Toxic friendships

Toxic friendships: A guide to surviving them

Toxic friendships can be an emotionally draining experience. Hence, the key to surviving them is to be able to set healthy boundaries and adhere to them. Psychologist Kanika Shah of Nimai Healthcare details the signs to look out for, and also tells you how to navigate it.

Toxic friendships and how they affect you

You can determine if a friendship is toxic by looking inward. Examine the feelings and emotions you experience while thinking about interacting with an individual. Observe if  you consistently over time feel tried or drained out or put down. Also, if you always experience negative sensations and emotions in context of meeting or talking with an individual. It  indicates a level of toxicity in the friendship that needs to be addressed.

Tips to navigate such bonds

Kanika suggests one should try to understand why an individual is eliciting such a negative reaction. According to her, sometimes, the dynamic is toxic, which means there could be something from both ends. Here’s what you can do about it.

  • Find out why the person may be triggering you. See if you can work through that.
  • In situations where you feel it’s more from the other person’s side, and they are not willing to put in the work that you are, you set healthy boundaries.
  • Limit the kind of interactions you have with this individual.
  • In your head, moderate expectations you may have from the person.
  • In cases, where your capacity for coping or resources for coping are overextended, a mental health expert can play a key role in helping you work through these relationships and the emotions connected with them.
  • Be mindful about your own personal boundaries based on your values.
  • Enforce these boundaries, and then if you are not able to work through that, and can’t resolve the conflict that exists, you will probably have to look at developing a new version of the relationship.

If all of this fails, you may have to consider cutting ties with this individual as a last resort for your own mental well-being.