It’s common to have a toxic friend. Whether it’s someone you’ve known for a long time or a new person in your life, you may find yourself surrounded by people who don’t support your interests or goals. For example, they may make fun of everything you say or dismiss anything that concerns you is unimportant.
These types of relationships are hard to spot because they often start as a positive influence in your life – a friend who makes you feel good and boosts your self-esteem. But over time, the relationship becomes less positive and more negative because one person gets tired of supporting the other without getting anything in return.
In this article, we’ll learn how to recognize when someone is no longer helpful, but harmful, so you can take steps to improve this type of friendship – or end it altogether if necessary!
You Always Feel Worse After Spending Time With Them
If you feel bad after spending time with your friend, it may be time to break up the relationship. There are many signs of toxic friendships, and one of them is that they make you feel worse about yourself.
If your friend is constantly making comments about your appearance or personality, it’s a sign of toxicity. It’s important to know that befriending someone who makes you feel small will only make you feel smaller.
There are many reasons why a friendship where people make fun of you or belittle you can be considered unhealthy:
- They make fun of how much money you make or how much power they have over their career path.
- They criticize your appearance (your body shape/weight).
- They give you unsolicited negative advice on how to live your life better.
They Are Never Happy About Your Successes
In a toxic friendship, the other person will always find something to be upset about or criticize. If you tell him or her that you have a new job, he or she’ll immediately make comments like, “Oh man… they sure pay well there,” or “I wouldn’t have done that if I were you.”
If it turns out that the other person doesn’t have anything good to say about your success, it’s time to ask yourself if they care about you.
Often people are jealous of others because of their shortcomings or failures in life. So, if someone isn’t happy about your success and says negative things about it instead of congratulating you for achieving something significant, it could be because they’re jealous and don’t want others to succeed too!
They’re jealous of your successes. If someone is jealous when something good happens to you, there may be some resentment between the two relationship partners.
They’re Quick to Point Out Your Flaws and Mistakes
If your friend is constantly pointing out your flaws and mistakes, it’s a good sign that he or she may not be the best person in your life.
However, if they instead make fun of your flaws and humiliate you in front of others, it’s a sign that they don’t have the best intentions regarding their friendship with you and are only using it to make themselves feel better or to derive status from the successes of others (and therefore yours).
They may be your friends in name, but they don’t act like it. A toxic friend makes you feel bad, and that makes the relationship toxic.
You might get the feeling that this person enjoys seeing you fail or go through a difficult period in life because they take every opportunity to point out what went wrong with things you did or didn’t do – even if you couldn’t have known beforehand that something would go wrong!
They Gossip About You Behind Your Back and Then Pretend It’s a Joke
When they make jokes at your expense and laugh about it, it’s not funny. It’s hurtful and means – and it shows that this person is toxic. They may say they’re joking, but if their words cause pain, they aren’t good friends in your life.
If someone treats you this way repeatedly over a long period, it suggests that he or she’s not just rude or insensitive from time to time (which would make perfect sense), but is up to something deeper.
Instead of spending time with these people who treat you badly, spend more time with other friends who treat others well (and perhaps don’t worry so much about what everyone else thinks).
They’re Overly Critical of You
If someone is constantly criticizing you, he or she’s probably not your friend.
And while this is sometimes their way of trying to improve your life, they come across as harsh and hurtful when they do this repeatedly, without positive reinforcement or advice on how to change your behavior.
This kind of behavior can also be difficult for the person receiving the criticism because they may have grown up with similar messages from parents or other family members – people who should love them unconditionally, rather than tearing them down with every word spoken about them or others around them.
They Regularly Cancel Plans With You or Fail to Show up When They Promise to Do So
You should be able to trust the people you spend time with. If your friend is constantly canceling plans or forgetting about them, it’s a sign of a bad friendship.
It’s also a warning sign if they never make time for you and always have an excuse why they can’t do something with you. You shouldn’t force yourself to meet up with these people; if they aren’t willing to make the effort, then it’s not worth your time anyway!
If you feel like this person keeps standing you up or forgetting plans, then don’t wait around for them anymore: Find a new friend who shows up on time (or at all).
They Make You Feel That You’re Never Good Enough
If your friend constantly putting you down, it’s a sign of toxic behavior. They make you feel like you’re never good enough. They make you feel like your accomplishments aren’t good enough or that they don’t think your intelligence is smart enough.
They may tell you that no one will ever find you attractive, insinuating that it’s your fault if you’re not thin or beautiful enough for others to be interested in you; or they may say that they never want to date anyone again because of bad experiences with previous partners (and therefore won’t consider dating anyone just because they want to).
