Toxic friendships

Justine Do-Huynh, Staff Writer

ToxicFriendsFixed(2)Susan and Alex have been friends since they were in diapers. Their friendship has grown closer over the years, but once high school hit, their friendship took a turn for the worse. Alex began cruelly insulting Susan in front of others and embarrassing her. This was the start of their toxic friendship.

A toxic friendship is defined as a friendship that is unsupportive, draining, unequal and unrewarding. Often, this type of friendship becomes very stressful and overly demanding, causing more negative feelings than positive ones.

In the article “Toxic Friendships: Less Friend, More Foe,” psychologist Jenn Berman defines a toxic friend as “someone who makes you feel bad about yourself instead of good; someone who tends to be critical of you ― sometimes in a subtle way and sometimes not so subtle; a friend who drains you emotionally, financially, or mentally, and they’re not very good for you.”

There are often many signs to tell whether or not a person is in a toxic friendship.

“Toxic friendships are where people start isolating and demeaning a person, gets angry when that person is with other people, and uses their personal power to control a person,” AP psychology teacher Lana Gentry said.

Toxic friendships can bring about nasty behavior on a consistent basis. A person may begin to feel hurt, confused or even angered. Some may begin to feel bad about themselves.

“I started to feel uncomfortable because she started making fun of me and my insecurities,” senior Amariah Tadena said of a prior toxic friend. “I felt really bad and self conscious because this was a good friend that made me feel bad about myself.”

There are people who begin to realize that they are in a toxic friendship and start to change the way they act.

“Sometimes I have to be cautious about what I say because they might get mad,” junior Hillary Nguyen-Pham said of a toxic friendship she has. “I can’t be mad because I know that the person will find excuses to be mad back.”

In any case, dealing with a toxic friendship may prove difficult. People in a toxic friendship often feel trapped. Friendships will continue because the individuals have known each other for a long time or they are attempting to be the bigger person.

“I tried to ignore it and laugh at myself and gradually started talking to her less and less and stopped altogether,” Tadena said.

Others decide to end the friendship instantly.

“When I saw how my so-called friend was treating me, I felt mad and betrayed and left my friendship right away,” senior Mayra Espinosa said.

Gentry offers some words of advice on what to do if individuals are in a toxic friendship.

“A person can begin with talking to their friend because they may not be aware of their treatment,” Gentry said. “Start with I statements, such as I will, and a person can also write down how they feel. They should set boundaries and if the friendship gets out of hand, then they ultimately should end the friendship.”