When I was in my early twenties, I had an army of friends. Our common ground consisted of shared interests like clubbing, gossip and being overly dramatic about our romantic problems. I surrounded myself with people who were good-looking, stylish and popular, because subconsciously, that validated me.
As I grew older and reached a different stage in my life, my interests started to change. I became a lot clearer of the type of human I wanted to be and the values that I stood for. Slowly, I grew apart from some of my old friends, got closer to others, and made room to welcome new, like-minded people into my life.
The quote “The five people you associate with the most, you become, “ strongly resonates with me. Today, when accessing my friendships, I ask myself how I feel after I spend time with them. If I feel constantly depleted, it’s an indication I need to reassess.
I’ve finally learned what really matters when choosing your tribe. In replacement of the superficial qualities I used to look for in friends, today I prize loyalty, consistency, reliability, honesty, consideration, and generosity above everything else. That being said, sometimes it’s hard to spot if a friend is toxic in your life. Here are a few types of friends you might want to avoid:
1. The Energy Vampire
After spending time with this person, you feel drained. The conversation usually revolves around their problems and complaints. They will provide an emotional “dump” on you in order to release and feel better. Problem is, that energy ends up making a withdrawal from your energy reserve, and you have nothing left to give after. If you are consistently exhausted after spending time with someone, know that the consequence is that you will have nothing left to give yourself and the people you love.
2. The Calculator
This friend is always keeping score and if your tally is not adding up, then they resent you for it. This is the one who deep down is afraid of getting shorted, so they have created coping mechanisms to make sure nobody gets more than what they give. The problem with this type of friend is that their acts of giving do not come from a genuine place. When dealing with calculative energy, you may end up adjusting your generosity too, as it creates a dynamic where you feel like you have to constantly keep score.
3. The Disappearing Act
This person is your BFF when they are single and needs you to be the wing person in order to fill their social calendar. But as soon as they enter a relationship, you drop abruptly to zero priority. Then, the minute they go through a breakup, you’re the person they call to weep and vent to, only for the same cycle of MIA to repeat once they meet their next beau. While it’s normal for friends to have less time and availability when they have a new relationship and other priorities in their life come up, it’s not okay for them to completely disappear only to reappear when in need.
4. The Taker
According to author of Give and Take, by Adam Grant, there are three types of people: takers, givers and matchers. I think that your capacity to give is really determined at a young age, and it becomes a part of your DNA. There are some people, who just constantly take, and that is just their way of life. If you are someone who is always generous and giving, these people will know no bounds when taking from you. They likely don’t even recognize that they are taking as it’s their norm nor is reciprocity a part of their thought process.
5. The One Man Show
This person is the star of his or her own show. Therefore, everything from the conversations to the cast (this includes you) must revolve around them. This is the friend who will happily talk for hours about their problems, and when it comes to your turn to talk, they will interrupt and maneuver the conversation to go back to them. This person may be well intentioned, but they cannot help but center everything around “me, me, me”.
6. The Drama Queen
This person’s storyline never seems to move past the conflict stage. There is always something that is making them unhappy and there is typically someone to blame. This person chooses drama as an attitude and consequently attracts it and revels in it. They fret over the petty and trivial things and have a way of turning everything into a big deal.
7. The Child That Never Grows Up
This person has not learned how to handle his or her emotions and unfortunately, everyone else has to pay the price. This friend lashes out, resorts to passive aggression, or other detrimental coping mechanisms to deal with conflict and disappointment. Sure, nobody is perfect and getting a handle on the tricky range of human emotions is no easy task. But there comes a point where one needs to be responsible and accountable for their behavior, and constantly reverting to child-like reactions at the expense of others should not be tolerated.
8. The Flake
There are so many great people who value your time and who are excited to commit to making plans with you, why waste your energy on chasing people who don’t follow through? Sometimes people are going through life stuff that causes them to be unavailable – that is totally understandable. But those who constantly flake due to their own inability to manage their time? That gets old, fast. The friend who always says they have no time to see you? Not true. They just don’t want to prioritize their time on you.
9. The Guilt Tripper
This person has expectations of you and if they are not met, they will make sure you feel the wrath for it. These expectations revolve around them, their phase of life and their wants. Their demands come from a selfish place, and they are so blind sighted with “me” that your interests are put second. When we are kids, our friends and social circle is our number one priority in life. As we get older and have more responsibilities, things change, along with priorities. Life happens. Careers flourish. Families are created. People get sick… Friends need to be accommodating and supportive of the different changes that will take place and not use peer pressure or guilt in order to get their way.
10. The Friend Who Secretly Hates You
This friend cheers you on, exclamation points and happy face emoticons included. But in reality, they secretly just don’t like you nor want the best for. Be careful; because these people may want to appear like your friend due to strategic and calculative reasons and will likely mask their true feelings with eagerness and compliments. Your intuition always knows.
Have any to add to the list? Add to the list in the comments.