No one is an island unto themselves. If you are a goal oriented person who strives to live a successful and drama free life, you probably don’t have time for friends who have toxic qualities. How do you spot a toxic friend? Check out these characteristics and then decide for yourself whether you should continue with the relationship.
The “It’s All About Me” Friend
This type of person is also known as a narcissist. Very rarely can you share a great job opportunity, wonderful new relationship or academic accolade with this person without them either invalidating your achievement in some way or bringing the focus back to them. Narcissists live in a world that is built to insulate and further perpetuate their large egos and delusion that no one else matters but them. These people give very little of their time, affection, energy or emotional support to others, yet they demand so much more than they give. Perhaps this person is a childhood friend or college buddy who you grew to like based on shared interests, but over the years they’ve become more and more competitive with you and you generally leave their company feeling bruised and offended in some way. You can try to bring the issue to their attention, if they have a heart, they may take heed to what you are saying. Generally, narcissist’s think any problem is someone else’s fault, not theirs.
Miss “You Can’t Do Better Than Me” Friend
This girlfriend of yours lives with the constant fear that you will outshine or out achieve her in some way. She is threatened by you and doesn’t have a clue about how to have a genuine friendship with another successful woman. If you buy a new condo, she buys and even bigger one. When she gets engaged or married she would never introduce you to a male friend of her husband’s who may be a great guy. Why? She wouldn’t want you to have as good or better a partner than who she has. She can only be friends with women who she deems are beneath her in some way or who she feels she can compete with. When you express that you are going back to school to earn a Master’s degree, she may shortly announce that she’s going to get a Ph.D. This person is so insecure that she can never just support you. She will withhold her support for fear that it may give you a boost. She constantly checks out your clothes, your car, where you are in your career and any other success you have because she is always plotting to attain something bigger and in her mind better than what you have. It’s best to deal with her by not telling her anything.
The “Lazy, Copycat, Energy Drainer ” Friend
Your copycat friend is someone who doesn’t know how to use their own resources, intelligence or imagination to get what they want. This person may be a lazy, procrastinating pessimist. They will use you for your resources and connections to help their career, but would never give you credit for it or return the favor. If you are building a business, writing a book, moving half way across the country or vacationing at a new spot, they aspire to do the same. Many times this person is all talk. Their mouth says that they have big dreams, but there is little to no action behind it until they find someone’s coat tail they can ride. They will use you as their personal headhunter, therapist or book doctor, meanwhile you’re wasting time that you could spend on your own projects. You’ll find that this person is an energy drainer because every setback and personal drama they experience comes through your phone or to your doorstep.
Each of these toxic friends may all have a bit of the other’s characteristics. What they have in common is they are attracted to you because of your genuine loyalty, success outlook and leadership skills. Oftentimes toxic people can’t fare with other toxic people, they would cancel each other out. So they usually try to feed off of people who are on the rise and who have an abundance of energy and resources to give. Watch out for these types. It’s best to switch your focus to people who are your equals and who can offer mutual support.