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8 Signs That You Might Be The Toxic Friend Of The Group

Love & Relationships

I hate to admit it, but I used to be a toxic friend.

The woe is me, glass is always half empty, feigned happiness friend. The chronic complainer that never seemed to have anything positive to say but you tolerated her anyway friend.


That was me.

At the time, I was going through a quarter life crisis that seemed to last five years too long. There, I made some of the worst decisions in my life that costed me friendships, jobs, and ultimately, it cost me myself.

Imagine looking in the mirror one day and not recognizing the reflection staring back at you.

In our lives, we may reach a point where we are our own archenemy. Be it a failed relationship, trauma, losing a job, falling out with family or friends – anything can happen to change our behaviors drastically. The deep rooted negative vibes, the black energy, clogged chakra thing eclipsing your positive energy is your accountability radar going unchecked.

When you stop to listen, it's telling you that you are ruining your life, and consequently, sucking the life out of those around you. Beloved, you have become toxic.

My come to Jesus moment came in the form a friend whose trust I betrayed. He made me face the music and held me accountable for my actions and their consequences. I was forced to be better.

It's tough to hear and you probably didn't notice just how bad it was, but the people around you do, and if you don't check it – and soon – this behavior will create more havoc in your life than the Mayhem man from the Allstate commercial. Toxic lifestyles work for no one. Ever.

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. And in order to admit you have a problem, you have to recognize what the signs are. Some are subtle, others not so much. Get ready to check yourself, boo.

1. You've Become the Negative Nancy in Conversations

Casual conversations about the weather, sports, or some viral video about cute kittens all trigger the same response from you. A tangent of negative criticism that, more or less, has nothing to do with the conversation at hand. You want to be a part of the conversation, but you cannot help but to have a fierce case of the negatives that spew with the intensity of a fire-breathing dragon.

2. You're the Epitome of a Short Fuse

Everything irritates you. EVERY. THING. The sound of cotton drying. The way people chew – well, that can be annoying, but for you it's 100x worse. People walking too fast or too slow, getting a medium fry when you ordered a small. Even the very sound of your voice can cause you to blow a fuse.

3. You've Become Petty Petisha and the Queen of Mess

You are not satisfied unless someone is swallowing a bitter pill, especially one that you have to give them. No shade left un-thrown, no curve left ungiven, and no means to an end of the drama that you bring with you. Some people find you entertaining, but others rue the moment you entered the room.

4. It Takes Battle Royale to Admit You're Wrong

It's a tough spot for many but you take the whole "never having to admit you're wrong" bit to a whole other level. You step on a crack and blame your shadow for blocking the light. You add salt to your tea instead of sugar and you blame the seasoning for looking similar. You break trusts and ruin friendships, and everyone is to blame but yourself. There's no end to the sword slinging deflection you'll use to avoid saying you're wrong.

5. You've Got More Rain Checks Than Lauryn Hill Ticket Holders

Dinner with the girlfriends at your favorite spot, rain check. Brunch with your cousins from out of town, rain check. Movies with your best friend to see the new Marvel flick, rain check. Friends and family curve you, but have never given thoughtful and logical reasoning for not wanting your company. Your invites to hang out and fellowship with friends quickly become rain checks or no invite at all.

6. You've Gone From Popular to Blocked

Your status updates are brooding, melodramatic, and all have the makes of a Shakespearean tragedy and your followers are just about fed up. You're a virtual vibe killer, with your life-loathing statuses taunting and harassing those that just want to see cute kittens and hilarious puppies on their timeline. You're a full-on buzz kill.

7. You Have An Involuntary Abundance of "Me" Time

Before you would have to set aside a set amount of time per month or per week to have your "me" time. Now you have more time than you know what to do with. Your social calendar is not popping. Your recent call list is abnormally dry. And you retreat to your hallowed halls like Bruce Wayne to the Batcave when he wants to obsess over his latest arch nemesis. Wednesday Addams is the poster child of extroverts compared to you.

8. You're A Grudge Holding Curmudgeon

Along with your short fuse, you have the memory of an elephant and the stubbornness of a mule. Anyone that allegedly does anything against you feels your wrath. Someone accidentally steps on your pumps, they're on the list. Someone gives you blue cheese instead of ranch dressing – on the list. Someone gets stuck in traffic and is late to dinner, on the list. Mole hills become mountains and you become the hermit that dwells there.

When it comes to curbing toxic behavior, the thing that matters even more than examining your own behaviors is getting to the root of your issues. Discovering your "why" alongside the "how". Why are you dwelling in and acting out negative energy? What happened that put a full stop on the way you show up in the world? What or whom has made you so unhappy?

Visit those feelings and discover what they mean by understanding the hurt you feel at its root.

Be cognizant of triggers and how you react to them and those around you. How you show up to people determines how they will react. Is there a shift in the atmosphere when you are present? Does the mood change? You have to be conscious of the energy, or rather the message that you send, when you share the same space with others.

Check your pride and ego at the door.

Featured image by Giphy

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Staples.

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