8 Signs of a Toxic Friendship | Sharon Livingston | TEDxWilmingtonWomen

8 Signs of a Toxic Friendship | Sharon Livingston | TEDxWilmingtonWomen


Translator: Victoria Perdikogianni
Reviewer: Zsófia Herczeg It’s really funny to be introduced
as a fun [inaudible], but fun with this topic
is kind of fun. So, I want to start out
by telling you a story. So, Joe is walking down
the street one morning, and all of a sudden – crash! Glass is raining down on him – ouch! Blood – oh my God! He compresses it, and he rushes back home. And by the time he gets home, the blood is dry and the pain
in his head is subsiding, still little bit there
but enough that he forgets it – I mean, he’s tough, you know,
he forgets it about for 25 years. 25 years. And then he starts having
these horrendous headaches and vertigo, and he’s feeling horrible,
and he can’t work. He has to go to the doctor. So he goes to the doctor,
and the doctor examines him, and he brings him back into his office. And he says, “So Joe,
when did it happen?” “When did what happen?” “When did you get shot?” He says, “Shot?” He says, “Joe, you have
a bullet in your head.” And believe it or not, there are many stories of people
walking around with bullets in their head that they are not even aware of. And so he thinks about it, and he remembers that day
with the glass raining down on him. He’s like amazed. And the doctor does surgery
to remove the bullet. And, you know, with any kind
of healing process, there’s inflammation and pain,
but he gets over it. He has a little scar left, but, wow, he’s back to functioning,
he’s back in the world. And so why am I telling you about Joe? Because living in a toxic friendship, is like taking a bullet to your head. Now, if Joe had paid attention
to the signs along the way, he could have removed that bullet
and had a much fuller life. And it’s the same thing
with toxic friendships: If you know the signs along the way, you can intervene earlier
and not have to suffer from the results
of being in a bad relationship. And how do I know this? Well, because I goofed,
I was in a crazy relationship. And relationships are so important to us. Friendships are so important. We’ll do anything to keep them. Particularly, if you’re codependent,
like I just discovered I was. And so let me tell you
how this all started. Very, very busy, I live in New Hampshire, and unless you have babies or little kids,
it’s hard to make friends. And I meet this woman,
and I’ve been starving for a friendship. And we had this connection. It was amazing, like our eyes lit up. We were in a friend-mance,
it was amazing. And we decided that we were going to hang out together,
and we had so much fun. We liked to play in the same
kind of ways, you know, we liked to animate things
and make them talk, and we told silly jokes –
we really had fun together. For a while. And then things started to change. Now, what happens in the beginning
is that there’s chemistry. There’s good chemistry,
and there’s not so good chemistry, right? Now, if you had bad chemistry,
it can blow up in your face. But you don’t know at the beginning whether it is good chemistry
or bad chemistry. And you have to have an open heart to allow yourself to find out
and figure it out. Let me tell you one other thing
about friendships. There is research that shows that we are more likely
to live longer and healthier lives if we have good friends. And if we have a health challenge, there’s research that shows –
contrary to what you would think, more than with the spells – having a good friend
helps us heal and faster. And so when you find a friend,
you want to hold on to them. So here is what happened. All of a sudden, we had established
that we were BFFs, and all of a sudden, she started
telling me about her other best friend that she was going swimming with. Her other best friend? Huh, okay. Kind of hurt me a little bit,
a little shot. And then she said, “You know, you really shouldn’t …” And she started
criticizing me unsolicited. And then she’d say,
“You really have to change that.” Again, unsolicited. And then we would have
crazy amounts of talk time where I was beginning to step back
because she told me I had to change. So I put on my therapy cap
and I thought, “Okay, I’ll take care of her,
and I would listen.” And then when she was done telling me
this whole thing that was bothering her, she’d say, “Okay, I’ve got to go.” And there I was, not telling her
about who I was anymore, stepping back, stepping back. I was walking on eggshells. You know what it’s like
to walk on eggshells? You crush them, right? You can’t have a relationship