They may also say things like “you could never do that” or “you’re not talented enough.” This is another way to create shame – and another form of manipulation to get what they want while making sure their target doesn’t feel worthy enough to even ask for help!
They Always Try to Compete With You or One-up You
The term “one-upmanship” describes the process of making another person feel like they’ve less than you to make yourself feel better. This can happen by talking about how much money you make or by bragging about your accomplishments and achievements.
One-upmanship can also be subtle -for example, if a friend tells you that they’re going on vacation with their partner, you could tell them that your partner took you somewhere even more expensive last week.
One-upping is never helpful or appropriate in any relationship – but it becomes especially toxic when used to belittle or hurt the other person’s feelings. If someone is constantly trying to outdo or compete with another person in his or her friendship group (or if he or she seems overly competitive in general), it may be an early sign that the friendship with others is in jeopardy!
They Copy Your Ideas and Take Credit for Them
When a friend copies your ideas, it’s time to take a step back and rethink the friendship. Copying another person’s work without crediting them is a form of plagiarism.
And if you’re doing this with your friends, it’s time to take a break from their company. Because if they can’t tell the difference between stealing from someone else and doing their own thing, why would they ever respect you?
If you’ve had this experience with a friend or roommate who’s copied your ideas or artwork to pass off as their own or stolen code snippets from websites, it can be helpful to talk about it. Sometimes seeing how others feel helps us understand our feelings better than introspection alone could!
They Constantly Put You Down in Front of Others
If a person is constantly putting you down in front of others, it can be hard to tell if they’re undermining your self-esteem or just being rude. “Sometimes people say things that cause feelings of unworthiness and make us change our behavior.
- Do they make suggestions about how you should do something differently?
- Do they say comments like, “You’re so awkward!” or “You always mess up?” If this is the case and these comments don’t seem constructive (for example, if the same thing happens over and over), something might be wrong.
If this is happening at work or among friends and it’s making you uncomfortable, it may be time to have a serious conversation with your friend (or colleague).
Maybe you have friends who belittle you in front of others. When they do this, it’s not just a personal attack, but an attack on your character and worth. They undermine the things that make you special, like your intelligence or your personality.
The next time this happens, ask them why they’re belittling you. If they continue to belittle you, end the conversation. Don’t let others talk about you or around you as if you’re invisible – if someone doesn’t realize that what they’re doing is harmful, they probably don’t care how it makes you feel anyway.
At first glance, these people may seem like terrible friends – and maybe they’re! But it doesn’t matter if their behavior is out of ignorance or malice.
If they’re causing harm to another person (and especially if they aren’t making an effort to repair that harm), someone needs to step in and make things change before someone gets hurt even more than before.
It’s easy to make excuses for someone who’s constantly putting you down, “They’re just kidding!” or “They don’t mean it!” – but the truth is that no one deserves to be treated that way, no matter what their intentions are.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are regularly belittled, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship.
They Refuse to Listen to You or Acknowledge Your Feelings
A toxic friend will try to control you or manipulate you into doing things you don’t want to do. They may make you feel like you owe them something, or they may be generally condescending and unkind so they can get their way.
This is especially true if your friend has control over something important in your life, like a job or a place for your pet when you’re not in school.
A toxic person will also take advantage of your kindness. They might claim they’re too busy to help you, but then immediately ask for a favor after saying “no.”
While this isn’t necessarily malicious behavior on the part of the toxic person (it could just be self-interest), it does put undue pressure on the other person involved in this interaction, which is uncomfortable for everyone involved!
They Try to Control or Manipulate You Into Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do
This is an important point, so I’ll say it again: toxic people try to control or manipulate your choices. If you’re in a toxic friendship, you may feel that this person always knows what’s best for you and often doesn’t care how you feel.
They may make decisions for both of you without asking your opinion first. Or they might pull the guilt card and make sure she always gets what she wants when it comes to decisions (like where we go on vacation or who gets custody of the dog).
A toxic friend will try to control you or manipulate you into doing things you don’t want to do. They may make you feel like you owe them something, or they may be generally condescending and unkind to get their way.
This is especially true if your friend has control over something important in your life, like a job or a place for your pet.
They Take Advantage of Your Kindness and Generosity
If you’re one of those people who’re always willing to help you, there may be one or two people in your life who take advantage of your generosity. Maybe they’re constantly in financial trouble and want money from you, or they need help moving or fixing their car.
