3 Types of Toxic Friends

Wednesday, 17 April 2013
NaturalHistory2

I remember reading somewhere that for women, breaking up with a girlfriend is a demise apparently worse than a divorce. I don't know how true that is but what I do know is that it's a remarkably painful and long drawn process.

Lately, I've been thinking.....we cull our closets every now and then to discard clothes that no longer fit us or discover ones that you've forgotten but why don't we do the same with friends? It sounds rather cold and perhaps, harsh but why do we keep the ones that suck the very life out of us yet we spend little time with genuine friends? I'm generalizing here when I've divvied up unsuitable friendships into 3 categories even though there are too many to count.


1. The Victim
Though we've all gone through phases where we moaned, complained and whinged, the victim  is permanently stuck here and never moves on. The worst thing is, she verbally vomits on you and merrily goes on her way while you have to deal with the repercussions of her negativity. She thrives on drama (in fact, she should live permanently in a soap opera), fervently believes that she has been wronged and blames everyone for her misfortune yet takes no responsibility for it.

A close friend once gave me a much needed kick in the rear end and told me to shut up and stop feeling sorry for myself. And I did. These days, I try to instill in myself a sense of gratitude instead of entitlement because for every setback that I experience, there's someone else out there who's worse off than I.


2. The Taker
The taker or otherwise known as the helpless damsel in distress. They take advantage of your hospitality, kindness and generosity. All. The. Time. They pillage, plunder and loot from their friends, giving nothing back but lip service. Don't be fooled by the friendly facade for that's a camouflage. Don't expect your benevolence to be reciprocated in times of trouble unless the planets have aligned itself in perfect symmetry and the odds are in their favor.


3. The Frenemy
Is she a friend or an enemy? Well, both. Unfortunately, your lives are kind of intertwined which makes it even harder to extricate yourself from her. She's fooled you into thinking that she's your best friend but turn your back and you're likely to find a few daggers embedded into your spinal column. You go through elation (she's THE best friend anyone could ask for. EVER) to confusion (why did she do that to me? Why? Why?!!) to guilt (she's the master of emotional manipulation) to anger (how could she?!).


All three - the victim, the taker and the frenemy are products of the Generation I also known as  Me, myself and I. What they've done is provided me with several important life lessons which are
1) don't take people for granted for they're not stupid and will eventually avoid you like the plague
2) invest in the ones you love and you will reap what you sow - with compounding interest ( (love grows exponentially) 
3) count your blessings for there are many

Do you similar unhealthy friends?

31 comments:

  1. I don't think you're harsh at all. I'm a great believer in Spring cleaning ... and have done a few clean sweeps in my time, to rid myself of 'toxic friends' Life is too short and for many, difficult enough, without being cluttered up with such 'friendships' Now I sound harsh, don't I??

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  2. I had a friend from category #1. I felt bad at first for feeling annoyed at him but after a while I realised other friends in the same circle felt the same way about him! We are no longer in frequent contact. It didn't seem like he wanted help and support for his problems - he just seemed determined to prove that he has it worse than any of us.

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  3. For much of my life, I had a blanket rule that once I made a friend, I would never of my own accord end the friendship. As an introvert, I choose my friends fairly selectively, and am typically very loyal to them. Sure, sometimes friendships would do the "slow dissolve", but this would occur naturally and be of mutual accord.
    In my 30s, I started to realize that some friendships just weren't worth my time. The main culprit: "frenemies" who considered every encounter a chance for competition and oneupsmanship. I can put up with a lot from my friends (and they do the same for me, I'm sure!), but someone who mainly views me as a tool against which to measure their own ego...zero tolerance. These are the only friendships (rare, thank goodness!) which I have chosen to actively end.
    Olivia

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    1. Olivia, I couldn't agree more. I struggle to understand this oneupmanship behavior which I've been subjected to as well. It stems from insecurity.

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  4. I think we probably all have some forms of these 3 types toxic friends in our lives. I've also experienced some who are just downright mental. I've learned that they are definitely lessons and thankfully have drifted away from most of them.

    Rowena @ rolala loves

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  5. I had my fair share of these kind of friends.. acquaintances are best.

