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Toxic Friends- When Enough is Enough

Updated on April 20, 2011
True friends are there when you need them.
True friends are there when you need them.

Friends are great. They laugh with you, share your secrets, give you a shoulder to cry on and are fun to be around. Most friendships start out that way. Some friends turn out to be lifelong friends who are more like family. Other friendships change over time. Sometimes people drift apart and you become more like acquaintances or you just lose contact.

What happens if you have a friendship that used to be wonderful but has turned negative? Your friendship has become draining and not fun anymore. You find yourself doing things you wouldn't normally do for your friend. Maybe your friend just disappears when the going gets tough. Maybe there are other things going on. Your friend stops listening to you, puts you down, cuts you off or constantly complains. You wonder why your friendship has changed and what you could have done wrong. Could it be that this friend has always been this way and you just never noticed it? You think, 'maybe its just me and I'm imagining this.'.

These are all examples of a toxic person and sadly they are everywhere. You find them at work, at church, next door and you probably have one or two of these types in your family. If you have a feeling someone in your life is not good for you, you are probably right.


Real friends listen to you up when you are down.
Real friends listen to you up when you are down.
Your best friends love you no matter what.
Your best friends love you no matter what.

Is Your Friend Toxic?

If you are already asking yourself this question, then the answer is most likely yes. Keep in mind, nobody is perfect. Sometimes we or our friends are going through a rough time and aren't acting like ourselves. We've all made a hurtful comment or complain endlessly to our friends. If a friend is doing these types of things constantly it's a different story. If you have a talk with your friend about her behavior and nothing changes she is toxic. Here are some red flags.  Please keep in mind that even though I'm using the pronoun 'she' as an example, a toxic person can be male or female.

She puts you down. Snide and belittling comments, especially around others. Friends should never do this to each other. Especially when others are present.

It's always about her. You've had a bad day, you broke up with your man or lost your job. Maybe something really exciting happened and you want to share it with her. You're in the middle of talking and she cuts you off and starts talking about something trivial. She just chipped a nail this morning or she can't afford that designer bag she's been eying. Was she even listening? She does not seem to realize you are upset... or care. When you finally do tell her what's wrong, she displays phony sympathy and goes back to talking about herself.

You are doing things you don't want to do. You don't feel like going out tonight, hanging out at her place or meeting her for coffee but you find yourself doing it anyway. She might even have you running her errands. Her guilt trips always seem to work and you are never happy when the both of you are hanging out because you didn't want to be with her to begin with.

She is negative. Your friend is constantly complaining, has an unpredictable temper or is always upset about something. You dread her phone call because she isn't calling to chat. She'll keep you on the phone complaining or bad mouthing others. Once your off the phone you are drained emotionally.

Your other friends don't like her. Sometimes our friends see things way before we do. Listen to your other friends and ask them to give you reasons as to why they do not approve of your friendship.

She crosses lines. Your friends should never insult your family or closest friends. Even if you are fighting with someone you love and vent to her about it. That should always be off limits.

She is too competitive. Is your friend always trying to one up you? A guy is flirting with you at a club and she tries to steal the attention. You spot a pair of jeans you want but can't afford them and the next time you see her, she's wearing them. Maybe you just scored a raise or lost a few pounds and she isn't happy for you. Does she always remind you about how she's richer, thinner or prettier? The reality is that she is probably insecure and jealous of you and it's only going to get worse.

She uses you. She wants to go out but then something better comes up and she blows you off. You end up paying for her drinks or for dinner when you go out. She never pays you back. Are you the one always stuck driving when you are hanging out? She's taking advantage of your good nature.

She has too many issues. You have enough problems. You don't need an emotionally imbalanced person to add to it. Does she create her own problems? Does she use drugs, drink excessively or get into a lot of trouble? It's one thing when people have problems and try to better themselves. Toxic people don't think they have problems. They think other people do.


Friends who care about you don't want to see you sad.
Friends who care about you don't want to see you sad.
It's always fun to be with your best friends.
It's always fun to be with your best friends.

Why Do I Attract These Types of People?

