I'm willing to bet some pretty good money that within the past six months alone, you've read at least three articles about toxic relationships. Because of that, you probably already know what toxic means ("poisonous"). You are also probably aware of many telltale signs that you're involved in a toxic relationship or friendship.
But here's something that just might surprise you about toxicity. Did you know that some of the very things that prove to be lethal in heavy doses can actually be tolerated in smaller ones? Snake venom is one example.
When I first discovered that, it got me to thinking. With as much poison – "something harmful or pernicious, as to happiness or well-being" – that a lot of us take in our friendships, sometimes without even knowing it (at first), I'd venture to say that the same thing is happening emotionally. We're remaining in friendships that are not even close to being good for us because the poison that we're taking in is in such small doses that it's going undetected. Keeping that analogy in mind, here are five signs that one (or more) of your friendships is toxic and harming you—whether you realize it or not.
5 Signs Of A Toxic Friendship
1.They Don’t Celebrate You.
You know what's dope? The people who use their social media to big up their friends as much as themselves. The individuals who brag on their peeps more than they gossip about them. The folks who recognize when those close to them are trying to reach a goal and they use some of their own time and resources to help them out.
When you're young, you want friends to kick it with. But as you get older, you tend to want more of a support team. People who want you to win. People who are thrilled to celebrate your goals and achievements right along with you.
If you've got friends who are around when you're low but are somehow always MIA during your really good times—something is off. Unfortunately, some people are only around in the bad times because it makes them feel better about themselves. And that? That is toxic. A good friend is going to be there for ALL of the life experiences that you have. They will pull up in bad times and raise you even higher in good ones.
2.They’re Emotionally Manipulative.
This one right here? Chile, don't get me started. Some of us have been emotionally manipulated so much and for so long that we have no clue how to detect the signs. Let me help you out. If you've got friends who twist your words around, are passive-aggressive, give you the silent treatment when things don't go their way, constantly speak over you in a conversation, pressure you to do things you don't really want to do, make you feel bad for having your own perspectives and opinions, constantly criticize you or they deflect from their own issues—yes, you are being emotionally-manipulated and no, it isn't right.
3.They Can Dish What They Can’t Take.
The great novelist, poet, and activist Alice Walker once said, "No person is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow." Here's the thing, though. A good friend not only gives you the space and freedom to grow, but they also challenge you to grow too. In other words, they call you out on your stuff, tell you when you're dead wrong, and hold you accountable whenever you need it. And you know what? It goes both ways.
If you've got the kind of "friend" in your life who is all about telling you about yourself or pointing out your flaws and weaknesses but, at the same time, they can't receive any insight and constructive criticism you have to offer? Those kinds of people are not looking for friends; they are looking for fans. It can be another subtle sign of being in a toxic friendship situation.
4.You Can’t Give Five Good Reasons to Remain in the Friendship.
I say it all of the time. One of the best movie lines is from Love Jones. It's when Nina (Nia Long) was talking to her ex-fiance' about how things weren't working out. When he said that was hard to believe due to all of the time they had been together, Nina responded with, "All we have are all these years." #itwillpreach
Many of us have confused time for loyalty. In other words, just because you've known someone for years and years, that's not a good enough reason to keep them in the innermost realms of your life.
If you pulled out a piece of paper right now and you can't find five bonafide benefits that come from being in your friendship with someone, while it might not be time to cut them off, it's definitely (past) time to realign your boundaries.
5.The Friendship Is Stagnant.
Everything that's good and healthy in life is supposed to show signs of progress. Our careers, our romantic relationships and, yes, even our friendships. If your friends aren't helping and encouraging you to evolve into a better person – both personally and professionally – no matter how much you like them, something is subtly toxic.
Would you stay at a job or in a relationship for 10 years that showed no signs of growth or moving forward? Then why would you do that with/for a friend? My point exactly.
Do yourself a favor (and your real friends) a favor. Cut out the toxicity in your life.
The Self-Care Of Ghosting Toxic Girlfriends – Read More
My Female Friendships Have Been The Most Heartbreaking Relationships Of My Twenties – Read More
I Was 'Ghosted' By My Best Friends – Read More
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The Libra woman and Aries man are the divine feminine and divine masculine, coming together as one. The love compatibility between these two is one for the books. These two are opposite signs, however, their differences tend to complement each other well. This is a dynamic relationship where they know how to have a lot of fun together, but also aren’t afraid to deal with the more serious stuff that comes with a relationship.
