7 Signs of a Toxic Friendship (And What to Do)

Is there one among your friends who irritates you sometimes? They could be childhood buddies or a coworker with whom you have a close relationship. Such friends frequently cause friction among your social circles, but it's difficult to tell whether they simply need everyone to be a little more forgiving or are toxic to your mental health.

Friendship is something we appreciate in life, and we have a lot of love and regard for our friends. However, love can often blind us to poor behavior and the harmful effects relationships can have on our lives. As a result, it's critical to be aware of the typical warning signals that a companion is not only toxic but also potentially hazardous to your mental wellbeing.

Here, we cover the warning signs of toxic friendships, which may help you re-evaluate your friendships.

10 Signs of a Toxic Friendship

  1. It's Always Them

    three older women friends sharing a couch looking at photoThey only show up when things are going well for them or when they require your help, such as financial assistance. They may phone you for an hour to chat about their problems, then pretend to be half-heartedly asking, "How are you?" before returning the conversation to themselves.

    Such friends are frequently unavailable when you are the one looking for help, however. Keep in mind that both giving and receiving support are critical to maintaining a stable and healthy relationship. If your friendship feels one-sided, your effort may be better spent with others.

  2. They Don't Respect You Nor Your Boundaries

    Mutual respect is an essential component of a happy friendship. When friends try to intrude on your limits by being close to you, they can take advantage of you. For example, they might try to force you to do things you don't want to do. Some might even go so far as to use your clothes and valuables without your permission. Being close friends does not provide someone unlimited access to your time and possessions. At the end of the day, this is disrespectful and intrusive.

    Friends who behave in this manner should be considered toxic. Of course, it's possible that it's not a bad intention. Such thoughtless behavior, however, should not be overlooked. If this is a problem for you, consider speaking with your friend about these behaviors and monitor whether the situation improves.

  3. They're Trying to Change You

    While having things in common is important, friendships flourish when two individuals acknowledge and accept each other's differences. A toxic friend might attempt to turn you into someone you are not. They may put you in awkward positions by asking you to do things you don't want to do. They may, for example, ask you to speak, dress, or act in a certain way. Be cautious of the differences between someone who consistently provides sincere advice and someone who frequently puts you down. We understand the value of friends constructively criticizing and encouraging one another to avoid potentially dangerous actions. Still, it's toxic when they put pressure on you to sacrifice your integrity.

  4. Drama

    Someone constantly inciting drama is perhaps the most common symptom of a toxic friendship. It usually ends up in chaos when they're around you. They are either arguing with someone and causing issues or witnessing incredible events all around them. Drama can take place in many forms, but one way or another, your get-togethers always end on a bitter note.

    Keep an eye out for drama, and don't encourage it. If your friend always escalates the situation, raises the volume, or consistently worsens the situations you are in, he/she may be a toxic friend.

  5. Uncomfortable Around Them

    You may occasionally meet and become friends with someone with whom you feel uncomfortable. Perhaps spending time with a specific acquaintance makes you feel nervous or upset. You're not sure why, but you feel uneasy when you're around them. Any friend with whom you spend valuable time should make you feel at ease.

    This is another clue you're in a toxic friendship. Take a closer look at yourself and your friends when you sense an uneasy feeling. It's either because you don't know what to expect or because you don't feel secure. If you cannot get to the bottom of this feeling and resolve it, this friendship likely is not right for you.

  6. Unpredictability

    Some people are a lot of joy to be around! Some friends, on the other hand, relish the challenge of being unpredictable. Although unpredictability isn't always a bad thing, you should be wary of their words or behavior that make you feel afraid, self-conscious, or intimidated. For example, a toxic and unpredictable friend might become furious and yell at you for minor things such as forgetting to turn out the lights or failing to return a borrowed item on time, but then act as if nothing occurred the next minute.

    If this is the case, be cautious with them. You may find it difficult to feel at ease around them if you never understand how they will react to any scenarios.

  7. Gossiping

    older women sitting together on the couch showing phone gossiping Gossip breeds suspicion and mistrust, especially if your friend is always gossiping about other people. When friends gossip about others, they are more likely to gossip about you too and should not be trusted with your secrets. Even if they do not gossip around you all of the time, perhaps you continuously hear things about yourself from people you have not shared it with. Friendships are often ruined by gossip, especially if it is persistent.

    While it's understandable for people to make mistakes and say things they shouldn't, toxic friends appear to thrive on gossiping, even when you ask them to keep sensitive information private.

  8. They Don't Apologize

    We all make errors, but part of honoring your friendship is admitting your faults, making an attempt to apologize, and promising to improve your conduct. Unfortunately, when you call out toxic friends on their behavior, they usually avoid apologizing or offer a flippant "sorry."

    Instead of apologizing, they'll say something like, "I'm sorry you feel that way," or a defensive "but." These non-apologies show that your friend is not concerned about the consequences of their conduct.

  9. They Constantly Put You Down

    Another indicator is that toxic friends rarely appreciate or compliment you. They will never congratulate you on your accomplishments or build up your confidence. On the other hand, they are more likely to kick you when you're down and make you feel like you need to do more. When others encourage you, they become irritated. You'll never be happy in the company of such friends.

  10. They Envy Your Other Friends

    They find it difficult to share you with other friends and become envious when pleased with other people. A toxic friend will always try to deflect responsibility and drive a hole between you and your existing friendships. They are jealous of your pals and will go out of their way to convince you that you are their only friend and that you are the only person who matters to them.

Do You Have a Toxic Friend? What Now? 

A handful of your friends likely share one or two of these traits. When determining which of your friends may be toxic, it is critical to remember to act with kindness and humility. Nobody is flawless, and we all make mistakes from time to time. While these warning flags are aimed at your friend, it's also important to be self-aware to ensure that you're not the toxic person in your friendship. Take your time and read through these indications as though they're about you. Then, make your judgment and think about how you might avoid such people and become a better friend!

Engage a friend in a conversation if you notice harmful symptoms in them. Think about your emotional triggers. Keep them in mind as you converse with them, and try to avoid heated fights.

To communicate your feelings, use "I" statements and be patient if your friend becomes upset and defensive. It will be a beneficial and welcome conversation for some friends. Others, on the other hand, may find the conversation offensive and pushy. We advocate starting the topic ahead of time so they aren't caught off guard and understand how their behaviors affect you.

If a friend does not care enough to change their behavior to better love and care for you, it is acceptable to quit the friendship. You might have to be patient and wait for anything significant to happen. Whatever the outcome, keep in mind that your mental health is valuable and deserving of protection.

It brings us joy when friends, rather than confronting and accusing, resolve conflict and repair ties. If the need for counseling arises, we strongly advise it. If your friend is willing to go to counseling with you, having a certified counselor assist you with your problems might be beneficial. Some friendships, however, should be severed because of repeated harmful behavior.

Some of you may not be able to relate to this, which is fantastic. Be thankful for the good people in your life. Continue to be a good friend to them and remind them why you are grateful for their relationship.

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