When you have social anxiety, it can be really hard to tell the difference between the toxic friends in your life and the true friends.
Toxic friends make it their mission to keep their games hidden under a veil of drama and stories about how THEY are the victim of cruel and vicious mind games – putting YOU squarely in the role of trying to rescue them or keep them happy.
It’s one of the fundamentals of abuse, you become so bewildered and confused by all the drama and gaslighting that you can’t tell who is telling you the truth, who to keep and who to cut away.
But I’m here to give you clarity, my Butterfly – to restore your confidence and shine a big bright light so you can tell the real friends from the toxic friends in your life.
Firstly, let me begin by saying just like every person is different, friendships will have different dynamics and high/low points.
You bring your personality, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses into the mix, and your friend does the same thing.
You want certain things out of a friendship, and your friend wants certain things as well.
You need to make sure that those certain things match up.
Usually, this is done very organically – you can usually get a feel for who is a friend that integrates with you at an energetic level.
But if you’ve been having trouble telling who the good friends are compared with the toxic ones, this needs to be looked at.
Often, you will come across this issue when you have a friend who has been in your life for a long time, perhaps from childhood, and this person who you used to connect with so effortlessly, now seems like they are from a completely different planet.
You feel like you owe it to them for things to be like the way they were – in fact, YOU would give anything for it to be just like the way it was!
But people grow, change, mature, walk in new directions.
And sometimes this fact is only made obvious when a new friend is introduced into the equation – either you meet a new friend or your old friend makes a new friend.
Either way – the differences become obvious when old meets new.
Your old friend represents who you were: Your upbringing, challenges from the past. It’s highly likely you feel like you owe a lot of loyalty to your old friend, because of all the memories (and secrets) you share.
Your new friend represents where you are currently at in your life.
It’s highly lkely that you find your new friend to be very interesting and cool. She is into the same things that you are into right now, and she seems to understand you for exactly who you are.
It’s not often you’ll hear me quote Michelle Duggar, but she once said “If you show me your friends I’ll show you your future.”
But, this time, Mama Duggar speaks sense.
You ‘become’ the average of the 5 people you spend the most of your time with.
So it’s important that you think about WHO these top 5 people are in your life.
By default, the top 5 probably includes your partner, your boss, your kids, your other family members, your pets.
But if you could consciously create a list of 5 people who you were to BECOME the average of, who would they be?
What qualities do they bring?
AND – this is important – in your current top 5, are there any recurring traits that you want to consciously remove from your future?
I’m not saying you need to freeze these people out of your life – simply by becoming aware that you don’t want to ‘become’ these traits is enough for you to move away from them.
Those traits that you want to distance from – those traits are toxic to you.
Another way to illustrate this, is to think about the time you spend on Facebook.
You know those apps, ‘Who are your top 5 Facebook friends”?
Those people are the people you are becoming the average of.
I have a really good, recent example of this.
On my own Facebook account, I am active in two separate and distinct communities.
I am part of several social anxiety facebook support groups, and I am part of several groups for female entrepreneurs.
These are two very separate, distinct groups of people.
So my Facebook news feed was a mix of business-building advice and people sharing their successes, mixed with people deep-sharing their social anxiety struggles.
And there was a key difference I found in the culture of these groups:
The entrepreneur groups are all about building each other up. People aren’t shy to say “I smashed it” today, or to celebrate hitting an income milestone. These people are working TOWARDS something.
The social anxiety groups are extremely empathetic and supportive of people in their problem. I see a lot of “me too (sigh)” comments – but people tend to get stuck wallowing around in circles (and people can be quite cynical about advice.)
I found myself getting sadder and sadder every time I logged into Facebook.
My newsfeed was filled with these “woe is me/my life is so terrible/my problem is so bad/the world sucks” posts – I was really getting me down.
Now – don’t get me wrong – I help women with social anxiety via energy healing, and what I do WORKS.
It works for the right people.