Don't be too hard on yourself. These types are everywhere. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be male or female. Sometimes you keep someone in your life because you've been friends since children or because you've been through some things together.  You may have invested so much into this friendship that you want to make it work.

People who have a history of attracting these types usually have a good nature or are a bit too nice. People who come from dysfunctional families usually have a lot of toxic people in their lives. What matters is that you know now and you can start eliminating these people from your life. Knowing what to look for early on can prevent toxic people from entering your life to begin with.

How Do I End the Friendship?

Trust me, if you continue the friendship, it will begin affecting you. You don't want to hold in all your resentment and frustrations because it will eventually come out in a negative way. Having toxic people in your life wreaks havoc on your self worth and confidence. You may even become a toxic person yourself.

Sometimes the best way to end a friendship is to simply distance yourself from that person. Don't make plans and have an excuse ready if she wants to see you. Don't call just to chat and don't take her calls. When you do talk to her, let know that you've been busy and it's hard to get together because of it. It's okay to say that some of your interests have changed and you don't think you have much in common anymore. It's always best to remain on friendly terms.  This is especially important if you have mutual friends.   

Dealing With Toxic People

Preventing People Like This Into Your Life

I've had a lot of experience with toxic people. For a while there it seemed like just about everyone I knew was bringing me down. It was difficult but I managed to eliminate people who were affecting me so negatively. These days I'm just a bit more cautious of who I trust and let into my life.

Being a loving and trusting person is a beautiful thing- if you love and trust the right people. Keep your guards up around new people. Realize that true friendships happen over time and that a person must earn your trust before you start telling them things. Trust your gut. If someone gives you an uneasy feeling, don't assume it's all in your head. Keep a distance from people who make you uncomfortable. Those are the ones you should always watch out for.

Your true friends are the ones that bring you up when you are feeling down and they don't knock you down when you're up. They love you despite your flaws and look out for you. Your real friends listen to you and respect you.

One true friend is better than a dozen false ones, and really, who needs a dozen jerks in their life?


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    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      4 years ago from Chicago

      Good morning Doc12ten,

      I appreciate your comment and opinion on it. I wrote this article a few years back. My intention was never to judge. There are going to be people in your life who do not have your best interest at heart. They may use you, rob you of your self worth and create problems in your life. Are these people 100 percent terrible? Of course not, but to keep people like this in your life because you don't want to be perceived as jugemental is a bit naive. I hope that clears up any confusion of what this article is about. Take care & thanks again.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Interesting article - thank you... but we are telling about a "friend", right? And the overall conclusion is to be judge, jury and hangman on that apparently toxic "friend" - right? There appears to be little reference in the article to other important considerations e.g. aspects of being a friend, discussing and repairing those aspects unilaterally judged as "toxic". I'm not suggesting that there aren't times to"move on" - but for completeness sake, it seems to me that there are additional perspectives (e.g. assessment of the person in the mirror) which are likely to prove critical to any decision to sever a "friend". Thanks again for the thought put in to the article.

    • chaitanyasaivb profile image

      Sai Chaitanya 

      5 years ago from INDIA

      Its better to stay from those friends, who has turn toxic. Because, It won't give better experiences for us, to continue our relationship with them.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I think I might be one of these toxic friends :(

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, Amymarie,

      I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this hub. Beautiful writing; lay-out; graphics, the entire presentation. I voted up and all the buttons. Because you deserved it.

      There is a lot of hubs on here about toxic friends. I had one toxic friend in my high school days, but he was a cousin, and that made it tough to kick him out of my life.

      But to be honest, he was responsible for robbing another friend and I of many good things and activities when we were in high school.

      In 1975 he was killed by a drunk driver, and he was no different for he loved booze, shady girls--even married one and had the prettiest girl. Anyway to prove that sometimes good comes from bad, the little girl wen to be raised by her grandmother and now she is a wonderful school teacher somewhere in the Carlolina's.

      My name is Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Ala., a rural town in northwest Alabama that reminds you of Mayberry, the town that where Andy and Barney lived. We are little, but proud.

      Anyway. I am going now to leave you some fan mail and become a follower.

      I cordially invite you to check a few of my hubs and follow me.

