The signs of a toxic friend are subtle.

You may not know how bad your friend is for you because you’re caught up in your friendship. But you’ll feel the toxicity after some time. So, how would you recognize the signs of a toxic friend and deal with them? How would youidentifythis friend before he or she throws your life into chaos?

What is a toxic friendship?

Friendships are vital because they impact all aspects of our lives. Good ones are enriching; conversely, toxic ones are destructive.

Florence Isaacs, the author of Toxic Friends/True Friends, defines a toxic friendship as one with no balance.

One friend’s needs get met while another’s are forgotten. A toxic friend is draining, unsupportive, and focuses only on his or her feelings. He or she also gives tremendous stress.

Furthermore, you’ll find a toxic friend overly demanding. He or she will take a lot from you but won’t give anything back.

Why a toxic friend isn’t harmless

You may shrug off toxic behavior, but it isn’t as harmless as you think.

We usually react to sarcastic or selfish friends with anger and disdain. Once the feeling subsides, all that’s left is negativity. The unwanted behaviors of derision, judgment, pettiness, and distraction take over.

But you’ll probably be reluctant to let go of your friend. You may believe that he or she is the only friend you have. Therefore, you put up with your friend’s poor treatment of you, all the time grumbling behind his or her back.

The result? You become defensive, cynical, hate-filled and irritable. In short, you become toxic yourself.

10 Signs of a Toxic Friend Who Is Poisoning Your Life

So, the consequences of a toxic friendship are negative at least and disastrous at worst. It’s essential to identify the signs of a toxic friend and address them before they ruin your life altogether.

1. Focusing on negativity

Do the phrases ‘I’ll never pass the exam,’ or ‘Things will never change,’ sound familiar?

Toxic friends would, first of all, never look at the bright side of life. They will resist all attempts to get them to see the light – the Light of Positivism.

Such friends will destroy your motivation and lower your mood. Therefore, you should deal with the behavior before it overtakes you.

2. Toxic Friends Are Poor Listeners

Also, toxic friends, rarely, if ever, listen to your problems. Friends share their worries with one another; they believe in mutual understanding and support. A toxic friend would demand that you’re there when he or she is down but is hardly around when you feel the same way.

3. Toxic Friends Criticize

Furthermore, toxic friends are hypercritical. They are quick to point out your flaws but feel resentful when you do the same.

While constructive criticism is useful and at times even life-changing, relentless, negative put-downs are the complete opposite. If you feel that your friend’s constant critique makes you unable to talk to him or her, he or she is probably toxic.

4. Toxic friends are quick to anger

Moreover, toxic friends are quick to show their temper, either passively or aggressively. They blow up or refuse to speak to you over the smallest oversights. If you always feel guilty or apologetic for trivial reasons, you have a destructive friend.

5. Toxic Friends envy your success

A true friend is the first to congratulate you when you achieve milestones in your life. A toxic friend can’t, and won’t share your happiness. He or she won’t celebrate your success.

6. Toxic Friends love themselves

Toxic friends love nothing better than to talk about themselves. They are always the centers of conversations. However, they’ll give you the brush-off when you try to share your life with them.

7. Toxic Friends Don’t Keep In Touch

While it’s impossible for friends always to call one another, it’s essential to keep in touch occasionally. A toxic friend will have no interest in maintaining his or her relationship with you.

8. Toxic Friends Don’t Think About Your Feelings.

Also, toxic people don’t consider their friends’ feelings. They say everything off the cuff, assuming that you won’t mind. But they’re quick to lose their cool when you step on their toes.

9. Toxic friends apply pressure

Toxic friends force you out of your comfort zone, often to better themselves and not you. While it’s essential to stretch your boundaries, being compelled to do so is unhealthy.

10. Toxic Friends Won’t Change Their Behavior

Finally, a toxic friend won’t change his or her behavior, even if it benefits both of you. His or her pride stands in the way. The unwillingness to change and grow is toxic.

Dealing with the signs of a toxic friend

You’ll want to avoid destructive friendships. But doing so forcefully is like pulling an arrow out of your body; blood will gush out of your wound and drain quickly.

So, how do you go about doing it without awkwardness or ramifications that are even more serious than that?

1. First of all, acknowledge that it’s a gradual process, especially if the friend is someone whom you can’t avoid meeting. You may have to form other friendships and let him know a few times that you’ve moved on.

