Have you ever wondered why when you are with a certain individual you always seem to feel bad about yourself? On the face of it, they are attentive, available and make time for you, however whenever you leave their company your self-esteem seems to have taken a battering and you can’t quite work out why? Well, I can tell you it’s no coincidence that certain people make you feel bad whilst others leave you feeling great. I have years of experience in this field because I have had a collection of so-called friends that I finally recognized were no good for me. This was through much trial and tribulation because at first, I refused to believe that they meant anything but the best for me.
Signs of a toxic friend
They encourage you to try on clothes you know will not fit you – whether you are in a shop choosing an outfit for an occasion or they bring over their own clothes for you to ‘borrow’ or whatever. The bottom line is that they coax you with lies such as ‘you never know unless you try it’ or ‘I bet this will look great on you’ or other such like temptation. It’s no surprise though that when you find that the said item/s look terrible or don’t fit, you end up feeling depressed.
They tempt you with foods you love when they are fully aware you are watching what you eat – they may do this subtly by having them lying around when you are in their company or totally blatantly by buying them for you.
They tell you something looks good on you even though another friend suggests you try on a larger size – They will pounce any time an opportunity arises to encourage you to wear or purchase a piece of clothing that clearly shows every bump and is unflattering for your figure but nevertheless tell you you look ‘amazing’ or ‘beautiful’ or other platitude. You may even begin to believe them until another friend gently tells you to the contrary.
Whenever you leave their company, you head straight for the fridge – you just don’t know why but you feel the need to binge whenever you leave their company. It could be that they’ve been tempting you with food or that they say a word here or a line there that ever so slightly puts you down. They seem to be masters at sucking out your self-esteem and leaving you feeling empty and inadequate.
You always seem to break your diet when you are around them – You may be in a restaurant and feeling really pleased with yourself as you have just ordered a healthy and nutritious meal. When it arrives however, this ‘friend’ surprises you by adding an extra portion of fries or treating you with a large helping of chocolate cake. You find this irresistible and can’t help but eat the ‘offering’ that leaves you feeling guilty and fat all at once.
They buy you chocolates and cakes as presents knowing full well you will be tempted to eat the lot in one sitting – It’s your birthday and you’ve specifically asked for non-food gifts from your friends. They are all aware that you are watching what you eat and happily omit any ‘guilty’ foods from their gift list. This ‘friend’ however does the exact opposite by buying you the biggest box of your favourite chocolates and dismisses your refusal by saying ‘go on, you deserve a treat. It’s your birthday!’
They encourage you to skip the gym and socialise with them instead – You’ve just joined the gym and have resolved to go at least once a week. Instead of encouraging you, this ‘friend’ finds different ways to stop you from going. You might have heard something along the lines of ‘Why don’t you come out with me tonight, the gym will still be there tomorrow’ or ‘but I’ve already booked the tickets, you could always go to the gym another time’ or ‘but it’s Friday, why don’t you relax, you deserve it after a whole week of work’.
They try and ‘hit’ on your boyfriend / girlfriend – They leave you feeling slightly uncomfortable around your partner. They may be subtly flirtatious, dress more provocatively than usual, opt to sit close to them or other similar action. It doesn’t matter what it is, the problem is that whatever they do makes you feel anxious. This might mean you seeking solace in comfort eating to assuage these feelings.
They tell you to dress casually for an occasion then turn up dressed to the nines making you feel instantly self-conscious – Your ‘friend’ invites you to an event telling you ‘oh, it’s just a few of us going for a quiet drink so nothing fancy’ making you dress accordingly. As you arrive, you realise with a heavy heart that everybody else is ‘dressed to kill’. You spend the evening feeling unworthy and an outsider unable to enjoy yourself.
SO, as painful as it may be, you need to seriously consider expelling these people from your life, or if this is not possible, try and drastically reduce the time you spend with them. They will not only hinder your weight loss progress, but they will also poison and sabotage your life at any opportunity. Believe me, these people are NOT your friends.
Written by Sherry Taylor
Author of The Anti-Diet Lifestyle