Lifestyle

What is your toxic friendship trait?


This is a guest post written by Natasha Devon, to recommend content please email [email protected]

At some point, most of us realize that we’ve come to have some fatal belief about the experience of heartbreak from cartoons or fairy tales. We realized that ‘and they live happily ever after‘ is an extremely unlikely outcome. We understand that you don’t have to be traditionally beautiful to deserve to be loved (usually after some self-esteem issues due to having that belief in the first place) and it often doesn’t come in the guise of being loved. Prince Charming on a noble steed.

But what about the messages we internalize around friendship? Just like romantic relationships, received wisdom tells us that we must seek’female ‘. Our BFFs. Ride our car or die. Someone who we (ideally) met in elementary school and stuck with us through all the ups and downs life throws at us afterwards.

This idea is so sweet, a lifetime BFF can only work in practice if you don’t change your whole life (which is not healthy) or if you and your best mate develop in complementary (rare) ways.

Natasha Devon

Another common misconception many of us have is that when friendships end, it’s because one person is right, the other is wrong and everyone around should choose a side. When we were kids, we knew that the world was divided into heroes and villains and we were told stories in which good triumphed over evil. However, as we get older, we start to realize that it’s not a clear cut. The world is full of flawed people, who mostly try their best, but often make mistakes. Sometimes, two people create a toxic dynamic between them not because one of them is trying to hurt the other, but because they just don’t get along.

That’s one of the messages I discovered in debut novel, Toxic. The story revolves around a young woman named Llewella, who becomes intensely infatuated with the new student at her sixth form university, Aretha. As their intense friendship turns sour, the anxiety disorder Loo thought was cured resurfaces, forcing her to confront some of the demons of her past. While Aretha treats Loo horribly, there are good reasons for her to resent her. Like all the best stories, I wanted my anti-hero to be someone you could sympathize with, if you could see what was happening through their eyes.

I also want to challenge the idea that short-lived or finite friendships represent ‘failure’. All friendships have the potential to teach us something valuable, even if it’s just our boundaries.

When I had friendships that became dysfunctional, it taught me a lot about how I behave when I feel anxious or threatened. I tend to push for a quick resolution, even when the other person is still mulling things over. I can’t stand unresolved conflict, so I’ll annoy someone until they tell me what they’re thinking. I would rather tear the plaster off quickly, but that often means I present situations that could be handled more calmly and effectively if we all took the time to cool off.

Knowing how you behave when things get out of your control will not only help you in your friendships, but can also apply to other areas of your life.Natasha Devon

I think that’s my toxic friendship trait, and that’s what I’m trying to do by learning to sit down and process my feelings, even if they’re painful or uncomfortable. However, I would never have known that about myself if I had been tempted to think that I behaved perfectly and that everything that happened was someone else’s ‘fault’. Knowing how you behave when things get out of your control will not only help you in your friendships, but can also apply to other areas of your life. Earlier today, a plan changed for a work-related project. I was really annoyed and my first instinct was to send a harsh email to the person in charge, to ‘punch the ball’ of my anger. But then I thought: ‘What would that really accomplish?’ and remind yourself not to worry about things that are out of your control.

So my challenge to you is to reflect on the less interesting aspects of friendship in your life – The arguments you’ve had, the people you’ve overlooked and those you’ve overlooked – to forgive. for yourself (because these experiences are all part of a rich tapestry life) and then ask yourself, without judgment, ‘what is my toxic friendship trait?’



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