2. Also, all of us have learned that we must treat others with respect. For this reason, we’ll feel guilty if we avoid people, even if they’re toxic. Don’t think that you owe destructive friends explanations for not being as giving as you once were.

3. Talk to toxic friends where others can see and hear you. That will reduce the chances of outbursts happening.

4. Block destructive friends on social media. That decreases the likelihood of social or emotional bullying.

5. Reiterate your boundaries. State that they have crossed your line with their behavior. Don’t argue because that will give them a reason to negotiate the relationship, or make it seem that you’re the one at fault.

6. Consider distancing yourself if you can’t separate from a toxic friend. Choose not to attend non-essential activities.

In all, if you recognize the signs of a toxic friend, you can do so gradually, in a healthy way.

Like what you are reading? Subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss new life-advancing articles!

Copyright © 2014-2024 Life Advancer. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Lauren

    My ex-friend he was giving his girlfriend priority over his friends and I felt like it was wrong for him to do that. Ηe wouldn’t listen and he never made time to hang out. He said that I would be going on a run with him or to lunch with him. Neither thing happened because of you guessed it his girlfriend it’s gotten so bad that I can’t run past his house without feeling sick or like there’s a knot in my stomach.
    I ended the friendship with him a few days ago and the symptoms are still there and I do few guilty for calling him out on his behavior, of course, his response was she’s his girlfriend but I shut him down and told him to text me when he gets his priorities straight.

  2. Eli


  3. firegoat

    I totally see this in my relationship with my ex that I allow to stay in my home ..

  4. Tiffany

    my cousin and I were so close but I realized after a while that I was starting to get hurt by what she says. She always thinks that others are in the wrong, not her and she would pretend like she told me something which she did not and say that I was not talking to her before hanging up. The next day, she would pretend like nothing happened and whenever we have fights, she expects me to beg her to talk to me and would act like I did something wrong if I did not

  5. Richard

    My God Folks……
    I just ended a toxic friendship that had lasted 52 years…..I don’t even know where to begin. But I can say this…….the chains that keep you involved, exist in YOUR head. YOU have the power to separate. The abuser may be VERY skillful as was the case with me. But, its very recently over and I am just starting down the road of freedom.

  6. Kevin

    I think I would have disavowed any hint of ‘friendship’ with such a person after about the 3rd item within the listed. Not necessarily the first 3 items, but after the third time one of the issues clearly manifested itself. … … … … But then again, I also believe that articles like this one may actually exhibit the same behavior that it condemns! Because just imagine if someone you considered a friend actually thought that way about you? And what if your friend who viewed you like this may be wrong about you? … … … … And who should care this much about putting a so-called ‘toxic’ friend into such a negative category as that? Truly, could not some friends be viewed as toxic not because of how they view us but because of how we view them, and thus, may actually be considered ‘toxic’ due to flaws within one’s own self and not within their so-called ‘toxic’ friend? Seriously, who’s to say? …. …. …. Moreover, why should any person seriously judge any friend so harshly as this article suggests? And could not a truly ‘toxic’ person still be a very good friend .. who may be going through very difficult times within their own self? … … … … But I digress, and like I said in my first sentence, ..if one of my friends truly possessed all ten of those traits .. then I probably would have discontinued calling that person a ‘friend’ after about just three of the listed issues. … … … No law says we must consider everyone a friend. Facebook is a prime example. Most people are NOT friends. They are merely acquaintances who the individual just happens to have accepted their so-called ‘friend’ status.

  7. Hasti Varsani

    Well, I have a so-called best friend at school who thinks I have been with her since 2nd grade. She talks a lot about how her classmates make fun of her and how she had fake friends and ever since she started she continued on and on about it. She also thinks that since I became a School Prefect (in simple terms Hall Monitor) I have become so rude to her. Not only that she talks bad about my siblings she once said that my cousin is rude and once she said that she hates my little sister’s friend because they were playing a prank on her (SHE THINKS THAT THEY WERE FAKE AND SHE STARTED TO ATTACK THEM) not only that she gives me a bit of stress like when were told to return our school diary I didn’t have mine and she told me to come tomorrow (but guess What that was not necessary because the school diaries usually get thrown away and they contain personal info like phone number) But anyways this is all about my so-called bestie

  8. Anna Dantzler

    Am I the toxic friend?

Leave a Reply