stresses you out and leaves you feeling drained and unhappy, it’s time to cut your loses.
You’re always doing things THEY want to do
You know, when you want to have Italian for lunch but they impose thai. Or if you want to go on a weekend getaway to a wood cabin and they take you to the beach because “they know better”. They’re generally all small things that accumulate overtime so that you find yourself never enjoying yourself, never doing what you actually want to do. This may seem like nothing but looking at the bigger picture, why do you have to be the one to always sacrifice? Once in a while is okay, but all the damn time? You deserve better. You know it. I know it. The neighbor’s dog knows it. So, act on it.
I won’t make this one as long, because it is basically the opposite of what’s above. But I’ll cover some basis anyway.
Your relationship is about reciprocity
You don’t have to do all the work just like they don’t do it all. You find a middle ground that work for the both of you. Today is a beach day and you’re having thai food for lunch while next weekend you’re booking a cabin and getting italian food. Your friendship is based on love, trust, respect (!!!) and understanding. In the long run, only relationship that have solid basis can last. Relationships where you are not scared of being judged, talked over or disrespected. Because they uplift you and you do the same.
They’re open to change
I’m not saying that you should strive to change your friends because you shouldn’t, you should love and accept them for what they are. But. But let’s have as an example a friend who has some internalized biases, maybe racism. You shouldn’t be scared to call them out on it and they shouldn’t be offended by it, because at the end of the day you only want them to be the best version of themselves they can be. They work on it and improve themselves. And you do too. As I said, reciprocity.
They boost and motivate you
We all have those days when waking up in the morning is just hard, those days when things get overwhelming, goals seem unachievable some people can make that worse but your friends should help ease it. Even if they’re just words, sometimes the right ones can go a long way. I am not saying that they are a miraculous remedy to the storms that may be taking over your brain, I’m just saying that when you are at your lowest you can’t have people around you who make it worse for you.
I think I am done. This was my two cents on how to choose your entourage. Toxic friendships/ relationships in general are more common that we think which makes it hard to recognize them sometimes, because some bad behaviors are just normalized and “It’s okay” is overused. Well I’m telling you that you don’t have to settle for any less than you deserve, and you deserve better than people who stick with you whenever they can get something out of it and disappear once that’s done.
And I know that letting go can seem hard but it’s not. It’s worse for you and your health to be living in a toxic environment and trust me, you’ll feel better after you cleanse your life from the people that don’t belong in it and don’t bring any positivity to it. Once you start it becomes easier. It only takes that first step. Do it.
That’s it until next time.
Did you ever have to deal with this type of relationship? Was it easy for you to recognize them?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.