5 signs you are in a toxic friendship 

opinion piece

There are numerous songs written about the pains of heart break. Losing the one you love, the emotional and physical side affects of people’s worlds seemingly falling apart. However when it comes to friendships, we have more pride. When you break up with a good friend, you act as if you don’t care. When really, it can be just as painful as any relationship break up. We’ve all been there, having had a best friend that you thought would be around forever. Things change and people move on. But how do you arm yourself from falling victim to a fake friend in the future? 

There is no sure fire way to tell a friends intentions, especially at the beginning of friendships. Naturally over time peoples true colours will shine through, until then keep your guard up and your observation on point. 

Over the years I’ve come across many friends and acquaintances; a diverse range of people. It’s difficult to correlate any similarities in my individual friendships with these people and why they turned out to be so fake. It’s hard to pin point. Moreover, there are some similarities that I have noticed. If only I had been warned in hindsight I may not have wasted my time with such individuals. Below are my 5 main signs that your friendship is not as rosy as you anticipated. 

1. It’s always on you 

This is one of the more obvious signs, but it doesn’t always show in long term friendships, as people can get complacent and comfortable. If you feel within your friendship that the effort is one way – maybe it’s time to stop trying. Frankly, if someone who is part of a generation of people who walk around with their phones glued to their hands (sorry to stereotype millenials) can’t find 30 seconds in their day to message you; Perhaps, really you ought to accept that they don’t care as much as you do. 

Wasting your time chasing someone who isn’t interested in spending their time with you can be draining, and demoralising. The only way to stop this is to either approach your friend and discuss how you feel, or simply to stop making the effort. The way in which your friend reacts can often be a sign of how they view / value / don’t value your relationship. 

2. They are severely selfish 

Don’t get me wrong, your twenties are the perfect time to be utterly and completely selfish. And I get that. There’s levels to selfishness though – the trick is to tell who is around because you are of beneficial use to them? And who is around you because they genuinely enjoy your company? 

The reasons why your friends want to meet up, why they want to see you. Will often be a huge giveaway if their subconscious intentions are pejorative. For example: if a friend only contacts you when they need something from you, this pattern will emerge with clarity after the passing of time – try to nip it in the bud to avoid further hurt. 

3. Going with the flow 

If one of your friends seems passive in conversation, they could just be genuinely shy, or they could secretly hate you but despise confrontation? Alarm bells should start ringing in your mind if this person who is supposedly close to you, cannot express an opinion when they conversate with you. That portrays that they either don’t agree with something about you, they are secretly jealous or they talk about you to others. Of course, we can’t spend our lives being massively paranoid – we wouldn’t trust our own mothers. But if your friend exhibits a few of these traits, there could be some underlying reasons why. 

4. Misery needs company 

Good friends will contact you whenever they can, within reason. If you only hear from a friend when they are down, it could be that they just want you as a shoulder to temporarily cry on. This is fine as friends will help each other through tough times, the problem arises when this particular friend no longer has an interest in you when circumstances in their life become happier. This is pretentiousness. This is an example of narcissism. They need you to stroke their ego when things are not going smoothly, when all is well you get dashed to the side like an unwanted child’s toy. 

5. Enjoy the party 

We all go through chronological phases in our lives. The entirety of life is a learning curve. Most people at some stage have a phase of partying in their life – no matter how regularly they go out or how wild they are they enjoy the party scene. The party scene is great for temporary thrills. Sometimes it’s difficult to see amidst the alcohol fuelled nights out and drug binges who your true friends are. Stop partying and see who’s still around? Who wants to actually know you as a person when you become ‘boring’? 

Friends should be around regardless. Regardless if you want to get smashed everyday or you chose to read a book in the library. Why should it even matter? You accept diversity within people, and you accept them for who they are. 

If you have a friend who exhibits more than one of these traits towards you, then you need to seriously reconsider your friendship. It can be difficult and awkward to confront these things, but, as with most things in life – honesty is the best policy. Talk through how you feel and how it can be resolved. Otherwise just leave. Go and get yourself a better, loyal friend who’s there for life. Not just the parties or the good times. Forever friends. 

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Why you need to quit the job that’s making you miserable¬†

opinion piece

I get it. I really get it. You stay at that job you secretly despise because you feel you have no other choice. Better to be working in an unhealthy environment than not working at all, right? Right? 

