5 Clear Warning Signs That You’re Dealing With A Toxic Friendship

toxic friendship signs

Pexels/Bruce Mars

Good friends can work wonders for our confidence and well-being. According to research conducted by the American Society on Aging, strong social ties can boost a person’s likelihood of living a long life by as much as 50 percent. But an unhealthy relationship, like a toxic friendship, can have the opposite effect on your health. Unhealthy relationships can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety and could even increase your risk of developing heart problems. Although great friends are easy to spot, sometimes it’s harder to identify an unhealthy friendship — especially if you’ve been friends with that person for a really long time. So here are five warning signs that you’re dealing with a toxic friendship and that it’s time to kick it to the curb.

1. There’s a clear imbalance in talk time… always in favor of your friend.

 toxic friendship signs

Unsplash/Andrea Tummons

Your “friend” does 90 percent of the talking and, most of the time, the subject matter is… you guessed it: about your friend. Your conversations revolve around how that person feels and how his or her day is going, rarely addressing your needs. And when you do try to veer the conversation towards yourself even slightly, your friend immediately disengages. They might start checking their phone or showing other clear signs of boredom, like looking around distractedly or yawning. A toxic friend will do anything they can to be at the center of all of your conversations.

2. They’re judgmental and never hold back in criticizing you.

toxic friendship signs


Whether you get a new SO or a new pair of jeans, a toxic friend is quick to pass judgment on either. Honesty is important in any relationship, but it’s almost as if you can’t do anything right, according to this friend. The criticism doesn’t seem to be driven from a place of concern for your well-being — if you really think about it, it almost feels like your friend derives pleasure from making you feel bad and shattering your self-esteem. Your fear of being criticized by this person has likely become so strong that you routinely hold off on sharing new life events that you’re excited about with them, knowing that they’ll just rain on your parade.

3. This person only reaches out to you when it’s convenient, and sometimes you don’t hear from them for days.

toxic friendship signs

Unsplash/Paul Hanaoka

Most of the time, you’re the one calling or texting this person to hang out. But when your friend does reach out to you, it’s usually to do something that mostly benefits him or her. This friend might ask you to go shopping with them for an outfit for an upcoming date and when you guys meet up for dinner or drinks, it’s usually at a bar or restaurant that’s close to this person’s apartment — even though this might mean that you need to travel half an hour or an hour to get to it.

You also notice that this person mostly wants to hang out with you when other friends are out of town. They might even say something along the lines of, “Ugh, all of my friends are out of town. What are you up to this weekend?” Your friend clearly doesn’t consider you a “friend” by definition, so this is a pretty obvious red flag.

4. It’s not uncommon for your friend to cancel plans with you at the last minute.

 toxic friendship signs

Unsplash/Alex Holyoake

At one time or another, we’ve all canceled plans on someone. But for a toxic friend, it’s a constant habit. When you make plans with this person, you half expect to get a text from them an hour or even a couple of minutes before you’re supposed to meet, saying that they can’t make it anymore. It’s likely a sign that they found something “better” to do at the last minute so they no longer need you to help fill up their time.

5. You’re walking on eggshells.

 toxic friendship signs

Pexels/Bruce Mars

You constantly fear that your friend is going to get mad at you for one reason or another — maybe because you weren’t at their beck and call for once or you decided to hang out with another friend for a change. Whatever the reason, in your friend’s eyes, you’ve almost always done something wrong. You feel so on edge when you’re around this person that it’s hard to be yourself because you end up watching every word you say to avoid upsetting them. When you’re with this friend, you’re controlling your behavior so much that hanging out with them is far from fun or relaxing.

The Bottom line: If your friendship resembles the relationship between Gretchen Wieners and Regina George, it’s probably time to cut ties and look for new friends elsewhere. The only friends that are worth your time are the ones that make you feel like the amazing individual you are.

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