4 Things to Look out for in a Toxic Friendship


We tend to seek out advice for our romantic relationships way more often than our friendships, and I think it’s funny that we’re willing to put up with certain traits in a friend that we’d never settle for in a partner. To make sure you’re living your best and healthiest life, it’s important to make sure you’re not settling in any unhealthy friendships, too! Which is something I learned majorly in my 20s, as certain friendships faded out.

It can be hard to pinpoint what exactly makes a friendship unhealthy (other than negative energy), so here are 4 things to look out for in a toxic friendship – and then say #byeeeee:

You’re not yourself

Do you feel like you have to hold back or act differently when you’re around a certain friend? There are tons of reasons you might not feel comfortable being yourself – maybe you’re used to acting a certain way to please your friend, or maybe you just don’t feel close enough to really be vulnerable and express your true feelings. I had a friend that I didn’t see eye to eye with on certain topics, and I found myself holding back and tip-toeing around during conversations. Not how I want to feel around besties! Regardless of different viewpoints, you should never feel like you’re walking on thin ice in a friendship.

Emotional abuse

Every fulfilling and lasting relationship (romantic or not) requires some level of mutual respect. When it comes to emotionally abusive relationships, they can sometimes be super hard to pinpoint. Some signs of emotional abuse include: feeling used, feeling like your friend puts you down a lot, and not feeling like your friend listens to you when you talk (or talks over you). All of these things are unhealthy in any relationship and can have a huge impact on your self esteem over time.

Lack of empathy

Ever had a friend that just doesn’t seem to be able to relate to what’s going on in your life? Even if your friend hasn’t been through what you’re going through, a good friend will be able to listen, and at the very least, be there as a shoulder to cry on. If you have a friend that you avoid talking to about tough situations, or who doesn’t seem to be there for you when you do, it’s definitely a sign of a toxic friendship.

You’re together 24/7

Spending a ton of time together might sound amazing, but in reality it’s not the healthiest thing for a friendship (or any relationship for that matter). If you have a friend that you rely on for every decision you make, and you can’t do anything on your own (or be comfortable alone), it could be a sign of co-dependency. It’s important to not lose yourself in a friendship, and to maintain some sort of independence for your own well-being.

What toxic tendencies have you noticed in friendships?

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9 comments

  1. Over the last year or so I have had to face that I have a tendency to get stuck in these “toxic” friendships with women. Its something that really eats at me and though I have been able to cut ties with a few. There are still friendships that presently I am unsure of how to move forward in.

    One in particular I have been so close with for almost 7 years now. I realized recently, that though I thought we had been there for each-other through thick and thin, really its been me there for her. She has displayed numerous times her inability to show up when I need her to/when she should as my friend. I struggle with not knowing if I put too much pressure on my friends because I go above and beyond and just need to accept people for who they are or if I really need to completely re-identify with who I become friends with?

    Sorry for the long post! But I would love any and all advice.

  2. I totally went through (& still am going through) friendship breakups, and they are TOUGH. I recently ended a 12 year friendship with my high school bestie, and it was really hard but ultimately the best decision. We had nothing in common anymore, and she wasn’t doing the things I would expect from a best friend. I felt let down, angry, and decided I didn’t need that in my life.

    Thanks so much for sharing your struggles too. I’m glad I’m not alone!

    Christina | http://www.cuddlepill.com

  3. I love what you said about how we sometimes accept things in friendships that we never would in a partner. I never thought about that, and it is definitely a useful way of viewing friendships! I agree that if you are tip-toeing around a friend, they are probably toxic. Same with if they are not empathetic. I definitely have some friendships I need to re-evaluate in my life as I have some that fall under these categories!

    Mia | http://www.verymuchmia.com

  4. I found this very relatable and accurate. It’s never a great feeling to realise your friendship/relationship with someone is extremely toxic to yourself and you need to cut them out to come back to yourself and to accept that it’s for the best.

    Hannah | Ante Meridiem

  5. These are greats tips for romantic relationships too!
    I agree that most people are more patience and tolerance in friendships than in romantic relationships.
    I’ve found out that me putting high expectations on others have caused many of my friendships to fail.
    It’s great to have a romantic and friendship all wrap up in one. That’s what my wife is to me, my bestie!
    Great post!

  6. Just wanted to say thank you so much, that is true with my friendships in one of them the person really made me feel like she only cared about her self and never gave a dam about any of my feelings all the time, so I cut it off when there was to much negativety. Then in the other friendship I felt that certain topics you could not discuss or he would get angry and you had to tippy toe around him. That was cut off by me. I feel free much better and surround myself with positive people. Thanks for what you said, so true.

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