Maybe your friends are just selfish and inconsiderate, asking too much of others while expecting nothing in return themselves – or they just can’t say no to favors from others because they think it would cause a conflict that would end their relationship completely!
The bottom line is: if someone is taking advantage of your time, your resources, your kindness – whatever – they are most definitely toxic!
They’re Always the Victim and Never Take Responsibility for Their Actions
Toxic personalities are often masters of distraction. They’re always the victim and never take responsibility for their actions. They don’t accept blame, responsibility, or liability for anything that happens, but instead blame everyone else for their problems.
If you find yourself apologizing to your toxic friend over and over again for something he or she did wrong if you think it’s normal to give up your plans with other people because of that person’s schedule or cancel plans with other friends so you can spend time with him or her, even if he or she doesn’t offer to make time for you in return – chances are it’s a toxic friendship!
If someone is constantly blaming others or finding ways to make themselves look good while belittling others around them (even if they don’t realize they’re doing it), there’s a good chance it’s a toxic relationship!
Toxic friends don’t listen well and often ignore what someone has said to talk about themselves or change the subject. Therefore, honest conversations about how the other person is feeling rarely happen between two people who have established themselves as “toxic.”
They Gaslight You or Make You Doubt Your Sanity
You know that feeling when you have a question about something and want to ask your friend about it, but they tell you it’s not a big deal? Or they tell you that the thing is your fault. That’s gaslighting. This is what happens when someone tries to make another person doubt their perception of reality.
When someone is gaslighting, they’re trying to make the other person feel crazy or guilty – and it can happen in friendships as well as in romantic relationships.
When we feel like our friends are constantly making us doubt ourselves and even our sanity, it can be easy to think, “Maybe I’m too sensitive! Maybe my feelings aren’t real! Maybe there’s nothing wrong with me! Maybe I’m just going through a crazy phase!”
But these thoughts aren’t true.
They Are Never There for You When You Need Them
If your friendships are toxic, you’ll find that your friends don’t always follow through on their promises or commitments. They mightn’t answer the phone when you call, cancel plans at the last minute, and be unavailable for unknown reasons.
They might make plans with you but rarely show up on time or not show up at all for appointments or events!
If this keeps happening, it’s time to reevaluate whether the relationship is productive for both parties. Sometimes, this behavior comes from a sense of insecurity or fear about not exposing themselves by saying no directly instead of being honest about how they feel.
They Contact You Only When They Need Something From You
Toxic friendships are like a bad relationship: one party always gives and the other always takes. This can also happen in friendships where toxic people seek relationships with people who have what they want.
If your friend only contacts you when he or she needs something from you whether it’s emotional support or something practical like transportation-this could be a sign that your friendship isn’t healthy.
Another thing to consider is whether or not your friend frequently asks you for something without giving you anything in return. If he or she’s acting this way, it may be time to talk about how much work it takes to maintain a healthy relationship between friends and acquaintances.
They’re Always Jealous of Your Other Relationships
They’re always jealous of your other relationships, whether they’re friends, family, or a romantic partner.
Jealousy is a sign of insecurity. It’s one thing to be jealous of your friend’s relationship with his or her partner, but if he or she’s jealous of the time you spend with other people he or she knows and loves (like family or friends), it can be a sign that your friendship is unhealthy.
They Try to Make You Feel Guilty
They try to make you feel guilty for spending time with other people or doing something without them.
You shouldn’t feel guilty about spending time with other people or doing things without them. Nor should you feel guilty if you don’t spend time with them. You should spend most of your free time doing things that make you happy and help you grow – whether it’s hanging out with friends, working on your part-time (or full-time) job, or just relaxing at home.
If someone is trying to make you feel bad about making those choices for yourself – people who put their own needs first and others second – they’re probably poison to you.
It’s also important that you don’t get too caught up in guilt when it comes to spending time with family members or life partners.
They Do Things on Purpose to Make You Angry or Upset
A toxic friend will do things to try to make you angry or upset. The idea behind this is that they want to hurt you because they don’t like being with you, but they also know that telling you openly would lead to an awkward confrontation and possibly a breakup.
They say something mean when you’re happy or subtly make fun of your appearance without notice. They cancel plans at the last minute if their other plans sound better than what’s planned for the day, even if those other plans include sitting alone in their apartment eating cookies and watching movies (which we all know can be incredibly fun).
They might even go so far as to try to ruin your reputation by spreading rumors about how mean or non-existent they think you are – just about anything that puts distance between you and them.
