Have you ever had a friendship that left you feeling drained, unhappy, or even depressed?
Many of us have been there before. We get caught up in toxic friendships without even realizing it. The signs can be subtle at first, but grow more apparent over time. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the top 10 signs of a toxic friendship.
You’ll learn how to spot the red flags, discover what’s motivating your friend’s behavior, and start to take steps toward a healthier dynamic. We guarantee you’ll be nodding your head in recognition more than a few times as we unpack the 10 Signs of a Toxic Friendship.
Table of Contents
1. They are constantly competitive with you.
Healthy friendships thrive on mutual support, not competition. But toxic friends always try to one-up you or compare themselves to you. They view your accomplishments as a threat and put you down to make themselves look better.
For example, if you get a promotion at work, they might say something like “Must be nice, some of us actually have to work hard for opportunities.” Their insecurity drives them to make everything into a competition when real friends would celebrate your success.
2. They are incredibly judgmental.
We all have faults, but good friends accept us as we are. Toxic friends, on the other hand, nitpick and criticize you constantly over insignificant things like your appearance, job, or lifestyle choices.
No matter what you do, it never seems good enough for them. Their judgmental attitude serves to chip away at your self-esteem. For instance, if you get a new haircut, they might say “Are you sure about that look? It’s not very flattering on you.” Comments like this reflect their own insecurities, not you.
3. They only talk about themselves.
Conversations with a toxic friend tend to be one-sided affairs focused entirely on them. They drone on and on about themselves without showing any interest in your life. Even when you try to change the subject, they quickly bring it back to themselves.
And if you share something good that happened to you, they barely acknowledge it before launching into another monologue. This self-centeredness shows that they don’t value you as a person, only what you can do for them.
4. They frequently cancel plans.
Flaky friends who constantly cancel or change plans at the last minute are inconsiderate of your time. Their behavior suggests that they don’t respect you or value your company.
While an occasional cancellation due to illness or emergency is understandable, frequently bailing on plans is a clear sign that the friendship isn’t a priority for them. You deserve people in your life who honor their commitments to you.
5. They only reach out when they need something.
One of the hallmarks of fake friends is that they hit you up constantly when they need something like advice, money, or favors. But if you need support, they are nowhere to be found.
Pay attention to whether your friendship feels like a one-way street. Are they only reaching out when they can gain something from you? True friends will reciprocate support, not just take.
6. They don’t respect your boundaries.
Toxic people trample right over healthy boundaries. No matter how often you ask them to stop doing something that bothers you, they completely disregard your requests.
For example, they might continue borrowing items without asking or pressuring you to divulge personal information you prefer to keep private. Friends should respect your boundaries, not stomp all over them.
7. They are excessively envious.
Beware friends who seem excessively envious of your other friendships, relationships, talents, or possessions. Their jealousy may lead them to make critical or even cruel remarks intended to minimize your happiness.
Their envy exposes their toxic inability to simply be happy for you. Sometimes they try to mask their jealousy with subtle backhanded compliments. But if you pay close attention, you’ll notice the bitterness lurking beneath their words.
8. They spread gossip or share your secrets.
Friends should build you up, not tear you down behind your back. Toxic friends secretly enjoy gossiping about you with others.
Or they may betray your trust by revealing sensitive secrets or personal details you asked them not to share. Their loose lips demonstrate that they don’t actually care about protecting you. True friends understand the importance of discretion with private matters.
9. Your mood plummets after spending time together.
One telltale sign of a toxic friendship is feeling drained or unhappy after hanging out. You might come away from your time together feeling annoyed, frustrated, or just plain bad about yourself.
Some friends lift us up, while others drag us down. Take note of how spending time with your friend impacts you emotionally. If you regularly feel worse, that’s a huge red flag to examine the relationship.
10. You feel like you’re “walking on eggshells”.
Trying not to set off a friend with minor things is exhausting. You feel like you can’t be yourself around them. Instead, you’re constantly monitoring what you say and do to avoid one of their temper tantrums or drama storms.
Good relationships should make you feel relaxed, not anxious. You deserve to feel comfortable being your authentic self around your real friends.
Final Thoughts on Signs of a Toxic Friendship
Those are 10 major signs that a friendship may be toxic. Trust your gut. If a friend leaves you feeling drained, unhappy, or on edge, don’t ignore those instincts.
Prioritize spending time with positive people who cherish you. Surround yourself with friends who inspire you to be a better version of yourself. Lifting toxic friends out of your life opens space for healthier, more fulfilling relationships.
If you’re interested in reading more, here’s How to Deal with Toxic People or The 13 Toxic Personality Traits that can Poison Social Relationships.
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