People define friendships in a variety of ways. For some, it is given high priority, while others can’t be bothered with it. I fall into the category of the former. I believe friendships play a vital role in our lives. Thus, over the years, I’ve discovered that although at times it can be considered simple to make friends, it can also be a difficult task.

An important factor in friendship, is that of responsibility. With friendship comes a great responsibility and duty, that is either friend’s job to uphold. A friendship is built on trust, loyalty, honesty, and most importantly, a two-way street. If you have a friend who continuously takes, when all you do is give, chances are, you may need to re-evaluate the relationship you have with that person.

But, at times it is difficult to find supportive and trustworthy friends. So, how can you weed out the good ones from the bad? Personally, I am a firm believer in the saying “People change people”. The individuals you choose to surround yourself with have a great impact on the person you are. This impact can take place in both a negative, as well as in a positive light. That’s the reason why I believe you have every single right to be picky with the friends that you choose.

Then, there’s the factor of already having many friends, some of who appreciate you, while others, don’t. If a ‘friend’ calls and messages only when they deem necessary or when they need something, maybe it’s time you evaluate the ‘friendship’. Along with that, weed out the ‘friends’ who make it obvious that they could care less about you, from the ones who genuinely care about your wellbeing.

But now, the question arises as to how you differentiate between the two.

Here’s a list of factors you might want to look for:

  • They treat you as if you are stupid, or not as ‘smart’ as them. Always keep in mind that there’s a difference between helping someone understand what they don’t know, and being pretentious
  • They talk about you behind your back. (Bonus points if they tell others your secrets,)
  • They criticize. There is a big difference between constructive criticism and projected criticism.
  • They constantly demand your attention, but aren’t willing to give you the time of day.
  • They negatively impact your mental health. Friends are supposed to not just build you up, but your confidence as well. If someone you consider a ‘friend’ makes you feel bad about yourself, cut them off. You DO NOT need that type of negativity.
  • From my experience, if your mom senses something fishy, chances are there’s something sketchy about that friend.

Once you’ve identified someone as a toxic friend, there are a few ways you can go about ending that relationship. You can put it bluntly and tell them that they’re toxic to you and it is having a terrible impact on your mental health. However, if you want to avoid the confrontation, and don’t want to get into yet another argument, you can take a more subtle route. Start by slowly cutting off communication with the person. You could possibly explain to the friend about how you’re taking a break for yourself, and let that be the entryway. Then as time progresses, decide whether you want to distance yourself, or cut them off completely.

In the end, it’s great to care for the people you surround yourself with, but loving and caring for yourself should be given more priority. The same goes for the fact that although friendships are incredibly important, so are you.

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