They’re Never Happy Unless They Make You Unhappy
If you have a friend who is only happy when they’re making you miserable, it’s time to cut that toxic person out of your life. It’s easy to be jealous of your friends who are always smiling and having fun, but jealousy can be dangerous if it makes you feel like your happiness is a threat to their own.
If someone in your life doesn’t want you to be happy, let them go. You deserve better than someone who wants to bring everyone around them down because they’re unhappy themselves.
This person might even make snide remarks or try to disrupt positive moments between the two of you just so they can feel better about their miserable situation (which is none of our business). Don’t waste time with someone who doesn’t want the best for both parties – because nothing good is likely to come of this friendship anyway!
They Take Pleasure in Your Pain and Suffering
If you notice that your friend takes pleasure in your pain and suffering, it’s time to reevaluate the relationship. Toxic people often enjoy making fun of their friends’ shortcomings or failures.
They may mention a past mistake that happened years ago to make you feel bad now, or they may make fun of something that happened when you were younger. These actions aren’t normal for a healthy person. They’re aimed at causing emotional pain to others because the toxic person gets some kind of satisfaction from hurting others’ feelings.
While this behavior may seem harmless at first (what’s the harm in laughing together?), keep in mind that laughing at someone else’s misfortune can lead to unhealthy behavior in which one’s self-esteem suffers greatly over time.
They Have No Understanding of How You Feel or What You’re Going Through
If they don’t care, it’s probably not a friendship. The best friendships are those built on mutual respect and understanding.
If you’re in a toxic relationship with someone, he or she will not be able to empathize with your feelings or help you with something that’s bothering you. When that happens, it can be hard for them to see things from your perspective.
They also may not take the time to listen to you when you talk about your life. Instead of trying to understand where you’re coming from, they tell their own story or interrupt you with comments about themselves instead of listening and considering how their opinion affects yours.
If this sounds familiar in your friendship dynamic, maybe it’s time to make a change!
They’re Manipulative and Always Try to Get Their Way
Manipulation can be subtle or overt, but it’s always obvious when you’re being manipulated.
Here are some common manipulation tactics:
- Using guilt as a weapon. They may say things like, “We could’ve been such good friends if only…” or “If only I hadn’t trusted you with this information…” and then try to make you feel guilty about how things went.
- Threats to leave or shut you out. A manipulator might threaten to end a friendship with someone if he doesn’t get his way – or to stop being friends with the victim at all if he doesn’t do what he asks (e.g., agree not to tell anyone). Or offering rewards if she does what he wants (“If we go out tonight, I’ll buy everyone a drink!”), which belong in the context of a friendship rather than coercion and manipulation tactics used as leverage for favors outside of those boundaries (such as using money as leverage against someone who doesn’t want anything from me anyway).
Never Apologizing for Their Hurtful Words or Actions
It’s normal for people to have different opinions and disagree on different topics, especially when it comes to politics or religion. However, if a friend says something that offends you, they must apologize if they care about your feelings.
An apology shows that the person who offended you realizes his or her mistake and is sorry for hurting you.
A toxic friend doesn’t apologize for anything – even if he or she’s wronged you (for example, by saying something mean). Apologizing isn’t easy – it requires vulnerability and humility – but it’s important if you want your relationship with that person to remain healthy.
The longer someone goes without apologizing after hurting your feelings or making you feel bad, the more likely it’s that he or she’s no longer worth keeping in your life.
They Always Find Excuses for Their Bad Behavior
They always find a way to blame someone else for their mistakes and never take responsibility for those mistakes themselves.
This can range from “I did it because I had no other choice” or “It wasn’t my fault, they made me do it!” to blaming entire groups of people that have nothing to do with them or their lives.
On paper, these excuses may seem reasonable, but when you look at the context in which they’re uttered-and, especially over time-they become clear as day: your friend doesn’t want to be held accountable for their actions.
They Blame You for Everything That Goes Wrong in Their Lives
If your toxic friend regularly blames you for everything that goes wrong in their life, it’s time to reevaluate your relationship. This is a sign that he/she lacks a sense of responsibility and self-awareness.
They will never take responsibility for their actions. Even if you saw that he or she made a mistake, he or she will find a way to blame you or something else that has nothing to do with it.
They Have a History of Toxic Relationships
They have a history of toxic relationships and always seem to be drama-filled.
You may be surprised to learn that toxic relationships aren’t always the other person’s fault. Sometimes it can be your fault, too. It’s possible that you attract toxic people or that you’re even the source of all the drama in your friend group.