Wrong. It’s all wrong, whatever your preconditioned thoughts on work are. Let me tell you, they are most probably wrong. Inevitably, any of us can end up working a job that we are not happy in. People stay for a myriad of reasons; out of comfort, laziness, financial commitments, fear of the unknown.  

It’s important you understand the message I am trying to portray. I don’t want to inspire anybody to quit their job and end up broke, up to their eyeballs in debt, and quite literally broken. No no no. 

Let’s face it, we spend the majority of our lives at work (assuming full time work). If you spend those days watching the clock, stressed beyond belief, feeling your blood boil; and every Sunday evening you get that sheer feeling of dread. You need to leave and chase your dreams. Time waits for no one. 

Now I do understand the apprehension before leaving a job… you are walking out into the unknown. The act has to be executed, and planned well. Here are my top tips to ensure the transition runs smoothly, and you are promised a happier working life: 

1. Saving face 

If you are staying at a job you aren’t happy in, because of severe financial commitments – this can be very tricky. What I would advise is that you maintain savings as much as physically possible. Set yourself a goal, for example, give yourself three months to save as much as possible and start moving towards your leave. If your bills outweigh your wages, perhaps even try to find a second job (temporarily) just to get you out of your current situation. You could also try selling unwanted items on eBay (believe it or not eBay kept me going when I lost my job a few months ago), having a clear out will also help you to feel more liberated and envigorated. When the time is right and you feel secure, you can hand in your notice and start again. 

2. Temp work 

In London there are so many work agencies that can help you find temp work – and this can be in a variety of industries. This really helps when you are between jobs / careers. It gives a steady cash flow, and you gain experience. You may even find a company that you’d like to stay at long term. Temping is a really great opportunity for graduates and job seekers alike to make up money whilst searching for permanent positions. 

Also, you can be a complete agency whore and sign up to as many as possible. Go with the one whom finds you a role first. 

3. Apply, apply, apply 

Even whilst you are at the job you want to leave, apply for as many positions as you can. If it’s feasible, speak to your manager and explain your situation. You cannot be fired for attending job interviews, you are well within your rights to do so. I know a lot of people feel very awkward about doing this, but I personally feel your manager should respect your honesty. Otherwise, you will continue to do so in secrecy – and this will make attending interviews very difficult. 

Now when I say apply for as many jobs as possible, I think a lot of people misconstrue what ‘a lot of jobs’ implies. I’m not talking about sitting at your laptop and applying for ten jobs. No honey. This is London, there are millions of people competing for job roles. It’s dog eat dog. I would say realistically, every evening apply for 20-30 job roles. 

You’ll start hearing back around two weeks later, this is when you’ll start organising interviews. You’ll also need to filter through and only attend the ones you feel are worth leaving your current job for. There are a lot of fabricated companies / agencies out there that are deliberately looking for staff to exploit. Don’t fall into the trap of leaving your long term job for a short term fail.  

I would advise (and I only know this now after a terrible experience), before attending any job interview to thoroughly research. Research the company itself, and if you have any pejorative gut feeling about the job. Do not go to the interview – they’ll be plenty of others. You see, desperation often makes us deluded, we convince ourselves the situation at hand is fine because we are desperate for a job. It’s important to always keep your cool in this scenario – don’t accept what you don’t deserve. Patience is key. 

4. Part timers 

Another option would be to discuss your situation with your manager, and perhaps have one day off in the week. Or cut down your hours so that you are able to attend interviews – having time off your current role to attend interviews can be one of the harder tasks. Particularly when you don’t get the job, you feel disheartened at losing money by missing work and wasting your time. But you must plough through. There will be hella rejection throughout this process, you have to take the rough with the smooth. 

5. Education is key 

Depending on your situation, perhaps you feel you don’t have enough education or skills to get into the field you want to. Remember you are never too old to learn. If you want to leave your job to study, it’s a great thing to improve your knowledge and skill set. 

Approach your employer and discuss the various options, maybe you’ll leave altogether, or continue to work part time until your studies are over? This really will depend on your personal situation. Another option could be temp work while you study, as there’s little commitment but it’s steady money. 

6. Social security

Now this is going to be an unpopular option, but sometimes it’s necessary. If you do end up unemployed, either by choice or not; remember that the welfare state in this country is there to help you. 

