Imagine for a minute that you are given the option to spend the rest of your life with only one person. After this lifetime passes, you must choose (for lack of a more extreme situation) how their life ends. Knowing that you must kill the only person you will ever know for the rest of your life, who do you choose to spend your final days with? Rather dismal, I know, but let's continue.
There are two types of people who will read this article:
- Those who would spend their time with the person they love most, their ride or die, through thick and thin.
- Those with a vengeance who secretly (or maybe openly) wish they could release years of built up anger and resentment on one special person.
What happens when the person who brushes their dirt under your carpet and walks all over you is also the person whom you cannot live a day without?
They’ve likely become your best friend — and this is most likely a bad thing. Spending a great deal of time with the same person can often become a habit that we confuse for necessity. At the same time, years can be confused for trust. Eventually, we realize we have been let down more times than possible to count, our self-esteem is withered into nothing, and we grow lonely in our feelings. When we let all of this confused power settle into our circle of wellbeing, we let it destroy us without even realizing the damage.
Before continuing, this is a reminder that a friend who is hard on you with your best interests in mind is a good person to have around. A great way to tell a good friend from a bad one is the way they apologize to you. There are those who excuse their behaviour by belittling your hurt:
“I’m sorry if I made you feel that way but that was not my intention and I think you may be overreacting…The fact that you even feel like I could hurt you actually hurts me.”
Then there are people who are truly hurt by the fact that they hurt you. These special people apologize without projection or excuses.
“I am so sorry that my actions caused you pain. I was not intending to do so and I recognize what I have done.”
Still, the area between tough love and shit love can be greyed out by humour and an addiction to depreciation. And honestly, your best friend probably isn’t a bad person, they’re just bad for you.
There are a few easy ways to identify a toxic friend:
A bad-for-you best friend punishes you for your moods or feelings rather than asking about them. Consider all the times that you were genuinely upset about something that your best friend didn’t understand, or maybe you were upset at a time that was ‘inconvenient’ for them. Your feelings should not be devalued — even if your best friend disagrees.
Conflict resolution is more like you always taking the big dive and saying sorry. Come to think of it, you have never actually heard your best friend apologize for anything. Do they feel guilt?
“In my opinion” is used more than “what do you think?” This is another way of saying conversations are one-sided, definite, and likely to conclude with you being quite while your best friend speaks their overpowering truth.
You laugh at the same things and that’s great until you realize you spend a lot of time laughing at your own life rather than building yourself up. This is an easy habit to fall into, especially when you are trying to take things lightly. But only laughing at yourself and making fun of yourself can have some hardy side effects — be mindful.
A bad-for-you best friend uses your insecurities against you. Picking at the little things that really bother you, even after you have mentioned to them that you are tired of having to defend why you’re insecure. Additionally, a crap BFF replies to your insecurities with lazy, automated responses rather than reminding you of the good in you.
Being a best friend is hard, being a crap best friend is a way to pass time. A good friendship is one that knows conflict resolution, respect, and patience. These things aren’t built in a day. Additionally, you may have a bad friend around you because you’re not the most stellar companion to have around some days. Consider that people treat you how you teach them too.