      Thank you in advance.



    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I had a toxic friend who sometimes put me down in front of others (eg."On, you are weak", etc) she'd brightly tell me. I let things like this go . She'd also flake out of arrangements at the last second. She made me feel bad, despite her other fairly good qualities...the bad outweighed the good. PS I'm not weak, just trusting, kind and caring, (and strong). I am now distancing myself from those types of people.

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      glad this helped you. I've been through this a lot. I think it happens more to people who are very trusting. Good luck to you!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a very accurate representation of a very toxic friend of mine. Time to move on as her behavior is having negative effects on me. Thanks for writing this. Glad I have seen this, it has really opened my eyes x

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      Glad you liked it Carly. I agree with you- sometimes it's better to just let go of someone than try to work it out. Some people just drag you down and it isn't worth it. Thanks for stopping by. :)

    • CarlySullens profile image

      Carly Sullens 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Amymarie, great hub! Thank you for giving us all permission to get out of these relationships! The days of trying to get along with everyone, doesn't work when some are so unhealthy.

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Right on V qisya! Life is way to short to be spending it with toxic people. Thanks do very much for stopping by!

    • profile image

      V Qisya 

      8 years ago

      True enough! Who needs toxic friends? They're poisonous btw...

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      hahaha, you two are funny! Toby Keith's song can apply to toxic people as well as toxic countries. That's the way I see it! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      8 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hey GF! As Toby Keith sings "We'll put a boot up your ass, it's the American way" except I think this might apply to most countries :))

    • fpherj48 profile image


      8 years ago from UpstateWestern,New York

      Hey Sunny....GF!! THAT"S what I say.....1--2--3...look out pretty poison, here comes my foot! LMAO!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      8 years ago from Orlando, FL

      "One true friend is better than a dozen false ones, and really, who needs a dozen jerks in their life?" ... Your final sentence says it all. Fantastic hub! I haven't had to many toxic friends but the ones I did have got the boot as soon as I felt the negative vibes. Fantastic hub!!

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Fpherj48, I'd be proud to be your adopted daughter! Thank you very much for reading & commenting! :)

    • fpherj48 profile image


      8 years ago from UpstateWestern,New York

      You can say this all again!! Throughout my life, I have been truly blessed with some wonderful & interesting individuals as friends....and cursed, as well, by a few quite "toxic." The latter fit nicely into a big black bag in the attic. We must waste no labor on excess baggage. If you were my daughter, I would be so very proud of you for your W I S D O M! I have all sons (4 of them!) and I AM quite proud of them....but, I think I'll adopt you! No need to sign any paperwork....there are no rules in imagination. You write, I'll read!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Wise words amymarie!

    • Bud Gallant profile image

      Bud Gallant 

      8 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

      This is very good advice. I'm a firm believer that there is a small percentage of people out there who are toxic to those around them, and being aware of this can absolutely save you from a great deal or stress and destruction.

    • tymmy profile image


      8 years ago

      I once had some toxic friends in my life, but I made up my mind to let them go and I did. Now my life is better without them. Great hub.

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks Pinky! So glad you enjoyed reading. Trust your gut always!!

    • pinkydoo profile image


      8 years ago from New York

      I can relate to so many of the "red flags" as I think of one specific toxic person who was (unfortunately) in my life! Yes, you must TRUST YOUR GUT!!! My gut kept telling me to, WALK AWAY from this person...but I didn't listen!!!This is an excellent, EXCELLENT hub!

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • profile image

      win her back 

      8 years ago

      Another particularly insightful hub amy.

    • amymarie_5 profile imageAUTHOR

      Amy DeMarco 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Im sorry that she passed away. I think you still did the right thing but it's hard because you care about them despite all the negative things. Thank you for reading. Take care :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Hi, I totally understand what you mean. I had a friend like this who always used me, and I just didn't see it, until a mutual friend told me to take a good look at what is going on. unfortunately I never saw her for a few years because of this and now she died last year, I feel so guilty for not seeing her, but I am adult enough to know that it couldn't and wouldn't have changed anything if I had seen her before, she had changed, not I, and that was the problem, but I do miss her terribly.


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