People talk a lot about toxic relationships all the time, but we don’t talk about toxic friendships as much. They’re just as real and just as damaging as toxic relationships, sometimes more so.
Many of the things we look out for in toxic relationships are also red flags in toxic friendships, so let’s look at them again through the friendship lens. Sometimes, they can be a little harder to spot.
They Only Call You When They Want Something
One big red flag is that it seems that your friend is only calling you when they need something from you. They need to vent because they’re upset about their job, another friend, their boyfriend—whatever.
They never check in just to see how you are or ask how you are, either.
They Don’t Respect Your Boundries
We all have our boundaries, and when we are clear about them, we hope that our friends will respect them.
If you’re in a toxic friendship, you probably notice that your friend doesn’t respect those boundaries. They don’t seem to care that you might not like to drink, or you don’t like being out until 4 a.m., or that you need alone time once in a while.
They Don’t Celebrate Your Accomplishments
When something happens to us that makes us happy, we want to share those things with the people in our life who are important to us.
If you tell one of your friends about something great and they don’t seem to care that much, or worse, make you feel like it isn’t that big a deal, that’s toxic behavior.
They Make Fun Of You For Things You Like
There is a little bit of poking fun in every friendship, we all know that. But there is a difference between little jokes and someone actually making fun of things that are important to you.
If they mock you for your worldview or think your style is dumb or that the movies or books you like are stupid, that’s not nice, is it?
They Talk About You Behind Your Back
You hear from people in your friend group that they’re talking about you behind your back. That’s super toxic and not fair.
It’s also a red flag when they gossip a lot about the other people in your friend group and act differently to their face.
They Try To Kill Your Confidence
Toxic people like to make themselves feel bigger and better than everyone else in their life. If you’re feeling confident, they love tearing you down because it makes them feel better about themselves.
They can’t have you being the center of attention even for a second. The focus has to always be on them.
Your Conversations Are Never Equal
Think about the conversations that you have. Are you always talking about them and their problems? Probably, if you’re in a toxic friendship.
They don’t make time for you or even ask you about your life because it would cut into the time they spend talking about themselves.
They’re Rude To You Because They’re Jealous
When they are feeling jealous of you because you’re being flirted with or you got a cool promotion or anything you’re feeling good about, they start making rude marks and taking cheap shots.
This is because they know they have to cut you down to make themselves feel big. They can’t have anyone in their life being more attractive, successful, or whatever.
They Encourage Bad Behavior
They’re always encouraging you to do things that they know are bad for you. Maybe it’s them encouraging you to drink when you’ve said you don’t want to, or they want you to stay out late even though you’ve told them you can’t.
Sometimes it also feels like they’re trying to sabotage you.
They Don’t Support Your Dreams
Even if your dreams are wild, your friends should be supportive of you, or at least listen to you talk about them and try to help you succeed.
Someone who is a toxic friend is uninterested in what your dreams are. Maybe they’ve never even asked you about them.
They’re Super Competitive
No matter what it is about, they always have to one-up you and be better than you are. You find yourself hearing a lot of things like “yeah, well…”
They always have something to make themselves seem better than you, whatever that looks like.
They’re Always Bringing Drama Into Your Life
One of the biggest red flags in a toxic relationship is that they’re constantly bringing drama into your life.
They’re calling you drunk or super upset about something and demanding that you pay attention to them. Maybe the drama is about the other people in their life that are so annoying, but they somehow still say friends with.
They Bail On You A Lot
Unless they need to talk to you about what is going on in their life, you find that they bail on you a lot, especially if something better came up.
They always say things like, “I knew you’d understand,” or “we’ll catch up soon.”
They Compare You To Other People All The Time
One of the most frustrating things about being in a toxic friendship is always being compared to other people in your friend’s life.
They make it seem like you need to live up to those people they’re comparing you to.
They Tell You You’d Be Better If…
No matter what it is you’re talking about, a toxic friend will always have a long list of all the things that would be better if you did them differently.
It’s as though they think that they know best and their way is the only way to do things.
They’re Crazy Obsessive Over You
Even though they can be flaky and kind of mean, a toxic friend is also crazy possessive of you.
If you start hanging out with a new friend or start seeing someone new, they all of a sudden need you to be there for them more than ever.
You Don’t Feel Like You Can Trust Them
You can’t put your finger on it, but there is something about them that makes you feel like you can’t really trust them.
Listen to those gut feelings, because they are spot on. If you’re feeling like this person isn’t going to have your back, they probably won’t.
You Don’t Like Yourself When You’re With Them
We always change a little bit depending on who we are hanging out with, that’s just human nature.
But if you’re finding that the person you are when you’re with someone isn’t a person you want to be, that means that they’re bringing out the worst in you.
They Never Apologize For Anything
Even when you feel brave enough to call them out on something that they did, even if it’s something really minor, they never take responsibility.
No matter what it is, they’re never going to say sorry, or worse, they’re going to make whatever it is your fault.
They Suck The Energy Out Of You
Toxic friends are going to be like energy vampires, and they’re just going to suck the life out of you.
The people in your life who are good for you shouldn’t leave you feeling emotionally exhausted and drained.