If a person has a history of toxic relationships and there always seems to be drama in their life, it could mean that they’re destined to have these types of people around.
Maybe that’s how they grew up, maybe that’s how their brain works; either way, it doesn’t make them bad people – it makes them human! If someone is constantly getting into situations where there’s arguing and fighting around them, then maybe the issue isn’t who’s to blame, but what needs to be healed first in themselves so that they can bring peace into their own lives (and maybe yours).
You Always Feel Emotionally and Spiritually Drained
You always feel emotionally and spiritually drained after spending time with them.
When you’re in an emotionally draining relationship, it’s normal for your life to feel like you’re constantly trying to put out fires. You’re anxious, exhausted, and unable to focus on anything else.
If you always feel this way after spending time with the person or talking to them on the phone, it’s a sign that you should let go of that friendship.
If there are toxic people in your life (and there most likely are), you should ask yourself, “Am I able to talk to them about my problems?”
If the answer is “no” – or if they make fun of your problems – then their presence saps your energy until there’s not much left for anything else, including work and relationships with other people who care about you and want the best for you.
You Begin to Dread Seeing or Hearing About Them
You begin to dread seeing or hearing about them because you know it’ll only end in misery.
You should also be on the lookout for signs of a toxic friendship that you may have missed so far. If you feel anxious, stressed, and upset just thinking about seeing your friend, it could be a sign that your relationship is no longer healthy.
If your stomach feels bad when their name shows up on your phone or in your emails, that could be another warning sign that something is wrong in the relationship. You may even have nightmares about him or her!
If any of these scenarios sound familiar and/or if you feel that at least one of the points applies to your feelings for your friend(s), it’s time to take action before things get worse.
Your Friend Only Ever Wants to Hang Out Only on His/Her Terms
Your friend likely has a good reason for only wanting to hang out on his or her terms. Maybe he or she’s busy with work or school and can’t hang out as often as you’d like. You must understand why they don’t want to compromise when it comes to scheduling.
If this bothers you, you should sit down with him/her and tell him/her how important it’s for both of you to spend time together without worrying about who has days off from work or school (or whatever).
You Find It Hard to Trust Them
If you find it hard to trust your friend, it may be time to reevaluate the friendship. You may have good reason to doubt their loyalty, or she/he may simply be one of those people who doesn’t keep secrets well. If that’s the case, it may be difficult for you to open up and share things with them.
It’s also possible that your friends aren’t being intentionally untrustworthy; maybe they just haven’t learned how relationships work yet, because kids don’t always learn the importance of trustworthiness when they want to form close friendships with others later on!
Your Friend Is Constantly Judging Your Relationships, Your Career Choices, or Your Life Decisions
By now, you know the signs that a toxic friend is in your life. If you wonder if you have a toxic friend, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this person constantly judging my relationships, my career choices, or my lifestyle choices?
- Does she or he make derogatory comments about me and my loved ones to others behind our backs?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to get tough. It may be tempting to ignore their behavior and hope things will get better on their own – but remember that they’ll always be a part of your life, no matter how long you’ve known each other or how much time has passed since they were last nice to you (if ever).
That’s why we have to treat each other with respect, even when we don’t feel like it, or we’ll both lose far more than our friendship.
They Continue to Cross Your Boundaries
They continue to cross your boundaries – despite many conversations about what makes you uncomfortable or upsets you.
If you find that your friend keeps crossing your boundaries, even though you have talked many times about what makes you uncomfortable or what upsets you, that’s a red flag.
Good friendships and healthy relationships are based on mutual respect. If they don’t value that in their own lives, they probably won’t give it to others either.
A good partner and friend are open-minded enough to respect the opinions and thoughts of others – even if they don’t agree with them – and also to recognize when there are disagreements between them and their partner. Also remember: it’s important that each person has their own space!
A good relationship means being able to express yourself freely without worrying about hurting the other person’s feelings unnecessarily (or vice versa).
This is only possible if both parties communicate effectively; one person shouldn’t always talk more than the other, because then there would be no way for both of them to not only stay together but also grow together as friends or lovers.
You Don’t Know Who You Are When You’re Near Them
When you’re around your toxic friend, you might start dressing like him or her, talking like him or her, and even acting like him or her. This is because you’re trying to please them and fit into their group.
However, in the process, you forget about your interests and hobbies. You might even start to believe the things they say about other people and yourself. That’s why it’s so important to watch for the signs of a toxic friendship.
If you notice yourself changing to please your friend, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate your relationship. Healthy friendships are ones in which you feel comfortable being who you are.
