Are Your Friends Toxic?

mean

I speak from experience.  I spent years being in bondage to unhealthy relationships.  I used to look through the window of other relationships and think, ‘hm… they seem to have a healthy friendship.  Why are mine so toxic?’

You ever hear that saying, “be the type of friend you want others to be to you”?  Well, that was my first problem.  You are who you hang with and my behaviors were toxic and similar to the chicks I was hanging with.

So what happens when you wake up one morning and want to change?  Well, I tell you what…  just because you woke up wanting to change doesn’t mean your friends want the same thing.

We go through seasons of change and there are some folks who cannot go into new seasons with you.  This is not mean.  This is truth.  I’m sure you’ve been left behind by a friend who was growing in a different direction.  It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a part of life.

Let me just point out that this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cut all ties (although depending on the toxicity sometimes you do).  This just means you may not always be available to hang out like you used to or that you can’t engage in the same ol’ conversations that you used to engage in.

Don’t feel bad for change.  Don’t feel bad for growing. Sometimes throwing off everything that hinders means taking an inventory on the people in your life and deciding if they’re helping you move forward or just heavy weight that’s holding you back.

Here are four ‘friends’ you may need to distance yourself from as you journey.

The Jealous and Envious ‘Friend’

This person cannot celebrate your victories with you!  Whenever something great is happening in your life they find a way to insert a sarcastic remark that hurts your feelings.  This ‘friend’ is only happy for you when something good is happening in her life.

This person is very dangerous.  The definition of envy says: a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.  James 3:16 says: “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”

Distance yourself from this person.  Quickly.  Pray for their heart and keep running the race.

The Victim ‘Friend’

We all have crap happen to us.  We all wind up a victim at some point or another… but we don’t stay there.  I truly believe that some people would rather be the victim and stay the victim than actually receive the healing power of Jesus.

The victim friend is the person who always complains about what everyone has done wrong to her.  She rarely (if ever) takes responsibility for her own actions.  She’s never in the wrong and if she is – she’ll mention it quickly and then over share exaggerated details of how much she’s been hurt by the other person words or actions.

The victim friend doesn’t want help.  She just wants to complain.  You can identify this person by trying to help her map out a plan to move on but she’ll reject it.

This person is an energy sucker. The conversations are dominated by her and her problems.  She rarely asks about your rough patches and if she does, she’ll turn it back around on her again.

Pray for this friend and ask God to show you next steps on how to continue in this relationship and how to set appropriate, healthy boundaries with her.  Just a side note – when you distance yourself from her she will most likely take it personal and throw the victim card.  These kinds of people can manipulate very easily and keep you stuck.  God has her heart …  God doesn’t need you to fix her or heal her.  He’ll take care of her, He needs you to run the race He’s marked out for you.

The Bully ‘Friend’

She’s the person who is always making threats in every conversation.  She addresses you by calling you ‘B****, Slut, Hoe, Whore, Skank… insert other negative names’.   She is emotional and reacts out of emotion.  She’s hurt and wants others to hurt. She’s not a friend.  She’s broken and she needs a lot of help from Jesus.

If you are literally scared of your friend or find yourself in fear because of her.  That’s bad. If you get anxious at the thought of having to have a tough conversation with her… that’s bad.  If reading about her right now is making your stomach hurt because I’m telling you that you need to move on from her.  That’s BAD!

The bully friend has created her identity around making people fear her.  Love to her is fear.  It’s toxic and it’s poison.  Distance yourself from this person.

The Gossip ‘Friend’

Run.

Okay. Maybe that’s harsh … but is it?  The gossip friend may be extremely entertaining but she’s gossiping about you too.  She thrives on drama.  She doesn’t know how to talk about anything else but people.  So your time spent with her is time she’s brewing up lots of juicy goodness to share with others.

As you grow her conversation topics are going to bug you like crazy! Change the subject when she’s sharing unnecessary details about someone.  She’ll most likely find her way back to the gossip and if she does- change the subject again or don’t respond.  Yup.  It’s gonna be awkward as heck but just sit there in silence.  This will make her feel really stupid.  When our silliness isn’t accepted it bounces back to us.  It’s like someone puts  a mirror in front of you and the yuck that just came out reflects back.  You get to see it as the filth it is AND that is not fun!

