Friendships Turning Sour

Raptors explain what personality traits are toxic and share their personal experiences dealing with toxic friends.

Toxic people are something we all try to avoid, but sometimes we do not see them coming. Toxic friendships tend to leave some sort of emotional damage, but they also allow people to grow as they learn from adolescent experiences.

Red flags in a friendship may be different for each individual, but the most common red flag is when a person is manipulative and deceiving. For freshman Norma Sanabria Renteria, the biggest red flag in a friendship is when they constantly lie.

Sanabria Renteria believes that it is important to let go of someone toxic for your own good. (Crystal Li)

“I think the biggest red flag for me is when they are lying to your face — and you know they are lying to you. This happened recently; one of my friends would lie about her [life] just so she would look cooler. I found out that she was lying to me when I asked her about something that happened a month ago, and she would deny it,” said Sanabria Renteria.

After finding out that her friend was lying to her, Sanabria Renteria felt betrayed and uncomfortable. It was hard for her to spend time with the girl because it was difficult to tell if the girl was telling the truth or not. 

“After I found out that she was constantly lying, I felt really uncomfortable. I thought she was my best friend, but I started to question our friendship. I knew for a fact that a best friend should not lie to you like that,” Sanabria Renteria said.

When it comes to any type of relationship, trust is a key aspect of a healthy one. Sanabria Renteria was not the only one who has questioned someone’s intentions, as sophomore Mandalena Peou also questioned her friend’s sincerity in their relationship.

Peou has surrounded herself with people who support and celebrate her achievements. (Crystal Li)

The toxic friendship that Peou experienced started when she was in third grade. The friendship was between her and a girl, and they had considered each other best friends for the longest time. This was an especially difficult situation because there is a certain obligation that comes with a long-term friendship. But if that relationship is no longer serving you, it is important to remember that you are allowed to outgrow people. The toxic trait overwhelmed the friendship, and that was when Peou knew she had to cut her off.

“Her inability to put aside competitiveness and just be able to see me as a person that is there to support her,” said Peou. “She saw me as someone that was there to compete against her. There were many incidents where she tried to copy me.”

There was an incident that stood out to Peou. When she was younger, she used to wear glasses. The girl thought they were cool and constantly took them from Peou. It seems insignificant, but it made Peou feel like an imposter. 

“When I noticed she started stealing things that made me who I am for herself, it made me feel like an imposter because it meant that something that was a part of me could easily be taken. It really just was not the glasses. It was my hobbies, friends, and things that made me uniquely me that she took away,” said Peou.

When Peou realized how emotionally draining the girl was, she decided to finally cut her off. But it was a difficult task: “When I was trying to cut her off, she would start to gaslight me and tell me that I would not be anything without her. She would constantly tell me that I was the bad person instead of her. It was just really difficult because she was naturally a very aggressive person, so I was scared of her. She also constantly made herself the victim whenever I confronted her, so it was even harder to cut her off,” Peou said. 

It was a difficult process but Peou had friends who supported her to help her through it. They understood the struggle that Peou was going through because they knew what type of person the girl was.

“I had other friends to turn to. They were really understanding and supportive of me. We all knew what kind of a person she was, and it was not the type of person we wanted to hang out with,” said Peou. The support that Peou received helped her confront the girl once and for all.

“One day, I decided to go up and tell her that I did not want to be her friend anymore. The conversation carried over to text. It was a really long conversation, but the confrontation did what it needed to — it let me cut her off. I am glad I stayed resolute with my decision. It was for the better, though, because sooner or later someone had to put her in her place,” she said.

Like most of us who have experienced toxic people, Peou felt a heavy weight lift off of her shoulders once the boundary was set. She was able to be herself without anyone restricting her.

“I felt free in a way. I was not being restricted by her opinions, her actions and her competitiveness. I was able to foster my own personality. I became a better person because I learned from her and how not to be like her.  I made sure I was not treating anyone else the way she was treating me,” Peou said.

The toxic friendship may have been a rough spot in Peou’s life but in the end, she learned how to become a better person.

In some toxic friendships, you can slowly see the changes, as Peou did in hers. But that is not always the case. Junior Kenichi Stewart recalls his experience with a friendship that turned toxic without a warning.

After learning from his toxic friendships, Stewart believes that one can notice a toxic person based on the way that they act. (Crystal Li)

“One of the toxic friendships that I experienced was with a buddy of mine. I thought I could trust him with my entire life and he was like a brother to me. Then one day he said that he hated me and that he did not want me in his life anymore. He also started to call me out on a lot of different things,” said Stewart. Because of the sudden personality change, Stewart was left in shock. He felt hurt by his friend’s words but soon retaliated and called his friend out for the things he did wrong in the friendship.

“It was really weird because we have been friends for so long, and I still do not understand what happened. Even though it was strange that our friendship ended like that, I do not have any intention of fixing it because I had given him multiple chances,” said Stewart. Sometimes, a second chance is not worth it in a friendship if it constantly leaves you drained.

Some toxic friendships are more of a slow burn, while others can turn sour in an instant. Either way, they ultimately leave a person overwhelmed and confused. It takes time to heal from a toxic relationship, but a person will become stronger and they will know what personality types to avoid when looking for new friends, as well as how to be a better friend themself.