I’ve been thinking lately about toxic relationships (of both the romantic and platonic sort) and why they’re toxic, as well as why I sometimes stick with them.
These are the biggest things I feel can make my relationships with others toxic:
- The person needs constant attention or reassurance, or constant praise. Or, the person is accustomed to constantly being the center of attention or having all of their needs catered to at any cost. Basically, being needy.
- Put simply, arrogance. Believing that everything they have to say is gold and that they are God’s gift to humanity and to me.
- An inability to change behavior that other people don’t like. If you do something that offends me or bothers me, I should be able to rationally explain to you why I don’t like it, and you should have the decency to stop doing whatever that thing is, at least when you’re in my presence.
These are the things that really don’t do it for me, but other people might have a different “list.”
By contrast, these are the things I appreciate from people I spend a lot of time with:
- Not constantly complimenting me or expecting me to compliment them. I am an independent person who doesn’t need your validation. I want to be around people who are similar in this respect. You should challenge me, not make me feel good about myself. I already feed good about myself on my own. When you act otherwise, it’s insulting.
- Following basic etiquette. Maybe this is a remnant of being raised in the South, but I can’t stand people who don’t have basic manners. This is less about things like “please and thank you” and more about being on time for things (which shows that you view my time as valuable) and responding to me when I try to talk to you (it is juvenile to ignore people for any reason).
I think sometimes I view certain people as a measurement of “potential.” If we have a lot in common, or if I find you interesting in some way, I have a tendency to ignore any toxic aspect to our friendship because I want that hypothetical person with “potential” to actually be real. But they’re not.