When Friendship Becomes Harmful
Friendship brings us support and joy, as well as the occasional dispute. However, if the friction often outweighs the support and happiness, it may be time to move on.1
Each person has a different perception on what is considered “harmful” in a friendship; however, there are a few red flags that should help you realize if you are trudging along in rocky terrain.1
- You feel drained.1 Friends that emit negative energy and pull you into the circle of their unhealthy habits aren’t good company to keep.1 This is especially true when substance abuse is involved. Whether it is smoking cigarettes or using harder drugs, friends aren’t supposed to put you in dangerous situations—they are meant to have your best interests at heart.
- You don’t feel supported.1 Although they may not agree with the choices we make, friends are there to support and accept us for who we are and what we do.1 Friendship doesn’t work out if a friend is judgmental.1
- You feel personally slighted.1 Friend can hold different world views, religious beliefs, and political ideologies.1 Many do. However, when a debate begins and words become personal, friendship can become strained.1 It’s best to avoid these topics of discussion, especially if your differences continuously become a foundation for a fight.1
- You feel uncomfortable in each other’s presence.1 If you dread being around this person, your friendship is questionable.1 If they aren’t understanding, insensitive, take advantage of you, or aren’t available in times of need, uncomfortable feelings can emerge.1 Friendship is meant to bring comfort, not hinder it.
- You question their authenticity.1 If you have any doubt as to whether or not your friend is your friend for true reasons, it might not be friendship.1 Do their actions and words correlate?1 If not, it isn’t authentic.
Alexandra Raffo, a behavioral therapist, said: “As horrible as toxic friendships are, they are also very important. These friendships teach you a lot about yourself by presenting you with a challenge that either forces you to crumble or grow stronger.”1
While these signs of a harmful friendship may not be on everyone’s list of what to watch out for, they may be a signal to ponder whether or not this friendship is healthy for you or not.1 Listen to your inner voice.1
 Suval, L. (2014). Recognizing When Friendships Become Toxic. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 13, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/12/recognizing-when-friendships-become-toxic/