How To Deal With Toxic Relationships
The Toxic Friend
Scientific Name: Toxicus Gossipicus
Symptoms: Thinks it’s possible for you to be disowned by your parents every other week; believes your friendship is a soap opera filled with drama, betrayal, intrigue, and scandal and that she is the primary scriptwriter; according to her, she’s the heroine, you’re the plucky sidekick; when she’s down, she brings you down, and when you’re down, she’ll bring you lower.
Causes: Again, the Toxic Friend is acting on her insecurities. She may be jealous of your good grades and ability to reach out to other people. To make herself feel superior, she talks about the things she doesn’t like about you, and even goes so far as to stretch the truth a little to make other people dislike you.
Treatment: Instead of starting a catfight, get your facts straight. Make sure you find out from a reliable source what she’s been saying about you. Ask her why she said the things she did. Don’t be rash and end the friendship without getting her side first. Have a heart-to-heart. Tell her what she said that hurt you and ask that next time, she tell you to your face instead of texting half your school’s population.
Don’t believe everything she says about you. Listen to what she has to say, but filter what you know to be true from what you know to be false. Don’t take everything she says as the absolute truth. If she calls you selfish and you know you’re always eager to share, tell her so: “I always lend you my cellphone every time you run out of credit.”
You deserve more than a relationship that makes you feel suffocated or insignificant. While you should always make the effort to be sensitive to other people and their needs, you should also learn to strike a balance with your own needs. Take time to reflect on the kind of person you are to make sure that you yourself don’t turn into a toxic friend, classmate, or girlfriend. Lastly, take note of the golden rule: Do unto others what you want done unto you. Remember that “All mankind is of one author…” and we are all more alike than we think.