Friends make life worthwhile. They make the sun shine brighter, food taste better, and dark days less hopeless. After all, no matter the stage of your life, relationships are important. Today in the Rain, we’re exploring 5 types of toxic friends you need to take a break from.
Mental health depends on the people you surround yourself with, too! We’ve all been bad friends at some point, and none of these types of toxic friends are hopeless. But sometimes, self-love requires self-preservation. So here are the friends you need to turn your back on. At least temporarily 🙂
These types of toxic friends only ever seem to reach out when they need something. “Something” can range from a ride home, to a covered shift, to even emotional support.
Toxic friendships involving The Taker range from favor-grubbers to good-intentioned individuals. But good intentions, there’s not much that can cover a dominant self-importance gene.
Do you have that one “friend” that equates your social media activity as being socially available 24/7? The Bobo and Flex podcast episode, “Friendship + Social Media // Are You a Trash Friend?” is a must-listen for you. Bobo notes, “If I’m not giving you my time, it’s not yours to take.” Now that’s a lesson for The Taker!
Similarly, Ann Smith writing for Psychology Today emphasizes equality in relationships. “If after making it clear that you want a more equal relationship it is obvious that you have become a permanent caretaker to your ‘friend,’ you can either charge professional fees or gracefully move on.”
While we all need comfort and emotional support, friendship should be two-sided. Let’s leave one-sided relationships to paid professionals.
Friend of Convenience
The Friend of Convenience comes in many shapes and sizes. Brent Green in Aging And 3 Kinds Of Friendship describes a Friend of Convenience in terms of location or time. “While convenience friendships can be miracles in our lives, knitting together decades of shared experiences, sometimes these relationships survive as tired habits.”
Green reflects on an evolved circumstance changing this friendship. “He was not my friend because of positive feelings for our relationship; he acted like my friend because I could benefit him financially and status-wise within a cloistered media community.” (Green)
The usefulness of a person serving as a reason for friendship falls more under the category of our next toxic friend, The Manipulator. Yet the Friend of Convenience shines in its unique origin due to particular conditions in proximity, or simple boredom.
If your friend only hits you up when “better” alternatives aren’t around, it might be best to more consciously spend your time elsewhere.
Also known as the guilt-tripper, the manipulator has close ties to the Taker and Friend of Convenience with a more direct, mean streak. While the Taker wants favors and labor from you, the Manipulator wants to use you for farther-reaching goals, such as networking or group access.
Similarly, while the Friend of Convenience uses you to pass the time due to specific location or circumstances, The Manipulator uses you personally to create opportunities for themselves.
These types of toxic friends are most easily identified at a distance, such as with strangers or acquaintances-turned takers. However, instead of asking you for favors, they’ll ask you to connect them to others or external resources, thus manipulating your reach.
The hard-hitting side of Manipulators arises in those posing as close friends. These are the faces posing as supportive friends, pretending to give you support but noticeably never truly giving it “for free.” Nothing is ever truly “not your fault,” and these individuals are more prone to emotionally manipulate you.
As Feeney and Collins on their paper in the Personality and Social Psychology Review point out, “Support-providers may inadvertently do more harm than good if they make the person feel weak, needy, or inadequate…[or] induce guilt or indebtedness,” among other things.
While any true friend has made the mistake of making someone feel worse rather than better, Manipulators take your lowlights and use them to manipulate your feelings and sense of right and wrong-all to increase your trust in them and expand their reach.
Offering fake or limited emotional support, then demanding emotional labor or connections are all signs of a one-sided friendship and Manipulator. Remember-at some point, everyone will need a favor or extended connection. But these should be met with gratitude and respect.
Got any constant manipulators who use emotions like bullets and guilt-trip as a hobby? It’s time to drop them and spend your time on someone else. (Better yet? On yourself!)
Now, especially here at Renting the Rain, those harboring negative thoughts and mental health concerns are always welcome. (We’re a mental health community specializing in research-backed posts to help you, after all! Check out Stress vs. Anxiety: Are they the Same?)
But not all negative nellies are made the same. The balance between supporting your friends and letting their negativity consume you, is thin. The Downer is the friend so down or negative on life and so unresponsive to your attempts to lift their mood that their very presence in your life brings you down.
Science of People calls this type the emotional moocher. “An emotional moocher also is known as a spiritual vampire because they tend to suck the positivity out of you or bleed you emotionally dry.”
No judgment here-we all have our dark days. And hopefully, wonderful friends to help us through them! But the ungrateful Downer is the type to consistently, each and every time, take your support for granted without attempting any positive change in their life (or even supporting you in return).
At the end of the day, they still deserve love and support. They deserve brighter days, too. But so do you. Don’t be mean in cutting them out of your life, but be careful in cultivating your friend choices and friend circles to match a vibe conducive to your own mental health.
The Immature One
Finally, we come to the epitome of frustration: the friend that truly means well, but is just too immature to have a healthy friendship with you right now. These types of toxic friends can be the most disappointing. These individuals are just not capable of considering your view or part of the relationship at this time.
One way to identify an immature toxic friend is to pay attention to their argumentative habits. While anger and arguments are natural in any relationship, the frequency of arguments and how they are handled are important.
As psychologist Perpetua Neo told Insider, ” if you’re doing something you regret out of your anger, it’s a big sign the line has been crossed.” Neo focuses on regret as the indicator of proportional anger and response to conflict. The capital-worthy Immature type of toxic friend is prone to react to conflict with disproportional anger.
This often results in regret later on. That is- once they realize that words said or steps taken did more damage than good. We’re all prone to do things we regret while angry. But an overwhelming consistency in this occurrence may be a sign to put this friendship on hold.
Other Types of Toxic Friends?
No list is perfect, and no person is one-dimensional. Some toxic friendships may easily fall into one of our top 5 types of toxic friends listed today. But it’s more likely that toxic friendships arise out of a mix of unhealthy relationship habits.
By being aware of how people treat us, we can better choose to surround ourselves with people who fill us with a positive light. And in the Rain, we can always better ourselves, too.
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