walking on eggshells. And my self-worth would be high when she was in a good mood, and then it would drop down
when she was in a bad mood. I was beginning to, like, get really OCD. Like, “Oh my God, should I call her,
or she’s going to call me?” And when you get that involved
and that addicted, there’s something wrong,
that’s a sign there’s something wrong. But did I intervene with myself? No. No. And so my whole self-worth
was vacillating. And I was feeling sick:
headaches, I was stressed out. And I mean, here I am
working 16 hours a day, but for half of them, I was thinking about
what’s going on in this relationship – until, finally, the last blow. She calls me one day, I’m 10 minutes in front of giving
a webinar to coaches that I supervise. And she says, “You know what?
You haven’t changed. We’re done.” Click. She hangs up. What? And I start texting her. I have to go into supervision. Texting her. No answer.
And I realized it’s done. I told you how important friendship is – for our longevity, for our happiness,
for our quality of life. Do you realize there are no programs that teach you how to be
a friend counselor or friend therapist? There’s marriage therapy,
there’s family therapy, there’s individual therapy,
there’s executive-leadership coaching. But friendship, which is so important,
there’s no program for that. Like how crazy is that? So I ran that webinar
kind of like robotically, and I said, “What am I going to do?” If you say, “Oh, my friend
just dumped me,” you know what people will say to you? “It’s just a friend, get over it.” Get over it? My heart was broken! Okay, what would I do
for someone coming to me? First thing I would do is I’d say
let yourself feel what you feel. You don’t want to take it in
and hold on to it so it becomes a boil
that’s going to burst on you. And you know, we make ourselves
sick with sadness – right? – and anger. So I was going up and down the stairs,
going up and down the stairs. And I was screaming,
I was so angry and outraged. And then I was crying like, “How did this happen?
She was my best friend.” And at one point,
I was so upset I just sat down, I collapsed onto the stair and I sobbed. And then, I said to myself, “You know,
she’s a poopy head.” Well yeah, I was a poopy head too. “You’ve got to figure this out
so this doesn’t happen again.” And I did the one thing I do well;
I started writing. I started writing. I figured if I put my feelings down
and my thoughts down about it, I’d begin to figure it out. And as I did that,
things became clearer and clearer, and I started seeing how I contributed. And then one day,
one morning I got up, I’m getting ready to go out,
and I looked into the mirror, and I said, “You know what?
I’m going to be your best friend.” And the other me,
looking back at me, went, “Really?” And I said, “Yeah, what do you
want to do today?” And I started doing things with myself
that I wanted to do with a friend – with my best friend. So me and me would do things:
we were painting, we went for a walk, went out to dinner, we went to the movies, we were having fun – me and me. And as I was giving to myself in this way, I felt better and better about myself, loved myself more, and the weirdest thing happens – as I was loving myself more,
other people were coming to me. I was my own best friend, and therefore I had plenty
of other love for other people. It wasn’t desperate with one person. It was the most amazing thing,
and now I have tons of friends. And they were wonderful,
and there’s no desperation. And so … one of the things that I want you to know
is that when I talk about this, people come lining up and say,
“You know, that happened to me.” “You know, that happened to me.” “Really?” And I started asking them,
“When did that happen?” “10 years ago.” “20 years ago.”
“30 years ago.” They still have the bullet in their head
that they haven’t extracted. And so, I’m sure
people listening to this – because I’ve heard it
from so many people – either have a toxic friendship
or they’ve lived one in the past, and they still have some pain about it. And so, I’d invite you to let that out. You know, they say when you’re looking for a friend, the best friends
are two equals, whole people. There’s no such thing. In fact, what I invite you to do
is to find somebody that you really, really like
and love who’s flawed. Two flawed people who can appreciate
each other and even appreciate the flaw make great friends. So, a really good friend is a good egg that is lightly cracked. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “8 Signs of a Toxic Friendship | Sharon Livingston | TEDxWilmingtonWomen