Which is probably 5% of the people who find themselves dwelling in those social anxiety support groups because they feel they have nowhere else to go.
Anyway – my newsfeed was getting junked up with opinions from people about how they were going nowhere in life, and who I knew would refuse any help I could offer them.
So I switched the notifications from those groups OFF.
And what happened?
It was like a stream of light ran through my newsfeed.
Suddenly, I could see positive comments again from people who were celebrating success in their lives.
This uplifted me. It made ME happy. It made ME focus on the things I wanted to achieve.
This is IMPORTANT for you to understand, my Butterfly, especially if you want to bring more love and light into your OWN life:
The things that bring you down, are TOXIC for you.
What you are surrounded by in your life, you become.
So because my newsfeed was full of people being sad and downtrodden by life, I too was becoming sad and pessimistic.
It’s funny how the pessimists I know call themselves “realists.”
Whilst the optimists I know are happy to be called optimists.
The pessimists don’t want to take responsibility for their own outlook in life – to them, they just soak up the messages of the world without a filter, which leads them to conclude that the world is a cynical place. (See: My Jealous Friend)
Wheras optimists seem to admit that whilst yes – the world can sometimes be a dark place, there are pockets of light that get bigger and brighter the more you look for them.
Optimists seek to find the learning opportunities from each and every situation – what is the opportunity to grow?
Pessimists look on things as being a typical, fixed outcome. Pessimists feel that they have no power to impact anything – they are a mere spectator in this cruel slideshow called life.
Optimists always seek the lesson.
And outlooks in life are contagious.
You turn out to be whomever you spend most of your time with – this means you think like them, react the same as them and attract the same outcomes into your life.
So! The way you can tell if someone is toxic is to ask this question:
Does this person make me feel heavy and depressed in my body, or do they make me feel light and hopeful about the future?
It’s not your job to try and save people from themselves – it’s not your role to rescue them.
If you have someone in your life who is toxic, that toxicity only acts like a sinkhole – it pulls things into it.
Your job is to raise your vibration to a level where the toxic, draining, pulling energy can’t suck you in anymore.
And it can take work, at first, my Butterfly.
Don’t be fooled into thinking I’m saying this is easy.
Not by any stretch of the imagination.
But the first step is to recognise a toxic person.
And the second step is to neutralise the energy that is attracting that toxicity to you. (See: What IS Friendship Between Women?)
How to do this?
You need to work on your own mindset.
You need to catch yourself each and every time you find yourself wallowing about in the negative.
You’ll know that it’s the negative because you will feel that heavy, depressed energy.
And at first, it’s highly likely you will feel this toxic heaviness quite often.
So it DOES that a lot of work, up-front, to life your vibration to a level where light begins to stream in.
With your friends, responding in a light-filled way to their toxicity will serve as a repellent.
You can literally kill a toxic friendship with kindness.
Toxicity relies on a host – something to feed off.
And if it’s not being fed, toxicity will ramp up and look for a host elsewhere – until, if it doesn’t find food soon enough, it starves.
So they key is to be able to tolerate the toxicity while it momentarily gets worse, just before it gets better.
So your toxic friend will do one of two things when you refuse to play into the negativity anymore:
- Increase the toxicity, challenge you to participate then back off and find someone else to feed their toxic monster
- Increase the toxicity, challenge you to participate several times – each time worse than the last and, if you refuse to buy in, finally surrender and the toxicity will die off.
The second option is by far the rarer outcome.
Usually, a highly toxic person is in denial of their own poison – they will do anything to avoid introspection and will project their negativity as a coping mechanism.
So that’s how you deal with toxic friends in your life: Kill them with kindness.
Do not feed the monster of toxicity – instead, shine a light on everything.
Decide to see the lesson and the growth opportunity in everything and approach life from that perspective.
Pessimists will be repelled by you!
Love + light
PS: Find the strength to love and forgive in your friendships with this free Forgiveness Mantra on MP3