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Are you?

September 10, 2013

Identifying wether you are in a toxic friendship can be complicated. It could be glaringly obvious to you that your friendship causes you intense stress and zaps the life out of you . . . by definition it’s more of an anti-friendship. Conversely, you may constantly doubt negative feelings you have about your friend because you think YOU are the problem. Maybe you feel that you are being unkind, unfair, or overly-sensitive. While these are all possibilities, a good barometer for a quality friendship is if you can answer “yes” to the following question: Do I like myself when I am with this person?

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This is not a question of whether sometimes the relationship offers some fun or enjoyable moments. This is a question about how you feel in the relationship.  When honestly examining how you feel you might say for example, “Well yes, I feel strong, confident, comfortable, and likeable when I am with her. I feel like I can completely be myself and that our friendship improves the quality of my life.“ However, you might instead answer something like, “No. I don’t like some of the things I say or do when I am with her. I feel a little anxious around her, like I can’t totally be myself. I allow her to be hurtful. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells.”

Unhealthy friendships can be confusing.  Often when involved in one you are at the whim of your friend’s moods and behaviors. When they are happy the friendship feels fun and fulfilling, when they are unhappy you may wish for a job transfer to Uzbekistan. Sometimes these moods can shift rapidly and you may feel like you are on a roller coaster powered by your friend’s emotional instability. Fun.

If answering the above question is difficult due to your conflicting feelings toward your friend (you love them, but maybe don’t like them so much) I will provide you with a handy checklist to help you take a closer look at your feelings in the relationship. Next post . . . .

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