Be honest.  Tell her you don’t want to talk about that person or hear about their business.  Ask her how she would feel if someone was saying those things about her.

If you start doing the things I listed above, I can assure you your relationship with her is going to change.  Hopefully she’ll say, “Oh my gosh! You are so right.  Thank you for calling me out and helping me to become a better person who speaks life instead of death.”  … but chances are she’s not going to say that.  Chances are she’s going to go talk about you – “Ugh. What’s up with her? She’s all goody-goody now and all Jesus Freak or whatever ….”

Let her talk.  You keep running!

 

I’ve learned over the years that the enemy loves to put silly weight on us through the people in our lives.  It’s one thing to help carry burdens as we’re all running together.  Life happens and life is not fun at times.  However, a lot of folks are carrying around dead weight and making excuses for why they can’t move on in life.

Check out your friends.  What do your conversations sound like?  The last time you had a girls night out did you leave feeling refreshed or drained? If you share your dreams with your friends how do you feel after?

Feel free to have grown up conversations with the people in your life that are hindering your walk with Jesus.  Be up front with them.  If they reject you or get angry, that’s fine.  At least you’ll know you tried to do what was right.

You never ever ever have to feel bad for growing.  I spent many years in bondage because I was manipulated by these words – “You think you’re better than everyone else.”

I’m not better than anyone I just choose to do more with my life.  Everyone has that same choice available to them. You don’t have to feel bad because you love Jesus and want to grow in Him.  You don’t have to feel bad for wanting a good marriage with your husband.  You don’t have to feel bad for making plans and sticking to a schedule in your life.  People are either coming with you or they’re staying put.  That’s their choice.

God has placed treasures in our hearts.  He has set a path before us, a race that we run, where we can sprinkle those treasures.  Throw off everything that hinders and run the race that has been marked out for you.  Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.  Don’t grow weary and don’t lose heart.  The best is yet to come.

You are dearly loved.

April

Have you taken advantage of our FREE 8 week course on setting boundaries!?  This course is packed with tools, tips, and encouragement to help you break free! It’s on me for a limited time so go get yours today!

Cheers to walking in freedom!

Be sure to check out the Point Her Journey Project here: www.pointherjourney.com

 

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8 thoughts on “Are Your Friends Toxic?

    • Thank you. It totally applies to family members as well. Family seems to be able to manipulate a little easier than most outsiders. It’s sad but these same suggestions go for family as well.

  1. Thanks for sharing this, April. I believe that we need to check our friendships every year at least for toxic relationships. I know it’s hurt me greatly to move away from certain friends, even unfriend them on Facebook, keeping them as casual friends only… or moved to the “acquaintance” basket, but it’s always been great for my growth in Christ. Basically, I need to be the best friend I can be in reflecting Christ to my friends. That in itself seems to weed out a lot of people without me saying a thing. 🙂

    • That’s so true, Susan. I agree wholeheartedly. The thing I always try to get across whenever I’m mentoring folks about boundaries with friends/family is that it doesn’t have to be dramatic or ‘mean’. Sometimes people help you grow in a season and then that season ends. It’s really not personal and it doesn’t have to turn into a huge blow out. We are running a race and there are seasons where friends that were once really close decide they don’t want to run anymore (for that season) and I don’t stop to sit down and take a break with them… I keep running and they are always welcome to come join me.

      Toxic relationships on the other hand kept me in bondage for a really long time. Those are the ones you have to cut ties with if they’re not willing to change.

      I love your perspective. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is so important, and so encouraging! Often we feel as if we are the only ones who have toxicity in our lives, because it separates us from healthy relationships. The minute we know that others share the same burdens, it makes them lighter. Thank you!

  3. What a beautiful blog and post. 💕💕 this helped me alot. I just got out of a toxic friendship for the 2nd time (with the same girl!!) Its hard but all the traits of the toxic warning signs seem to match. Sad though because you really try love and help the person and nothing is ever enough. The intensity of what they’re telling you everyday can really overcrowd your mind. My toxic friend rang me over 5x a day and got angry when I started to back off to give attention to work, planning my sisters wedding, etc etc…

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