Toxic Friends

What Are the Signs of a Toxic Friendship – The Ultimate Survival Guide

What Are The Signs of a Toxic Friendship - Ultimate Survival Guide

Do you feel exhausted, frustrated, emotionally drained, and disappointed when you spend time with a certain friend? If you answer yes, you might be in a toxic friendship! 

The goal of any friendship is to share likes and interests with the other person, spend some quality time, and have enriching life experiences. A good friend supports you in your ups and downs and berates you when you do something wrong. However, a toxic friendship not only affects your well-being negatively but also affects your mental health and your self-esteem.

To know whether you really are in a toxic friendship, let us explore what are the signs of a toxic friendship.

What Are the Signs of a Toxic Friendship?

Healthy friendships involve meaningful conversations; they make the other person feel valued and radiate positivity. On the contrary, toxic friends belittle the other person and engage in harmful and controlling behavior. So, let us explore more about the signs of a toxic friendship in this article.

1.      They insult you and tease you regularly 

One of the tell-tale signs of a toxic friend is when they repeatedly tease or insult the other person despite knowing that it is harming or hurting them. Joking and teasing are a part of a friendship, but when overdone and especially if done on purpose is extremely toxic and harmful.

The next time anyone puts you down or hurts your feelings with their “jokes,” explain how they hurt you. True friends will feel bad and apologize for hurting you. However, toxic friends will tell you to “chill” and that they were “just joking” or call you out for being “too sensitive.”

2.      They keep on playing the victim

They take you on a guilt trip with them and make you feel guilty for the bad things happening to them. They keep on presenting themselves as a victim and feel that the whole world is out to get them.

Even if they have real issues, they don’t do anything to change the situation and constantly complain about it. You may first feel concerned for them, then you might feel frustrated, and after a while, a feeling of resentment for them might develop in you.

3.      They never take the blame

Even if they make a mistake or hurt you, toxic friends will never take the blame. They might make you feel guilty and put the blame on you for the situations that they are in.

4.      They manipulate you

The red flags of manipulative friends are guilt-tripping, gaslighting, and passive-aggressive behavior. They might use different methods to get things down from you to make you behave in a certain way or trick you into doing things you might not have done otherwise.

Such toxic friends leave you feeling confused and muddled about your behavior. If you feel this way, you might be experiencing emotional abuse from a toxic friend.

5.      They never seem happy for you and might be jealous of you

Being with them feels like a competition. It feels like it’s always you against them. In healthy friendships, the friends celebrate each other’s wins and are genuinely happy for each other, whereas in toxic friendships, the toxic friends constantly put you down and try to sabotage your success. 

They might also try to undermine or embarrass you by telling you to do things that might not be good for you.

6.      They don’t respect your boundaries

Setting boundaries and respecting them is not a strong suit of a toxic person. A toxic friend doesn’t respect your boundaries and consistently disrespects them. They might not even pay attention to your multiple pleas.

Not respecting boundaries is also a sign that the friend is very codependent on you and can’t function without your support. So, it is important to set firm boundaries with such friends and not feel guilty about it. Be firm yet gentle.

7.      They always want or need something from you

Whether spending time with them or lending them money, they might keep wanting something or the other from you. They might also make you feel guilty if you don’t provide for them. They might also keep a list of things you’ve done until now in the friendship and use it against you later.

8.      They don’t want you to spend time with others

They might get possessive, jealous, or even downright mean when you spend time with others. They make you feel remorseful for not being there for them and might dismiss any efforts you have made for them.

9.      They always criticize you

Genuine friends tell you when you are wrong or give you constructive feedback. However, if someone is constantly being negative and critical about everything you do, it is a tell-tale sign that they are a toxic friend.

10.  They don’t respect your values

Toxic friends pressure you into doing things that you won’t generally do. They might tell you to drink more often or date a certain kind of person you normally wouldn’t date, share a secret with them, or even open up to them about something you aren’t yet ready for.

When our core values aren’t respected, it affects our self-esteem, and toxic friends play on these exact emotions to get what they want.

11.  They are dishonest

They constantly engage in lies and deceit. Not being ready to share something with a friend is perfectly fine, but they are lying about things because they are jealous of you; it is a sign of them being toxic. 

A toxic relationship thrives on lies and dishonesty, but you haven’t signed up for it, so this is a sign for you to bid adieu to this friendship. A friendship is a space where you feel safe, not a place where you constantly have to walk on eggshells.

12.  You have outgrown them

Sometimes, the other person isn’t being toxic, but you have simply outgrown them. Hence, what they do or say might feel toxic to you.

As we progress in life, our dynamics with other people change. It can also happen with someone you have been friends with for a long time. Accept this fact and move on.

13.  You feel drained after spending time with them

After spending time with them or even after a telephone conversation with them, if you feel mentally and emotionally drained, it is a sign that they are toxic to you.

Toxic friendships can take a huge toll on your mental health as you are always trying to please them or convince them. This keeps you from doing other things properly or spending time with others. 

14.  They don’t empathize with you or accept you for who you are

If they go cold when you are upset or seem unconcerned when you are having a hard time, they are not being good friends. They will try to fast-forward to more fun conversations and ignore your problems.

Toxic friends will not value you for who you are and will always try to get something from you that benefits them.

On a Concluding Note 

So, what are the signs of a toxic friendship? We hope you got your answers. Understand, healthy friendships are supposed to elevate you in life and not put you down. Don’t blame yourself if you encounter toxic friends in life. It means you simply care too much for others, and others don’t reciprocate the same way.

If a friend displayed some or all the earlier red flags, they might be toxic for you. Look out for your mental health and well-being by setting firm boundaries or distancing yourself from them, if needed. If nothing works out, reach out to a trusted person or a clinical psychologist for professional help.

Vishakha Naware

About Author

Vishakha Naware is a foreign language trainer, content and fiction writer and poet. Languages are not only her bread and butter, but also her passion. A former journalist by profession, she loves weaving stories and telling tales. She is also a keen observer and likes to use her observations in her writing. She is also an inquisitive traveler and a culture enthusiast who loves exploring and learning about new places and people. She loves cooking and baking, reading fiction books and binge-watching thrillers in her leisure time.

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