There’s No Give and Take In Your Friendship
Toxic friendships aren’t based on mutual respect. The toxic person takes advantage of you and doesn’t care about you. They are selfish and don’t care about your feelings or needs. This can be hard to see if you’re used to giving because it’s so ingrained in your personality, but take a moment and consider if this applies to you:
- Do you always give more than your share? Do they always take advantage of your generosity?
- When something goes wrong in their life, do they blame someone else – even if that’s you?
- Do they constantly ask you for a favor without giving back even a fraction of what they’ve received from you?
These are just a few examples of how toxic people behave; there may be other signs that apply specifically to your situation.
They Ask Embarrassing Questions in Public or Online
If a friend of yours asks embarrassing questions in public or online, it could be that they’re trying to humiliate you. They may want to show that they know your secrets – and then ask for more.
This can undermine your trust in them and make you feel like they’re only friends with you because they want something from you. It can also mean they’re insecure themselves and need to belittle others to make themselves feel better.
If you think this is unlikely, think again: you’ve probably experienced someone being so curious about what was going on with a friend that they asked questions publicly instead of privately.
Maybe it was just curiosity (the friend doesn’t have bad intentions), but maybe there’s something much worse behind it – like a desire to embarrass someone by showing everyone how much they know about him or her?
You Can Tell They Aren’t Really Listening to You
If you feel that your friend isn’t listening to you, it doesn’t mean that he or she’s a bad person. It’s just a sign that he or she might not be the right friend for you.
They interrupt with, “Oh my God, this one time I…”
They don’t engage in the conversation, “Really? But why?”
They don’t remember what you told them, “Last week we talked about how much I hate my job because of the boss, and now you’re telling me that he was an angel who fell from heaven?”
They don’t ask questions, “So, what happened to your boss?”
In addition to these typical signs of disinterest, there are other possible signs that someone isn’t listening to what another person is saying.
These include whether he or she maintains eye contact throughout the interaction with the other person and whether his or her body language signals interest in the other person (for example, by leaning forward).
If a toxic friendship is present, these behaviors are likely to be present!
They’re Constantly Comparing Themselves to You (And Not in a Good Way)
We’ve all been there. You have a great time with your friend, but he or she always seems nervous and wants to compare themselves to you.
They say things like, “Oh, no thanks! I don’t want your life right now. But I can understand why someone else would want it!” or “Oh man, it was super hard when we were in college and making ends meet while still working full time just to get through school without going into debt.”
It’s okay for friends to celebrate each other’s accomplishments – but toxic friendships often take it too far, using those celebrations as opportunities for comparison and competition. Friendship is about lifting each other instead of putting each other down.
They Make Off-Color Jokes at Other People’s Expense
If you’re friends with someone who makes foul jokes at the expense of others, it can be difficult to deal with the situation. You may think it’s okay because they don’t mean any harm and just want to have a good time.
But take a minute to think about whether there are people in your life who wouldn’t like these kinds of jokes directed at them or their loved ones. If that’s the case, you might want to reconsider your friendship with that person.
If you make these kinds of jokes yourself and aren’t sure if they cross a line, you should ask yourself why you find them funny – and then ask yourself again why another person would find them funny too (and if they wouldn’t).
You also shouldn’t tell these kinds of jokes around people who might be offended by them. Instead, try to find ways that everyone involved in the conversation – especially the potential victims – can laugh together without hurting anyone’s feelings.
You’re Forced to Be Someone You Aren’t in Their Presence
You know your friend, but it feels like he or she only knows the version of you that you show them. You try to be honest and truthful around them, but no matter what you do, you always feel like you have one foot in the closet.
Maybe it’s a part of their personality that makes you uncomfortable, or maybe it’s something about them as a person and how much time has passed since high school; either way, being fake around your toxic friend is exhausting.
Your Friendship Is Emotionally Abusive
It’s not always easy to recognize emotional abuse in your relationships. The signs can be subtle and hard to spot, especially if you’ve been conditioned to excuse the other person or downplay their behavior. But as with all forms of abuse, you mustn’t tolerate any form of emotional abuse.
Here are some signs that your friendship is being emotionally abused:
- Your friend constantly puts you down or makes you feel stupid, insecure, or inadequate (e.g., “You think that way because your mother never loved you”). This creates a climate of fear and self-doubt in which it becomes difficult to trust your perceptions and instincts; you become dependent on the abuser’s approval while fearing constant rejection.
