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Folk, we have different complex and challenging relationships — business, friendship, marriage, romantic. Most people forget that friendship falls under the relationship umbrella, and like with most associations, it requires some nurturing, a lot of wisdom, and discernment. From the on-set, most forged friendships, if nurtured, can morph into beautiful life-long relationships. There is, however, a downside to these bonds and friendships. When we miss or ignore some red flags, what started as something beautiful denigrates into a nasty and toxic relationship. Domestic violence and abuse are recognizable when it comes to marriage or romantic relationships. As a society, we denounce domestic violence, abuse, and bullying. Also, we possess a lot of information on how and when to spot abusive partners in romantic or marital relationships. Unfortunately, abusive, and toxic friendships are neglected. Well, Akua Dede As3mp3 has news for you! In my opinion, toxic friendships are just as dangerous as the other social ills mentioned and are not just worthy of mentioning but deserve the same tools to spot the warning signs and address how to deal with abusive and poisonous friendships.

First, we have what I call tentative friendships. These friendships or what I call bonds, are unfortunately based on conditions. Such an association is contingent upon what a friend can get out of you! You will find yourself receiving telephone calls/texts and emails when said friend or friends have some form of financial or economic, and relationship woes. They never stop asking for favors! Woe unto you should you ever say no. Enough said! Oh, brother, try flipping the script and try to share your problem or ask for a listening ear too! God help you! This is when you have a light-bulb moment! It dawns on you immediately that the conversations are not equal, and you have been manipulated or used all along!

Second, we have the energy drainers, pretenders, drama queens and kings, and frenemies. The energy drainers complain about everything, even manage to complain about the sun shining! Wow! These friends make us feel awful after engaging with them. Their negativity suck the energy right out of you, leaving you feeling bereft, emotionally drained, and sometimes sick! Ugh! Hello the Pretenders! No, I am not talking about the movie “Pretenders,” this is real life humans faking friendship and pretending to be happy for your successes! Look here; you do not need me to tell you that in some associations, you will find friends who pretend to be happy when good things happen in your life. Huh? “As3mp3, how do you know they are only pretending to be happy for you?” Folk listen intently to their compliments and lukewarm, or over-exuberant praises. Have you observed how some friends simultaneously appear to or bask in your moments of glory and achievements, and still manage to slip in their accomplishments? It is as though they want to say, “yeah, you achieved this goal, but I also did better, or I am doing something… Let us usher in the drama queens and kings who bring so much drama into your life, and each time you are left wondering, “how the heck did I get into this situation?” The irony is these are the very friends who complain about people bringing drama into their lives! Remember, the friends who typically complain about drama are the very ones who bring them into your life! Oh, my goodness, do not get me started with the frenemies! A little tidbit, do you have an extremely competitive friend? Just take a pause and watch them. Do not get me wrong; a little competition is healthy but be mindful of the frequency and intensity of these competitions! We have the frenemies who love to talk maliciously about others to you in one breath, and in another speak ill of you to anyone who will listen. Folk, I have news for you, a friend who gossips to you about others will also chat about you to many. Frenemies never talk you off the ledge; if anything, they encourage you to jump off the edge. They endorse your disruptive anti-social behavior because it suits them to see you acting the fool!

Last, bullying, and abusive friendships equals TOXIC FRIENDSHIPS! Some friends are abusive and bullies. These rude friends continually put you down and never fail to point out your faults. They ridicule you in front of others by using derogatory language to describe you and claim it is all in jest. My dear, take it from Akua Dede As3m3p3, you are in a TOXIC FRIENDSHIP if you are experiencing all of this and more! You are in a TOXIC FRIENDSHIP if you find yourself laughing along a joke made at your expense because you are afraid diffusing it will cause awkwardness and tension. You are in a TOXIC FRIENDSHIP if you are nervous and sometimes scared to broach a subject that you know will irk or anger a friend. You are in a TOXIC FRIENDSHIP when you never know what your friend is going to say or do, or if they are going to treat your concerns and unhappiness with their treatment of you with disdain and contempt. You are in a TOXIC FRIENDSHIP when you are afraid to cause them annoyance when you speak up and feel helpless when they refuse to engage with you. Instead, they continually criticize, ignore, judge, gossip, and manipulate you, Folk this bullying and abuse 101! Yes, it happens in friendships!

Do not ignore the red flags! Trust me, you are not crazy or imagining any of the signs listed above. Guess what? Like abusive relationships in marriage, etc., rude friends are exceptionally good at what they do. They have perfected the art of making you feel like you are the problem, that you are provoking their mean and unashamed and appalling treatment of you. I know, I know it is sad, disappointing and disheartening when you come to that awful realization that your friendship has been non-existent, and what you thought was a long-lasting healthy relationship, was a tentative, conditional and sometimes abusive friendship. My respectful suggestion is for you to learn to stand up for yourself! Speak up! Please do not allow a friend to delegitimize your feelings or make you feel bad about yourself. The problem with bullying and abuse is, it chips away at your confidence if not prevented. NOTE! A friend must make you feel appreciated, liked, loved, happy, confident, and carefree. If you are not feeling any of these warm and fuzzy emotions, do something about it immediately! STAY WOKE! YOU ARE IN A TOXIC FRIENDSHIP! GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!

Golly! What is that aroma wafting into my delicate nostrils? Grilled fish with hot sauce and veggies, and chilled fresh coconut juice? I am out of here!!!

Okaaaaaay! I know I promised to touch on the other relationships romance and marriage, along with one of my pet peeves, scammers, fraudsters, and thieves, romance, and marriage, but please be patient. A few things have come up that need mentioning. It seems to be a year of exciting and fascinating Vice-Presidential picks. We have elections coming up, DNC, RNC conventions in the US and NPP, NDC manifestos… Akua Dede As3mp3 let us roll…


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