  1. I ask my narc friend a question and I notice a pattern. she gives me a negative answer about me and a positive about her.oh my shoes are killing my feetbuy a descent pair like mine. my feet never hurtI can't meet you later my car is in the garage being fixedI'm so glad we have two carsetc you get the picture

  2. The weird thing is I already know this since I was a kid. I don't understand why people gets suicidal when they don't have friends. I am fine if I have friends but I am perfectly fine as well if I don't have friends.

  3. I think male friendship relationships are less emotional/dependent than what this speaker described herself feeling…but still, I can relate. A co-worker with whom I had a good amount of laughs for many months eventually came around with projecting too many of his insecurities on me through needless aggro-competition, which, in the realm of the workplace was unacceptable. He was more of a social butterfly than I, so after a short while of me terminating our 'friendship', I decided to quit that job, as the environment had become too toxic against me. Social dynamics, ugh..

  4. I had a best friend like this, she managed to get my husband to give her a brand new car a fully equipped kayak, and secret meeting and phone calls.
    Well I did divorce both of them and her husband too
    This was a really good talk.
    Thank you.
    Regards from Iceland

  5. Who else secretly wishes that they were the weird people at school that no one talks to, just so that they dont have to worry about friends a d toxic relationships??

  6. starting at 5:24 Exactly the same situation I had when one friend. We're not friends anymore, and honestly it's a good thing. Learning to love yourself is the best thing you can do.

  7. Fact may be that u needed to improve on certain things, which the friend is telling u. Listen to the advise which may help u to be a better, likeable person. I had a friend with body odour problem. I advised him to put on the perfume or bath more but he only can feel offended. Imagine if he just continues being so smelly by not listening to the advice?!

  8. I've had so many toxic friends that nearly destroyed my life. Now I see them coming from a mile away. My last NEW friendship started last year and it was just like this lady says: We connected and felt so happy around each other BUT very quickly I started to see red flags, which I would have ignored years ago. I was on high alert and was taking mental notes everytime this friend said or did something that rubbed me the wrong way or felt "wrong" somehow. Finally after just a couple months I saw the first major indicator of behaviours to come in a lie she told me (over something so unimportant) and that was all I needed to get out. This woman was actually a nice person but the red flags were everywhere.

  9. I had a friend who asked every week if I wanted to hang out. I didn't have time for that and I didn't want that. I got tired of rejecting her all the time. I had to let her go.

  10. its true once u cut off these toxic bonds there nothing in this world NOTHING THAT CAN DESTROY YOU
    your r your own best friend!!

  11. She's a terrible story-teller/speaker. I get the point, just it feels like she barely said anything coherent

  12. They call you more than you call them, they visit unannounced, they talk about their problems all the time, you delete their number, you decline all their invites, they talk about other ppl personal business, they are emotionally draining all the time, they live in the past repeating stories endlessly and forever, they ask how are you then they talk about their problems. 🤷

  13. I would need to do this outside Iceland.
    But my life has been very interesting from age 4 when my mother took my to Iceland without my father's permission.
    😉thank you for this.
    Regards from Iceland
    Anna Lin Steele

  14. The hardest part, at least for me now, is whether or not I should believe what I am hearing and thinking. Because it all sounds way too familiar….

  15. I tried searching for videos like this at my shutting down phase of my depression. I'm trying to contemplate myself whether my bff is a toxic friend because we really went through tough times and now that we don't see each other it seems like we lost the connection we once had.

  16. The easiest quickest way to tell is, do you feel better or worse when you leave their side? If you feel bad upwards of 50% of the times you hang out or chat, then there is a pattern. Take some minor distance and evaluate your own well-being. This also goes for romantic relationships, doctors, and therapist. Pretty much anyone and anything, including food.

  17. its sad when your bestfriend youve been friends with for over 11 years choosing to date your ex she knows your inlove with but thinks "it was so long ago" that your feelings dont even matter!

  18. I have a friend that tells you all the best things you 'want to hear' its a never ending stroking ego and when you start joking banter suddenly they become sensitive and 'i only want love'
    They want me in their life and do not want to come into mine?
    Meanwhile, this newly single friend wants R n' R and doesnt want to commit.
    I amazingly wonder to myself how much of who I am is just there to make this person feel the way they want?

  19. When you cant stop thinking about someone and become obsessed with them
    You know something is wrong. There is a conditional aspect to the friendship.

  20. I can’t stop butting “a bullet in my head” I’m to obsessed with this person. I can’t leave him. We just got into another argument. I’m having like none stop anger and panic attacks. After all I told him all of my secrets. Help😢

  21. I think toxic friends also reach out maybe more than you, but at times it could be to do what they want. Mood swings is the hard part too.