The Libra woman is looking for her equal in love, someone who is willing to put in the same effort she is, and the Aries man sees Libra as someone he is willing to do that with.
The Love Compatibility Of A Libra Woman And An Aries Man
What attracts a Libra woman and an Aries man to each other?
There is a magnet of attraction pulling these two together, and things tend to move pretty fast in this relationship. The Libra woman is always open to love and her charming nature rarely has any challenges here. The Aries man fights for his independence and doesn’t sacrifice that unless he is completely enamored with someone.
Once the Aries man catches the eye of the Libra woman, he is typically the one to make the first move and this instantly wins the approval of Libra.
These two feel like they have known each other forever when they meet, and this spark between them doesn’t die down easily.
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What is the relationship like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The relationship between the Libra woman and the Aries man is one of balance and excitement. The Aries man tends to take on the more dominant role in this relationship and the Libra woman tends to be the more receptive one. Aries is ruled by masculine Mars, and Libra is ruled by feminine Venus. They understand they are coming from two completely different worlds, yet they also instinctively feel this underlying connection to each other and like they could be something each other needs in their lives.
The Libra woman can rely on the Aries man, and the Aries man never has to ask for the love that Libra already knows he needs.
This is a couple that is often reading each other’s minds and wanting to do a lot of the same things. However, not everything is rainbow in this relationship as well, and there are some major differences they have to overcome to make things work. One argument can lead to an explosion between these two, and addressing things when they come up rather than sweeping them under the rug, will be needed to make this relationship long-term.
What is the sex like between a Libra woman and an Aries man?
The sex between a Libra woman and an Aries man is adventurous. These are two cardinal signs with plenty of energy and stamina to keep things exciting in the bedroom. There tends to be a good give and take in this relationship, and their yin and yang energy benefits them when it comes to their sex life.
There is electricity felt between the two of them in this area of their life, and their power of attraction to each other is strong. These are two people who will want to do a lot of things together, including exploring sexually together.
The Aries man will have to be careful with being overly aggressive, however, as the soft Libra woman may not like this energy- it will completely depend on the two individuals at hand. The Libra woman wants to ease into things, the Aries man wants to get going right away. Learning about each other's bodies, and energy, and reading each other’s cues will help with this.
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What makes a relationship between a Libra woman and an Aries man work?
These two genuinely like each other, and that basis is a key factor for success in any relationship. The Aries man is straight to the point, direct, and inspired. The Libra woman admires these characteristics in others, as she is often herself finding her balance in this type of energy as well. Neither sign is overly emotional in a way that turns them off, and they both require a lot of the same things in a committed relationship. They want honesty, fun, good communication, passion, and to be moving towards a common goal together.
The Libra woman and Aries man don’t have a problem being real with each other and this is something they really value within the relationship. They are both very charming, and there is plenty of flirtation and attraction to keep this relationship going. Aries being the protector they are, Libra finds a sense of safety and ease in this energy, and like they have found their match. Overall, this is a well-balanced relationship and one where they don’t have a problem when it comes to compatibility or chemistry in the relationship.
What may cause a Libra woman and an Aries man to break up?
Libra is the lover, Aries is the fighter, and this energy may be tiring for the both of them after time. The Libra woman can be passive to a fault, and the Aries man who is not evolved, may take advantage of that. She will need to be careful with putting Aries’ needs above her own, creating resentment later down the road. The Aries man loves a challenge, and the Libra woman would be up for that game for a little bit, but if she is not being met in the middle, she will begin to look for other places. These two can have a difficult time keeping the peace in the relationship, and there could be a lot of arguments and disagreements here if they both aren’t willing to put their egos or self-pleasing attitudes to the side.
The Libra woman and Aries man are both more sensitive than they appear or come off as. They are also not necessarily the type to dive deep into their emotions and express them to others, even in their relationships. However, this energy can keep the relationship to a surface level than what is needed to progress and grow the relationship, and a sense of openness is required for this couple to work. Libra needs romance, she wants to be wowed. Aries needs to remember this and to always consider her love language.
Overall, this is a successful pairing. They will have their fair share of challenges in the relationship, but nothing they can’t overcome if they are willing to. The trouble will come in when it comes to the longevity of the relationship, keeping Aries excited and Libra in love. However, all in all, there is more power, attraction, and love to keep this relationship together rather than apart. No relationship is perfect, but this one is a little more blessed than most.
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