Toni Childs and Joan Clayton were more than friendship goals. They were life. I was in middle school when Girlfriends first came on the air, and in college when it ended. Growing up watching their epic friendship, it only made sense to want to have a friend like that. But when Girlfriends made its comeback on Netflix, I couldn't help but cringe at their relationship during my binge sessions. Toni's colorist remarks and Joan's self-righteous attitude were just the tips of the iceberg. They couldn't do life without each other. They were one another's soulmates. But their lives didn't complement one another. Instead, their codependency proved to be toxic to the point they would cross so many disrespectful lines, break-up, only to come back to each other again... until they didn't.
Suffice to say, it's so easy to find ourselves giving our lives to relationships. They're your person and we all need one of those. But over time, little and big things could add up to a codependent friendship that is beyond unhealthy, full of manipulation and guilt-tripping (even if it's subconscious). We all love our friends, but this type of attachment just isn't healthy. Here are the signs you could be in a codependent friendship.
1. You're A Fixer
One sign that you are in a codependent friendship is that you spend your energy trying to fix and solve your friend's problems, sometimes letting your own go unnoticed. You're always the first (and often the only) person they call to come and save them, knowing you'll drop everything and show up for them. You feel like you're the only person who can be there for your friend, and they let you because that's all they know.
2. You Feel Anxious If You Don’t Talk To Them
You tend to go beyond giving your friend a side-eye if you haven't talked to them in a while. In a codependent friendship, you can't function if days go by and you haven't spoken. You feel like you need to talk to them so they can guide you through your daily life.
3. You’re Selfless To A Fault
You find yourself sacrificing and putting your friend first with nothing in return. You rarely prioritize yourself because you're afraid you could come across as selfish. They might even say things to make you feel that way. In return, your own needs sit unmet on the back-burner.
4. You’re Jealous If They Hang Out With Other Friends
Especially without you. You know you're their best friend, and you believe they shouldn't have their own circle outside of your relationship with them. You find yourself getting envious and feeling threatened if they get too close with another person rather than developing a community of your own.
5. You Feel Drained
If you're honest, in a codependent friendship, you feel drained after spending time with them. Whether it's one always calling to use the other as a soundboard for their problems (big and small) or being extremely needy and clingy, making you feel guilty for having a life outside of them. You pour your life and energy into the other person, hardly ever filling your own tank.
6. Your Identity Is Tied To Them
In codependent friendships, you don't know who are you without them or when they're not around. Your self-worth, value, and identity are connected to your friendship with them. Yes, it feeds you, but you might feel like you're starving if they're not by your side.
7. You Can’t Make Decisions Without Them
There's a difference between wanting to share life moments with a friend, and feeling like you need their "OK" or permission to make those moments. Another sign of a codependent friendship is that you feel like you can't make any major decision without them. Taking a new job (especially in another city), dating a new guy, or going back to school has to go through their checklist of approval.
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