- Your friend gives incessant criticism but refuses praise when he or she deserves it (e.g., “Well done with your work! Now let me tell you what I didn’t like about it”). For someone to develop their potential as an individual with healthy self-esteem, he or she needs positive feedback from others and constructive criticism to improve their performance so that they not only meet expectations but exceed and surpass them!
They Immediately Turn Every Conversation Into a Competition
They compare themselves to others and then try to compete with you in some way. It’s as if they’re always looking for an opportunity to outdo you or win an argument.
For example, when you talk about your new job and how much money it pays, they mention their old job that pays more – and then claims that maybe your job was just a stepping stone anyway and doesn’t count!
Or when you talk about how great your vacation was, they mention how much better theirs was because that one thing happened on the beach… and continue to do so even if you’re no longer listening, because why would anyone care what happened on the beach?
It can also feel like this person wants all your attention and will do anything (including interruptions) to get it, so no one else can join the conversation either! In other words, they’re constantly seeking validation from others by competing with them instead of just enjoying each other’s company without any intentions or ulterior motives (e.g., being nice).
They’re Hot and Cold
You can probably guess. A toxic relationship is anything but predictable. So if your friend is constantly hot and cold with their feelings, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your friendship.
If they’re randomly dumping you or ignoring you for weeks on end for no reason, that’s another warning sign. Maybe they’re just busy with work – or maybe they don’t value you as much as they claim.
And if everything is fine on their end, it means something is wrong with yours: maybe these interactions are making you feel like crap! In any case, irregular communication patterns are uncomfortable for everyone involved.
Whether it’s because one person keeps changing their mind about how much time they want to spend with them, or the other person just doesn’t feel like keeping up (or both) when you can’t rely on someone, it makes it difficult to make plans with that person… and life itself can get pretty stressful when all we want from our friends is consistency!
You Feel That the Friend Is Superficial or Materialistic
A good friend will not be materialistic and superficial. He/she probably wants nothing to do with such people. A bad friend on the other hand? They may be obsessed with money and status or more interested in how you look than how you feel.
A good friend is someone who cares not just about your bank account or your looks, but about what kind of person you are deep down inside – and that goes for both friends and romantic partners!
If your friend only wants to be around you because he/she can benefit from it (by getting free drinks at a bar), then that’s a sign that he/she doesn’t care about your friendship.
They Complain That They’re Surrounded by Haters
If a friend is constantly complaining about being surrounded by haters, he/she might be toxic. The thought of being “hated” can be used to make someone else feel bad, and their complaints about it often serve to make other people feel bad.
Toxic friends not only complain about the people they don’t like but also about those who are jealous of them or don’t appreciate them enough. This is another way toxic friends use negativity to belittle others instead of boosting the self-esteem of those around them with genuine compliments and encouragement.
You Find Yourself Apologizing to Them – Often
You feel like you need to apologize for something, even if it’s not your fault. You know this person isn’t perfect and makes mistakes, but why do you feel like you always have to apologize? Even if nothing bad has happened?
Maybe he or she misinterpreted something and then got mad at you for something that wasn’t even true? Sure, they apologized later (after you groveled), but still, why do they need an apology from you for everything to be forgiven between the two of you?
No matter how hard you try not to keep apologizing, in the end, it’s always all your fault because there’s always some excuse or justification that what happened wasn’t their fault at all.
And they put pressure on you or others until their guilt is squeezed out of them by apologies – which are usually just empty gestures anyway because nothing changes after the apologies.
You Feel Like You Have to Walk On Eggshells Around Them
In a toxic friendship, you constantly feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your friend. You worry that you might upset her or him or hurt her or his feelings, even when it’s not necessary. This causes unnecessary anxiety that can affect your mental health.
Maybe they’re always angry or prone to tantrums when you say or do something they don’t like (even if it’s nothing to do with them). Maybe they’re just not very friendly; maybe they just criticize and condemn everything you say.
Either way, if someone makes it clear that they don’t want your opinion or are unwilling to accept criticism from others without getting angry or upset (or both!), then a relationship with them can only mean one thing: pain!
They Invite Themselves to Your Weekend Getaway With Your Partner
If a friend invites themselves to a weekend getaway with your partner, they may feel left out of your relationship. They may be eager to be included in your life and try to make sure they don’t miss out on any fun or excitement.
However, it could also be that the friend is lonely and wants company. He/she may have thought to invite himself/herself along so you can spend time together and he/she won’t feel so alone- but if you’re already traveling as a couple, that’s not an option! If you bring someone along, it’ll only complicate things for everyone involved (and probably lead to some pretty awkward conversations later).
