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How to Handle a Toxic Friend

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Despite how hard we might work to keep the circle of friends around us healthy, every now and again we realize we have to deal with a friend that is toxic. A toxic friend is one who drains your energy quickly, often leaving you feeling restless or anxious after you’ve been with them.

Sometimes we don’t notice this is the reason we feel exhausted. It could be a complete mystery. Here are ways toxic relationships drain us, and what we can do to avoid them and keep ourselves in a strong, healthy place:

They Play the Victim

If you’re spending time with someone that blames everyone else for what is going wrong in his or her life, you’ve got a victim on your hands. This can be tough, especially if you’re the kind of person that is aware or “awake.”

Those of us that are aware or awake recognize that life doesn’t happen to us. We have learned to find gratitude in all that we have, even when what we have are hard lessons. But not everyone sees the world this way.

How to Handle It: Create boundaries. I have a friend that has to tell her sister every now and again, “I’m happy to work through this with you, but not by going backwards. Let’s focus on a solution that moves you forward.”

This boundary keeps her safe and away from being drained. There is nothing wrong with setting boundaries. Some people may not like it, but: it’s not your job to live by their rules, it’s your job to live by yours. Click To Tweet

They Don’t Seek Solution

Speaking of solution…

When we hurt inside, venting it or sharing our pain with others is normal. As a matter of fact, it’s healthy to let it out. You’re not a victim if you do this. You’re only a victim if you stay in the vent and refuse to look for a solution.

We live in a polar universe, which means where there is a problem there is always a solution. If you have a friend that would rather live in the problem, you’ve got a problem yourself if you don’t step away.

How to Handle It: Remember my friend and her sister? When her sister is stuck in a victim mentality, my friend gently reminds her that seeking solution is the only way out of her pain. Tell your friend this. And work together to seek a solution.

Sometimes our friends don’t want to seek a solution. They want to stay in their pain because that is all they know. Tell them:

“I’m here for you. I always will be. But we’ve hashed out what hurts. Let’s focus now on moving forward and getting you to a place of feeling good again.”

They Criticize

Every single one of us is different. We have different belief systems and handle things in different ways. If you have a friend that is critical of how others live, staying present in that kind of situation can drain you fast.

If you know someone like this, they’re struggling with loving themselves. So not only is being in their presence toxic to you, it’s toxic to them as well.

How to Handle It: When they’re critical of you, themselves, or someone else, counter the critique with positivity.

“Perhaps it’s not what you believe, but it’s what they believe, and that’s okay.”

When you counter negativity with positivity, you break up the negative energy. If they continue to stay in that negative place, however, you need to remove yourself. Spend less time with them. We can still love people from a distance and we can still offer them hope. But we need to take care of ourselves, too.

In the end, every word you say and every move you make is a lesson for your friend. The greatest gift we can give anyone is the gift of love and compassion. Angry, toxic people may never see the lessons, Not in this lifetime. But continue to teach anyway. You never know who else might be listening.

 

Joleene Moody is a PositivityGuides writer and Robbins-Madanes interventionist, specializing in offering information that helps readers shift their mindset quickly in order to improve their lives.

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