  22. If you have got a so-called friend who when he or she leaves you end up feeling low then you have got to get rid of that one if you are in times of need and you call your so-called friends yet nobody's there for you consider yourself lucky for you are by yourself and it's better to walk alone then with a parasite by your side.

  23. Ugh! Multiple bullets to the head from toxic friends. All versions of my Mother. On the road to healing. 🙂

  24. Have been having this fantasy… when your with this kind of person, start digging thru your purse…. they'll say, what are you looking for?" I say… my BS detector, must have left it at home"😂

  25. The way I got the bullet out of my head was to write a letter, years after the fact, telling her what I really thought of her and enumerating her flaws, I didn't pull any punches.

    She never did with me.
    This person is a malignant narcissist so I know it cut her to the quick.
    It allowed me to let go of all of the toxic anger and contempt I had been carrying with me for years. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner.

  26. Me: when my 'best friend' finds a significant other and starts ignoring me/us. Probably happens a lot when people get married…

  27. Thank you for this talk. I've been through quite a few friend break-ups and it kills me everytime. I like how she mentioned that it's unfair how society undermines friend break-ups because they are just as crushing as relationship break-ups

  28. I spent years in friendships with narcissistic people….what i learnt the most about this was that i chose them and while choosing these kind of friendships i rejected kind lovely friendships…i did this to myself. I am responsible for the people i let into my life.

  29. I wish I had seen this six months ago when my friend did almost the exact same thing (except I friend dumped her)

  30. many times a toxic friend is a covert narsicist…and these demons can cause severe stress and. . autoimmune disease ..& cancer …very dangerous

  31. When a friend, family member or even a stranger projects themselves onto you is a huge sign that you are in the presence of a toxic person. “ If they show you who they are, believe them the first time” Maya Angelou

  32. I have a friend that I’ve been best friends with for 20 years yet it seems to be crumbling. I’ve changed and grown as a person, yet she has remained the same, childlike behavior since preschool. I feel like though at this point it’s too late to confront her. Idk what do do honestly

  33. Going thru the ending of a friendship is a hard, hard thing to do.

    I am doing it now — someone who I had been very close (we even called each other our “best friends” and even “brothers”) for 40+ years.

    Starting about ten years ago something changed between us – I’m not exactly sure what it was or specifically when it happened. Maybe it was just life that happened and it pulled us in different directions. But anyway, a series of events happened that clearly told me, it spite of me trying to deny it, that our friendship had seriously degraded.

    Finally, in the midst of these events, a final straw event happened that caused me to have an epiphany about this friendship: we were no longer close friends nor did I want us to be. I began the process of pulling away from the friendship so as not to be hurt anymore by this guy.

    While I am in some ways sad that it came to this, I am actually happier that I am not regularly interacting with this former friend any more. The way I see it is that all human relationships are subject to change and even termination, even with family.

  34. Your friend, spouse , parents and kids can betray you. That's the way people are, you see. The only person who loves you the most is Jesus, because he died for you; and so, he is your best friend. Read the Bible everyday particularly whenever you feel lonely because God will talk to u through the Bible because it is God's word and u will no longer feel lonely. Tell the Lord everything, he absolutely delights in hearing about whatever is happening in your life because he is our Father and he is a living God and he responds.

  35. I feel like I can’t relate to her feelings of holding on for dear life for a friendship. I’ve never had any experience where I would spend so much time worrying about a simple friendship. Is it just me?

  36. Ppl disguise as friends and try to use us as and when they need us.we have to wakeup and identify such ppl.And keep away from such toxic ppl.🤷

  37. I think I'm the toxic one. Because I rarely reached them, never tell my problem unless they asked. It's because I confused how to tell my problem or asking them out, I mean I'm scared if they don't like me, I hate being like that but I find it so hard to open my self… and one day they didn't ask me out and post some picture in their instagram. It breaks my heart and I respond to the picture jokingly but in fact I feel really sad… I think I'm not welcomed or I didn't welcome my self to them. But I often being forgotten and I tried to calm my self after that.

  38. I've learned if I find myself criticizing them in my head or wanting to go to others about them then it's either time to take some time away from them or that they aren't meant to be my friend. In my younger years I would go to a friend about another to vent & for guidance on how to handle the other friend. I would criticize in my venting. Even thought the events spoken about were true it backfired. I realize my intuition was telling me that our values are different & we don't get along.

