The person you consider your friend can harm you; undermine your self-esteem, overwhelm you, and hinder your development. There is a name for such people in English - frenemies; the other is enemies. They can also be called ambivalent or sworn friends. Let's figure out how you can recognize them.
How sworn friends behave
Psychologists describe them in several ways.
1. They cannot be happy for you
If something bad happens, the sworn friend will most likely come to the rescue; he will listen, sympathize, and begin to scold the people who have offended you. But as soon as the dark streak ends and you share your successes and joys, in return, you will receive at best a sour smile and a handful of tortured, formal words. The sworn friend will then try to hush up the conversation as soon as possible or switch to something else.
- Imagine, I still found a job! Very cool company and the salary is higher than mine now!
- Yeah, cool, congratulations. Have you heard that self-isolation has been canceled?
Your success and joy are unbearable for such a "friend." But he can talk about his achievements for hours and with great pleasure.
2. They criticize you and devalue you
They make it clear to you that you look and dress badly, your salary is small, your hobbies are not serious, and you have not chosen the best partner.
- "Here, in this jacket, your belly does not catch the eye; buy it."
- “How much, you say, will you get now? 50 thousand? Well, at least something, well done. "
Moreover, they often do this in a veiled form, in the form of advice and pseudo-compliments - so that it seems that nothing offensive was sounded, but after communication, you feel pathetic and worthless.
Read also: This Is How Friends Affect Our Performance
3. They joke offensively
Their statements repeatedly ridicule your peculiarities and problems, hit right on pain points, and spoil the mood.
- “I don’t understand which of you two is pregnant: you or your wife?”
- “Look, what a funny picture with a monkey. It looks like you when you don't get enough sleep. "
If you are worried about being overweight, your "friend" will constantly humor about the fact that you eat a lot; if you suffer from loneliness - get ready for jokes about 40 cats. And all of this is done in the name of good and harmless humor. And if you try to be indignant, you will hear that everything was misunderstood and, in general, "I was just joking."
4. They prevent you from changing
As soon as you consider making a change in yourself and your life, starting an ambitious project, taking up a new hobby, you will definitely be told that this is a waste of time.
- “Well, no, emigration is very long and difficult; you cannot cope. And in general, where he was born, there he came in handy. "
- "You don't need this camera. Anyway, photography is not yours."
- “Why change your profession if everything is fine, anyway? Do not invent and work like everyone else. "
Instead of support and help, you will receive skepticism, ridicule, criticism, and indifference - sometimes under the guise of genuine concern. Of course, this will shake off your confidence and inspiration: it is difficult to get down to business and even more to bring it to an end if you are told that you cannot cope and, in general, the idea is stupid.
5. They pull the blanket over themselves
They talk only about their problems and successes, constantly demand attention to themselves, take offense if they do not receive it. You discuss mainly those interesting topics with the "friend," go where he wants, see what he has chosen, and so on.
But your desires and needs are treated without much enthusiasm; you receive attention and support on a leftover basis. And you cannot shake the impression that a friend is such a star, shining in the spotlight, and you are playing third-rate roles.
6. They are trying to harm you
This, of course, is already an extreme degree of ambivalent relations, but it also happens that friends gossip about you behind your back, try to set you up, and in every way spoils your life. It can say nasty things about you to common acquaintances, denigrate in the eyes of employers, slowly hate on the Internet from fake accounts, and so on.
7. Friendship is not fun
Nothing catastrophic seems to happen, but you constantly feel empty, depressed, and disappointed after communication. Your self-esteem decreases; you have less confidence in yourself; you doubt yourself more often, you feel incapable of anything.
Why do people call themselves friends but act like enemies?
Psychologists believe that sometimes this is a manifestation of natural competition for people, and sometimes - self-doubt. The sworn friend is actually terrified that you will overshadow him with your successes and that he will feel not smart enough, handsome, enterprising, charismatic in your background.
He doubts himself, does not feel interesting enough, bright, and competent - therefore, he envies and tries to suppress those he sees as a threat. To make their presence felt at the expense of those who are "less successful" and feel better against their background.
Basically, this is not a cold-blooded calculation - "I will pretend that I am friends with him, but I myself will ruin his life" - and the person does not fully realize that he is behaving unfriendly.
What to do if a friend is toxic
You have to answer these questions
- What good does this friendship bring you?
- Does that good outweigh all the negativity you get?
- Do you need such a relationship, and can you do without it?
If you feel good with the person in general and evil jokes and passive aggression do not hurt you very much, you can maintain friendly relations. Set boundaries, tell your friend why his behavior is unpleasant for you, agree on what you can and cannot tell each other.
But if comments, criticism, and devaluation hit you hard, harm your self-esteem, mental and physical condition (by the way, due to communication with ambivalent friends, a person may even increase blood pressure), it is better to gradually limit the relationship with such a person, at least for a while.
Adapted and translated by The Cop Cart Staff
Sources: Life hacker