From the backstabbing co-worker to the meddling sister-in-law, you are in charge of how you react to the people and events in your life. You can either give negativity power over your life or you can choose happiness instead. Take control and choose to focus on what is important in your life. Those who cannot live fully often become destroyers of life. ~Anais Nin
A toxic relationship is any relationship that is unfavorable to you or others. The foundations of any relationship, healthy or not, are most commonly established upon mutual admiration and respect, but can, in time, become remarkably unhealthy. It is the poisonous atmosphere that distinguishes a merely bad or troublesome relationship from a toxic relationship. Toxic relationships can prevent those involved from living a productive and healthy life.
Toxic relationships can be caused by two polar opposite personality types. The toxicity is caused by the incompatibility of the persons involved in the relationship. In some cases, there is no one necessarily to blame for the toxicity; instead, the toxicity is caused by the inability to connect and establish healthy boundaries, conversations, and communication.
Not all toxic relationships are caused by two unhealthy people. In some cases, unhealthy individuals target and prey upon others for their own personal needs and gratification. It is a slanted desire for a relationship. The individual who is preying is seeking to emotionally and psychologically drain others, removing whatever is possible for their own greedy benefits. Those mentioned have a manipulative style, and will frequently finesse their way into any relationship that they sense is beneficial.
People who are toxic are rarely aware of their own toxicity. They are too self-absorbed and preoccupied with their own emotions, interests, needs, and goals to be aware of the needs, goals, interests, and emotions of others.
Making friends is tough. It takes time, trust, and a little bit of luck (who knew that the girl you sat next to on your first day of university would still be your best-friend, all these years later?), but the right friend can be life-changing.
Philosopher and author Alain de Botton shares six ways you can tell your friendship is the real deal.
1. They trust you
True friendship is about trusting one another. While acquaintances or work colleagues may hide their shortcomings from you, a friend confides in you.
A friend gives you the gift of vulnerability, which allows you to be vulnerable in return.
2. They like you for the real you
Whatever your thing is, a true friend likes you not despite it—but because that’s what makes you, you.
“They’re not judgemental – they don’t come down harshly and critically on our weaknesses,” de Botton says.
3. They allow space for your freak-outs
When you get flustered, frustrated and can’t keep it together, a friend is there for you.
“They don’t just flatter; they understand how easily we lose perspective, panic and underestimate our own ability to cope,” de Botton explains.
4. They’re a beacon during moments when you lose your way
On days or weeks when you’re not sure about anything in your life, the right friend listens.
You might not able to make sense of yourself, but your friend knows who you are and is there to support you.
5. They remind you what you’re capable of
Sometimes, your self-confidence crashes. You may doubt your ability to run the marathon you’ve been training for; or you may feel you’ll never get that job promotion, and don’t even want to apply.
When that happens, a friend is there with the tough love and support to push you to do what they know you’re capable of.
“They see the potential in what we’re saying, when we can’t,” de Botton says.
6. They believe in you
The truth is, we’re often not very good friends to ourselves: we focus on our flaws, beat ourselves up for our mistakes, and grow anxious that we aren’t doing enough with our lives.
Our friends trust us, like us, comfort us, understand us, and strengthen us, even—and especially—when we can’t do any of those things for ourselves. It is their belief in us that keeps us going, even when they aren’t right there to comfort us.
“They continue to inhabit our brain, even when we haven’t been in touch for a while, or when they are far away,” de Btton says. “They are always with us.”