  39. I have a bestfriend of 25 years. Iove her dearly but feel as if she smothers me. When ever I pull away because I need space, I feel so guilty. Its not that I dont want to be around her, it's just when I'm spending time with others she seems to act indifferent.

  40. I'm sorry but this whole ted talk could have been done by a 16 year old girl and have the same level of depth. Sounds like the speaker is extremely co-dependant and perhaps a little desperate. What grown woman cares if her friend has another "best friend"? Ugh…this is why I only have guy friends. Grow up.

  41. OH MY GOD!!!!!! This really hit home!!!! I don't have words to describe how relatable that was, she nailed it right on the head!!! It's taken me nearly 4 or 5 years to get out of a toxic friendship and I'm so happy to say that I ended the friendship last Sunday. I'm healing and getting better, like she said "extracting the bullet".

  42. You need to realise that they’re working out their own psychoses in putting you down. Usually they have a problem rooted in their earlier years, and think that maybe because you’re smarter or come from a position of privilege, they have the absolute right to belittle you. They don’t. Cut them out of your life: you will be better for it.

  43. You may think you have tons of friends, but get a debilitating, chronic illness and see if anyone sticks around, family included.

  44. I feel no one deserves to be in a relationship with a narcissist they are terrible people that feel entitled thank God for my friend who referred me to an hacker and i was able to hack my partner's phone, all i did was to share his phone number with (geniustracker) without touching his phone and see all the proofs i needed for a divorce and even terrible things they had planned contact him to help he is a genius. You can text/call +1 (415) 323-6758 or reach him on WhatsApp +1 (724) 330-3252 and also write to Via Gmail (geniustracker701) thank me later…

  45. Boy, can I relate. I got very ill and it wasn't clear if I would recover. My "best friend" of 35 years just up and dumped me for a new "best friend". Eleven years down the road, I have recovered and she still calls to talk about her "new best friend". We don't discuss me at all.

  46. Had a friend whom I constantly help, but little is done on his part. I don't know maybe I am the bitter one.. This guy always borrow petty cash for me and never pays back, but that's not the end of it. We had agreed to help one another in the trading markets and send each other trading opportunities . I am the only one who constantly sends him trading opportunities, but he keeps quiet when he finds his own,found out from him, that he at made a substantial amount of money 1000's of dollars all on his own and did not fulfill our agreement.I feel Betrayed. I know nobody owes you anything, but it's painful to help people and they don't return the favor.

  47. I had the same sort of "Walking on eggshells" relationship with my sister. I have just this week decided no more, and have cut ties with her, after years of putting up and shutting up because she's family and that's what you do with family. Having cut ties I now feel like a weight has been lifted from me, even though it's very sad to have had to do it. But if I don't value me I can't expect others to.

  48. I had a friend visit from another state a couple weeks ago for 4 days who I haven’t seen in 4 years. I was so excited to see her. Within 24 hours I realized this is why I haven’t seen her in 4 years. Toxic. Made the best of the rest of the trip, sent her on her way. Erased and moved on. Such a freeing feeling. I wish nothing but the best for her but enough is enough for myself. I don’t care how long you know someone. People change and not always together. Someone who fit your life 10 years ago may not necessarily fit your life now and that’s okay. Pick yourself up, let go, move forward and hope the best for them. Don’t hang onto anger, disappointment or negatives. Doesn’t benefit them or yourself. In the end, you have yourself. Always take care of yourself first no matter the person or situation. Won’t always feel good but the best things in life I believe don’t come easy. Learn lessons and grow. 🤗

  49. I'm about to reach 1 million views. I can hardly believe it. Thank you everyone for viewing. And if there's anyway I can be of service please let me know

  50. My “good” friend got drunk at a festival and spent the whole night making sniping comments and insulting me in front of our group of friends. I had no idea she had those thoughts about me. I’m sad and now I no longer have a friend, one way or they other.

  51. TEDx Narcissism: An example how to be faced with proof of how you fail because you were solipsistic and selfish, realize you don't want to change and be more solipsistic and selfish and even face the words #1 fear (public speaking) to convince yourself you aren't wrong.

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