Finally, there’s also the possibility that this person has always been curious about what everyone else is doing. Chances are, they’ll want to know details about what happened on your trip anyway- so why not just tell them? It’s not like anyone is going to die of embarrassment when asked, “So, how was your weekend?”.
They Force You to Lie or Keep Secrets to Protect Them
One of the worst things your friend can do is make you lie or keep secrets. It doesn’t matter if it’s about an argument with him or her, an embarrassing moment, or even something stupid that happened at work, if someone gets you to lie to other people to protect him or her, it can jeopardize trust between friends and family members.
If your friend is doing this with others, he or she may be cheating on his or her partner. If he or she does it with co-workers and bosses, he or she might be stealing from his or her employer.
Understandably, secrets from loved ones can trigger feelings of guilt-after all, relationships are built on trust but there are also many cases where secrets would be completely unnecessary if we weren’t so quick to judge without knowing all the facts (for example, if someone is going through something difficult and needs distance).
They Don’t Support Your Goals
They may be unwilling to help you achieve your goals or not interested in them at all. People in toxic relationships often feel that their friends aren’t encouraging them or that they’re doing things for themselves at the expense of their friends’ well-being.
Toxic friendships usually occur when one of the people involved in trying to accomplish something – whether it’s a new career, starting a business, or moving away from home. Often, these changes are perceived as a threat by those who don’t want to change themselves because they’re comfortable where they are.
They Don’t Bring Out the Best in You
You know that feeling when you’re with someone and you feel like your best self? You feel confident, strong, and comfortable in your skin.
That’s the kind of friendship we should strive for. A toxic relationship does not bring out the best in either party – or worse! When we’re with people who make us feel insecure, it’s hard to go through life feeling good.
If this sounds familiar, you’re probably dealing with a toxic friendship. Maybe there are some positives in your relationship with this person (they’ve known you since kindergarten!), but overall it seems like they’re pulling you down rather than lifting you.
They’re Not Invested in Your Growth as a Person
Your best friend should be the first person to notice when something is wrong, and he or she should try to help you solve the problem instead of ignoring it or making it worse by subtly (or not so subtly) putting you down.
If he or she doesn’t care enough about your well-being to be there for you when things get tough, then he or she probably won’t be there when things are going well.
If the people in our lives aren’t interested in pushing us forward and helping us become a better version of ourselves, it can be incredibly difficult to get ahead on our own.
A supportive friend asks questions about what we want out of life, gives us advice on how to achieve those things on our own, and gives us space to figure out how we want to make that plan happen without micromanaging us or telling us what to do without asking what our priorities are.
You Feel Like You’re Constantly Being Tested
You constantly feel like you have to prove yourself to your friend, which can be very exhausting. You have to demonstrate loyalty, trust, patience, attention, and compassion – and on top of that, you’ve to be flexible and up for jokes.
If you feel like your friendship is constantly being tested, you should take a step back and ask yourself if this person is worth all the effort.
If you wonder if someone is testing your boundaries because it’s part of their personality or because they’ve done something wrong (or both), think about how they act toward other people.
A genuine friend would never behave that way toward others; therefore, it’s likely that his or her behavior toward you is due to deeper issues with himself or herself rather than your momentary attachment!
Your Intuition Tells You That Something Is Wrong
If your gut is telling you something is wrong, listen to it. It’s easy to ignore our intuition in relationships. We tend to rationalize away the feelings we have from time to time, especially if they don’t fit into our idea of who we are and what our life should look like.
Your intuition knows what’s going on with you better than anyone. If there are things in your friendship that don’t feel right or seem right, they probably are just that: not right and not right for you at this point in your life; there’s no reason to ignore them!
If a person makes you feel uncomfortable or makes choices that hurt others (including yourself), then it may be time to reevaluate whether or not they’re truly a friend.
Toxic friendships aren’t always obvious – and sometimes they can even seem healthy at first glance – but if something doesn’t feel right, you should listen closely if your instincts tell you otherwise!
In some cases, there may be deeper reasons (e.g., long-standing family issues) why someone behaves the way they do; however, these behaviors are still worth addressing, no matter where they come from because ultimately, everyone deserves healthy friendships where people support each other instead of hurting each other.
If you notice any of these signs, you should do something about it. It might be time to rethink the nature of your relationship with this person and put yourself first. You shouldn’t let anyone take advantage of you – not even a friend.
Take care of yourself first: your health and happiness should always come first in life, no matter what the circumstances are around you. It’s not selfish or wrong to take care of yourself; it’s essential for survival!
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