    GREETINGS FROM DUBAI
    MRS JACK OF ALL TRADES
    http://mrsjackofalltradesdaily.blogspot.ae/

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  6. Hmmm. I'm pretty sure I have a fremeny. And I'm one back too. >.<

    7% Solution​


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  7. You summed it up very well. I've found the older I get the less time and energy I waste on 'toxic' friends - note I said less - some people I know deep down, underneath, they are really not that bad - or maybe I'm still a sucker for loyalty;)

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  8. Ow, unfortunately I had to deal with a few of the above-mentioned toxic friends and I broke up with each and every one of these toxic friends. It's hard, it's painful, but if I cannot trust a friend and if she sucks all the energy out of me, why would I want to stay friends with someone like that? I'd rather spend my precious time with someone who is a true friend. It's always sad to lose a 'friend', but why should we only break up with boyfriends and not girlfriends, right?

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  9. I remember having to deal with a frenemy a few years ago and the cycle you describe is very true. I realized I needed to cut her off of my life when I landed in the hospital: when I told her where I was over the phone, she didn't ask how I was doing but was only interested in talking about herself and her new job (I was unemployed at the time). When I got back home I emailed her to say why I was disappointed in her behavior, and funnily enough I never ever heard from her again, not even an apology or to say it was a misunderstanding. My parents told me I was harsh, but it was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and I have no regrets. All this to say it's in hardships that you learn who your true friends are.

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    1. Anne, I am appalled by how you were treated. Good on you for taking a stand and refusing to put up with this behavior.

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  10. The quality of a friendship is profoundly important to me and so those I consider to be friends are those I hold near and dear. I've definitely had some friendships that fall into the categories that you mentioned but those types of people are no longer in my life. There are so many amazing people in this world that I choose to surround myself with those that lift me up instead of bringing me down. Like you said, ending a friendship can be rough, but in the long run, it's worth it if it's not a healthy one. Nice post Marlene! :)

    xTheresa

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  11. Oh yes, the toxic friends. We've all had/have them. It took a few years for me to figure it out, but I now only surround myself with friends that I truly love and who I know truly love me back.

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

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  12. This is just too good and SO true! I love your frankness!

    I'm wise now...yes, being old has it's perks. I know much and I'm not fooled too easily. I know who my true friends are that that's a blessing! Now that I've said that, I hope none of my friends see me as one of those on your list! ;)

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  13. Ah toxic friends, I can surely relate to that. I did some spring cleaning or fall cleaning, should I say. It is indeed a painful process to end a toxic friendship. But through the years, I have learned that my time is too precious to waste it on someone who is only there to compete with me at every level. Life is too short to waste it on toxic people. Great post;)

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  14. This post got me thinking..and grateful that I don't have have any in the above categories to deal with at the moment. But I want to thank you that as a fren, you have inspired me with what you share on this blog (on style, recipies, parenting..)

    p.s. where did you find those grey track pants? love them! What size do you wear for the kooples trainers? thanks!!:)

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    1. Eileen, the track pants came from F/W 2012 Petit Bateau collection but they've sold out everywhere. If you ever come across one, make sure you go for XS as they run big. I've got the Kooples trainers in size 36. They're just right with a thick insole. They run a little small. The size 36 is more like a 35.

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    2. Thanks M!! Re the track pants, I remember seeing that Alexander Wang has a cotton one now. Wonder how that fits.. I am liking the kooples trainers more and more. So I think if I do get, maybe the 37 will be better?

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  15. The human hoover friend - hate these. They literally suck the life out of you as they bleat on and on about themselves - a combo of your 3 friend type!

    Fiona

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  16. hi Marlene, I really like reading your blog. and probably this post will hit a chord with many. About a year ago, I made the decision to terminate all contact with 2 victimised-take all you can-frenenemies after close to more than 10 years of friendship. Hand on my heart, I was probably the most accommodating friend, never rejecting their requests, no matter how time money & efforts I needed to put in, sometimes even at the expense of my own progress. Like a marathon runner, I would pace myself and wait for them if they were slow. And so, I (foolishly & naively) thought that the same could be expected from them.

    Then I realised that for me to expect that of anyone, they must be like me, so willing to help a friend out, a Giver. But alas, maybe they had become too accustomed to my giving ways, they could not & would not be willing to even attempt to sow back or give back even just a little bit. Not that they do not have a "Giver" mode, I have seen them activating the "Giver" mode to their boyfriends & other friends, just not me.

    Sad. After multiple attempts to ask for help (because I really needed help), all I got back were a cold eye, a cold shoulder, and a cold heart. After my eyes had been opened, I made the decision to "break up" with them. The "break up" was excruciating, even more than the one I had with my ex-boyfriend.

    No matter what, I never regretted my decision. After the "breakup", our common friends had decided to keep a distance from me and leave me out of all their gatherings, so that things would not be "awkward", despite not knowing the details of the breakup, because I had never disclosed, not even the victimised-take all you can-frenenemies.

