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Can You Recognize the Signs of A Toxic Friendship?

Updated on October 6, 2016
Take careful notes of the signs of a toxic friendship.
Take careful notes of the signs of a toxic friendship. | Source

Toxic friends can complicate your life. These "friends" (and I use this word loosely) are more than a nuisance, they're parasitic. Precious time slips away as you deal with their negativity; and you're left wondering why you feel so despondent.

If you're ready to simplify and take control of your life, you cannot continue to condone these toxic friendships any longer.

Below are some signs that you have a toxic friend.

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1. They make you feel undeserving or guilty

A good indicator of a toxic friendship is that you will find yourself keeping good news from your friend because they always manage to make you feel undeserving whenever good fortune comes your way.

A friend will make you feel good about your accomplishments and success. They will not act self-centered or jealous. If you have a friend that unfailingly puts you down any time you've decided to share some good news with them, take this is a sign that this friend is very insecure and is taking it out on you.

Just because you have a friendship with this individual does not mean you should allow yourself to be taken advantage of. Don't let your friend's jealousy get in the way of your happiness.


2. Gossiping about people important and central to your life

A toxic friend will trash-talk the people who are most important to you. "Is it just me, or are your parents beginning to look really..old? I mean like ancient". Maybe they insult your parents, other friends of yours, your significant other, or anyone they've noticed you talk to- whomever they're insulting, in the past, you make have taken these as little jokes or just shrugged it off.

However, again, this is the sign of a toxic and jealous friend. They may not be implying "I'm jealous that you have great parents". It could be jealousy over something that is completely unrelated to your parents.

This is really unacceptable of a friend to do. They should not go out of their way to make you feel bad- even if it's just a little or very subtly done.

Inability to trust them with your significant other is a big warning sign of a toxic friendship.
Inability to trust them with your significant other is a big warning sign of a toxic friendship. | Source

3. You can't trust them to be around your significant-other

This is a pretty big sign. If you'd rather eat glass than leave your toxic friend alone with your significant other, take that as a sign that you have strong distrust when it comes to this person. Personally, I always would find myself asking "how can I be friends with this person that I can't even trust?".

Trust is so important in your relationships with others. Continually having friends that you distrust or maintaining these types of friendships can be detrimental to your future relationships. You may find it hard to trust new, potential friends or significant others if you continue to surround yourself with a toxic friend.

Whenever I make a new friend, I always trust them- unless they do something to prove me wrong- repeatedly. If I maintained my toxic relationships for a long period of time, I would become very reluctant when it comes to new people.

4. They never take any fault

Toxic friends have a tendency to never take fault for any of their actions. If they hurt you, they'll probably pretend they had "no idea" that what they did was going to make you upset. "If I had known it was a big deal, I would have ever slept with your husband!".

Maybe it's not that extreme. If you notice this at all, realize that there's a really, really good chance that this person knew what they were doing and either a) wanted to intentionally hurt your or b) is completely self-centered. (I guess a) also falls under "self-centered".

But, why would your friend to intentionally want to hurt you? They probably want to bring you down to their level. If they feel bad or jealous or whatever, your friend is trying to make you feel worse, so they can feel better about themselves.

5. They don't respect your privacy

If you find that your friend is constantly spilling your secrets, it's because they don't respect you or your privacy. "Remember that time you got genital warts? Oh, was no one supposed to know about that? If I had known it was a big deal..."

If you friend doesn't respect you, your friend also doesn't trust you. What's a friendship with no trust from either party?

6. You find yourself saying "But, we've been friends forever"

If you have to constantly justify your friendship to keep the relationship alive and the only thing you can come up with is "but we've known each other for forever", this is a pretty good indicator of a dying friendship.

You and your friend should both be getting something positive out of your relationship. After all, it is a friendship, isn't it? If you are doing all the giving, and receiving nothing beneficial from this relationship, it may be time to let go of this friend. For the better.

7. You can't be you!

Do you feel judged by your friend for the things that make you who you are? Friends need to accept your differences and love you for who you are. If you can't be yourself because you're afraid of what they'll say to you or how they will act or treat you, then you should probably consider spending less time with this person.

If you continue to hang out with someone where you have to constantly manage and monitor what you say so you can fit in with their ideas, this will be detrimental to your happiness and future ability to be open with others for fear of judgement.

Jealousy is probably much of the source of your friend acting resentful, hurtful and downright mean.
Jealousy is probably much of the source of your friend acting resentful, hurtful and downright mean. | Source

Removing the Toxic Friends from Your Life

It's in your best interest to remove toxic friendships from your life. Continuing these toxic relationships will harmful to your identity, future relationships, your ability to trust and open-up and your overall happiness. This stress may also put you at higher-risk for certain health problems. Is it worth risking all of this for a toxic friend?

If you decide to cut this person out of your life, understand that this could be emotionally difficult for you to do and your friend may not make it easier either.There's no easy way to end a friendship, although there are helpful resources to turn to in deciding how to end your friendship- if that is what you choose to do.

There are good people out there, and finding them is always hard. Ending a toxic relationship will only lead to a new and fresh beginning. At this point, this is probably something you desperately crave and need. Friendships should make YOU feel GOOD! You deserve to have a wonderful friend and to be loved.

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  • Larry Rankin profile image

    Larry Rankin 23 months ago from Oklahoma

    Great overview of how to evaluate the toxicity of a relationship.

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 8 months ago from Long Island, NY

    You included a lot of useful ideas here about how to recognize when you have a toxic friend. I've had me share, especially one who I've known since childhood. However, a few years ago I learned that it's best to part ways when he started doing the types of things that you spoke about.

    As you also mentioned, it's not healthy to keep these people in our lives.

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