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4 Ways to recognize a toxic relationship

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If they always take more than they give, watch out!

We all know “toxic” people: they might be a boss, or a family member, a friend, or even you. They’re people who, instead of making us stronger, consume our energy and seem to make it their goal to set us on the path of negativity. We can usually find inspiration in our environment, but when these people appear, they block our creativity and throw our well-being off balance.

Our physical and emotional health depend on the quality of the people we spend time with and on their influence in our lives. Consequently, even minor negative influences that could seem relatively innocuous can end up being an unnecessary burden.

Four symptoms that indicate a toxic relationship

1. Their problems are more important than yours

One of the advantages of having friends is that you can count on them as “therapists” when things are not going well. But, the problem with toxic friends is that they underestimate your difficulties or hard times because they think their own are more important than yours. They can spend hours talking about themselves, but at the moment that you offer them help or possible solutions, they always find a reason why it won’t work, or say that you don’t understand them.

2. They talk more than they listen

This is related to the first symptom; it means that they not only underestimate your problems — they also undervalue your opinions. A friendship is supposed to be a two-way street, and both parties are supposed to be able to share their thoughts. If your friend doesn’t listen to you, there’s a high probability that it’s a harmful friendship. This shows that you are dealing with a person who wants to receive from you constantly, without trying to reciprocate.

3. They criticize you constantly, without empathy

We are all human and imperfect, but there’s no need to bring that up every five minutes. When criticisms and hurtful comments are a daily matter, it’s time to distance yourself from that person. Degrading you, shouting at you, or making you feel inferior can be a mechanism that toxic people use to raise their perceived status above yours. Such people never put themselves in your place to try to understand what your life is like.

4. You stop telling them things to avoid bothering them

Whenever you are around them, you weigh your words or leave certain things out so as to keep them happy. They tend to be explosive or possessive when you tell them anecdotes about things you did with other friends, or when you mention making new acquaintances. If you have to hide something as basic as having gone out with another friend … that’s toxic.

The main reason why we should distance ourselves from people like this is because it does not help us to be our best self when we are with them. Life is too short for us to spend time with people who are detrimental to us. When it comes to friendships, what matters is quality, not quantity. Place limits and begin to say “no.” If you tell a toxic friend that you’re uncomfortable, and he or she doesn’t change attitude, it’s time to distance yourself. Find people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself, and do the same with the people around you.

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