We all make friends every now and then. To some, making friends is easy while to others it can be quite difficult. Whatever the case, we all meet new people every time and get to befriend them. It starts from early childhood, crèche specifically, when we meet and play with other toddlers during recess.  And the thing about friendships is that it shapes our social learning processes, plays an important role in our emotional and psychological development and makes us wholesome in terms of our social lives. By initiating and building friendships, we learn to develop important social skills, enhance our communication/inter-personal relationships and styles and build important life skills. Indeed, the ability to develop necessary relationships tips starts with being able to make friends with strangers.

We are often taught and cautioned (by parents especially) to look out for certain qualities in our prospective friends. Sadly, these guidelines rarely ever include those things we are supposed to be weary of in friendship.  But here is the thing- even “friends” can abuse their friends either physically or emotionally! And the worrisome thing about “abusive friendship” is that they are rarely reported. This is because it is always assumed that such a thing is not possible just because mere friendships lack the level of intimacy and emotional connection typical of…say a romantic relationship. This therefore leaves the victims suffering in silence. We can’t let this continue.

A group of African-American teenage girls posing, with attitude. One girl is in the center while her two friends lean on either side of her. Their closeness and friendship is evident in their attitudes.

Indeed, a toxic friendship can leaves one feeling emotionally and psychologically distressed, causing such a fellow to have self-esteem issues. Other bad feelings associated with this sort of abuse may also include the feeling of inadequacy, self-doubt, and even the predisposition to other kinds of abuse! Now, the even sadder reality is that there are many people who have found themselves in this sort of abusive friendships. But they remain in as a result of the following reasons-

  • The fear of being alone.
  • Inability to voice out your concerns about a Toxic Friendship
  • The fear of never being able to find other friends.
  • The conviction that your friends will improve with time.
  • Making excuses or justifying your abusive friends etc.

 In any case, nobody deserves to be in any kind of abusive relationship; not familial, romantic and definitely not friendship. Therefore, if you have the slightest feeling that your friend

[s] are abusive, make haste to terminate such a friendship. You will know that you are in an abusive friendship when you are scared of seeing your friend, scared of being ridiculed by him or her, relieved when you are away from them, when you can’t count on your friend for help in time of need and when he or she blackmails you over a secret you confided in him or her. When your “friend” betrays your trust, criticizes you unnecessarily, shouts down at you and shows you zero respect, you are being abused; run. It is important to take all of these into cognizance while relating with your friends. At the end of the day, we want to see you happy and progressive instead of being saddened by people that are supposed to make you feel good.

Be safe.