Disclaimer: The photos I have included are of my three mains. I am so lucky to have such incredible women in my life who never fail to support me. I love you all.
Growing up I was always a wallflower, sticking to my own company and finding it hard to open up to people. I had a handful of friends and, as I’ve matured, I’ve developed into a young woman who, if I may say so myself, has a fair few more friendships than I have had in the past. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have a group of friends, but rather individual people who I speak to and do different things with, for instance, going out for drinks or taking photographs, going for long walks or even just friends who I call every now and then for a catch-up. I have met some incredible people, especially during my years at university, and I’d like to think I know a thing or two about the upsides and downsides of a friendship.
We’ve all experienced toxic friendships and, if you haven’t, I’m sure you will at some point in your life. I have had a few friends who have brought nothing but negativity to my life and even more who, despite the fact that it wasn’t all bad, the bad times end up outweighing the good. I am almost twenty-two years old and would like to think that I have become more strict with myself, cutting out anyone that brings me negativity and ensuring that my life is as blissful as it can be.
I have had a fair few experiences in my life where I have had friends lie to me, whether that be cancelling plans in order to do something with someone else while pretending to be sick, or acting as though mutual friends are talking about you behind your back. It is a horrible feeling to have someone you thought you trusted lie to you, and it can really damage any chance of the friendship being restored. Honesty is extremely important in any relationship and, even if you think the truth will hurt, it will always be better than a lie.
Don’t criticise me over something you know I am self-conscious about and then defend your actions, claiming that it was merely a joke. Friends build each other up and, while teasing is okay and perfectly normal, if you see your friend getting affected by your words, stop at once or apologise. If someone is criticising you and making you feel insecure, speak up. You aren’t being sensitive or silly and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Some people believe that everything is a competition, whether that be who gets better grades etc. A toxic friend never seems to be happy for you whenever you achieve something, turning it into a competition and bragging about what they have achieved, as though trying to brush off your achievement. If one of my best friends achieves something or is proud of something they have done, I celebrate that with them as best I can. I am a strong believer in building other women up rather than tearing them down and, unfortunately, there are still some women out there who are threatened by the success of the peers rather than motivated by it.
It can often feel as though you are on an emotional rollercoaster, never knowing which version of your friend you are going to face. Their mood can affect everything. If they are happy, all is good in the world, if they are upset or angry, you better believe that everyone around them will be affected.