There is such a negative stigma surrounding job centres, and claiming benefits. You have to remember while you are out of work, this is money you are entitled to. It will allow you to have money to attend interviews, you can also claim housing benefit whilst unemployed if you are worried about not being able to pay rent. 

It’s not nice, it’s not glamorous and nobody wants to sign on. But actually it’s a great reality check, and I think it pushes you harder to get a job. 

When you think you have no options, this is always an option. It’s not a fantastic one, but it’s there to fall back on nevertheless. 

Conclusion 

Overall I would say that your health and happiness is what is most important. Chase your dreams, there is no point wasting your time in dead end jobs that make you miserable. I’m only 25, and I have witnessed individuals staying in jobs out of pure laziness, willing to put up with corruption, breaking laws and other terrible misdemeanours that you can’t even imagine. You really have to ask yourself, what am I worth if I don’t have the strength to leave this job, if I am willing to betray my personal morals and make myself miserable, whilst this company grows richer at my expense? 

There is a big wide world out there, and it is scary. But your dream exists out there, ready to be captured. If you don’t chase it, you’ll spend the rest of your life helping others chase theirs. 

How to stay motivated and deal with rejection 

top tips

I feel like after you leave university there is most definetly a lack of direction. And an innate need to find the perfect career right away. Even though we all know it’s going to take ample time, it can be difficult to hang in there. Especially if your current situation / job is making you want to give up on life altogether. 

Personally I continued to work full time after graduating, but even though I have been working (like a dog may I add) 58 hours a week and freelance writing in my spare time (you are right there sparse spare time when you work such long hours but if you have a passion, you simply WILL find time); I felt like a bum because I’m not doing a graduate job linked to my degree or what I have studied. I’m simply working a job to pay my bills, and that’s not what I want. 

So, de-motivated and lacking energy I decided to take charge; scouring job sites for hours on end. Applying for any job even remotely close to what I want to do long term. Spending hours on the phone to recruiters who may have had a suitable position – but I would need to first spend an hour in the evening proving myself to someone I didn’t know. But after all the hours and hours of tedious application. Comes the rejection stage. 

At one point I was receiving so many rejection emails that I was going to save them all, print them out and create a piece of monochrome,sassy art work. But the heart ache wouldn’t allow me to do so. I deleted them straight away, so that I wouldn’t get too disheartened. Even if your story is not the same as mine, we are all in different positions and stages of life. Rejection, unfortunately is something we will all need to deal with. And I think how you deal with it is important. It shows strength of character, it shows that you are not willing to give up, determination prevails and eventually you will be successful. 

I spent four long months applying like a mad woman, spending 100’s of pounds on attending interviews and missing work. But I did it. I got a job with a worthy title. The pay isn’t fantastic, but it’s a role I feel I deserve. 

So with all the rejection, hard work whilst maintaining a full time job.. how did I stay motivated? 

1. Never forget the end goal 

The mind is a strange place, and it can be easily distracted – often when you are attempting something very difficult in life your mind will convince you to try easier routes. Don’t even give in to the temptation. Remember your end goal and stick to it. Even if creating a mood board helps to motivate and inspire you, or writing may help to relieve pressure and share how you feel along the way. Whatever motivates you allow that to positively push you to continue down the difficult, but correct path for yourself. 

2. Surround yourself with positivity

I assure you there will be times where you will have emotional breakdowns. During these times you need strong support systems in order to uplift you, and help you keep going. Whether it be family you can speak to, friends you confide in, or simply crying down the phone to your boyfriend. Let out the frustration and listen to the ones who care for you. They know you will make it in the end, and it’s sometimes easier for them to see it because they aren’t the ones living it. They will remind you to stay positive. 

3. Deal with rejection effectively 

Everybody in the world gets rejected. But you know what, the most successful people in this world utilise it to push them further. Instead of letting rejection get them down, they use it in the opposite way and become even more motivated. Delete the rejection emails and letters, push them to the back of your mind and remind yourself that if this company has rejected you it wasn’t the right place for you anyway. Even after interviews if potential employers don’t even get back to you, just brush it off. Clearly you weren’t right for them. But you will be right for someone out there. 

Happy searching my loves, I hope this post reminds you that you are all worth it. Always strive to be the best and achieve your goals, no matter how difficult.