    I could only say that the friendship was only paper-thin and I am fortunate enough to find out soon enough. I conclude that the best friend that a girl can have is herself. In a world filled with real fakes, one must learn to tell the difference from a real quality bag/furniture/friend from a high gloss good-on-outside-rotten-on-inside quality quality bag/furniture/friend.

    To all girls out there, may you find high quality bags/furniture/friends:)

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    1. Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your story, painful as it is. I've been in your situation before and can wholly empathize with you. The problem being a giver is that we give too much of ourselves rendering the other person helpless at times. I believe it can also make them resentful of us. That has been my experience but may be different in yours.

      I'm grateful to everyone who left a comment, tweeted or emailed me privately. It's helpful to know that there are many of us who have been in similar shoes.

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    2. You are most welcome, Marlene. Detoxing out the toxic relationships in my life made (a lot of) room for many genuine, nourishing solid relationships, giving me a (second) chance to rekindle my relationship with my mom & sister.

      Not only did they came along side to help me at my botttommost, when I had nothing to offer, they allowed and embraced me & my numerous imperfections. My heart is filled with utmost gratitude and appreciation for them and God bless their souls, minds & health.

      I am a much happier person today because of my decision to detox. And I urge every girl (& guy) to detox their lives of toxic relationships. And I wish happiness & love to all the girls reading this blog, especially this post.

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  17. I recognise two of the types in the friends I already have. But luckily, they are not too close to have an adverse effect on me. The one thing I would worry about is if anyone thought I was any of the above and I myself had not recognised it.

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  18. Oh I love your honesty and this is all so true! I can definitely relate to all 3 of the above in my lifetime. I think now I really just find it easier to have a couple of really close friends that I absolutely love being around who I know will be there for me and me for them.

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  19. very interesting topic... last year was full of friendship drama, breaking up with friends, and weeding out.. i think it's somewhat of a process in being firmly in early 30th. I don't have tolerance for much BS anymore and am more protective of my time.... But the process was also painful; i lost some friends i thought i would not. Plus its not easy to find life-long friends... that process takes ages...

    www.azrakunworld.com

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  20. Great topic for discussion and also for a bit of a reality check, both on friends we have and how we ourselves offer friendship. I know personally, I'm not always the perfect friend since sometimes I'll go a week or two without catching up with them. But I love the handful of close friends I have beyond words and would do anything for them. They and I, all have our little flaws, but we always just seem to click, our friendships have stood the test of time and I would say we truly know each other (faults and all). They are friendships based on reality, rather than just the 'good times' which is rather nice.

    As I've gotten older, like many other ladies have also metioned in their comments, I've chosen just to have a few close and true friends. I've found that quality over quantity has also allowed me to be a better friend to them as well which is what it's all really about in my books. A recipricol friendship on equal terms.

    Find Me A Muse

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  21. it's like you've taken thoughts out of my head and put them here. I have been going through this decision about a friend that i have known since school and as we've grown older, we've changed-as people do-but she's just not the person i made friends with and i just dont feel we click anymore. It's the same as any relationship, right? but for friends it's considered evil as other friends are putting me in the "bitch" category for breaking it off with this girl. What is the point in clinging onto something just because you almost feel obligated to, it is an insult to both parties. Anyway, she didn't understand and it was all very upsetting but it's ended.

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    1. I've been through a similar situation, Lola so I hear your pain :( It's painful when both parties grow apart as we get older and our goals or ideas just don't mesh.

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  22. I have had a similar idea in the past about people who could be considered toxic in one's life. And it's not always easy to tell them apart and not easier still to extricate yourself from them.

    They can be friends who take you for granted because you're always there for them but should you need their time and advice (and company, they instantly become elusive and apologetic if it's not convenient for them. Or ones who like having superficial fun and hang out with you all the time but when something bad happens they make themselves scarce. There are many examples and all amount to the same thing: they are just 'friends' in words and not in the actual sense of the title.

    Real friends are ones that make time for you despite having to lead their own busy lives, because they value your company; who turn to you in hard times but will do the same for you; who are honest even if the truth is hurtful; ones who are invested in your well-being; who make you feel at ease and yourself and able to act silly without fearing harsh judgment but who will give you a kick in the rear (as you said!) when you act *too* silly. These are real friends and when people are fortunate to have them, they should value them and hold on to them because as I grow older I realize that true friendship (more so than finding a perfect romantic partner) is a rare thing in life!

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    1. Well said! I think you've summarized it better than I.

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