8 Signs Of A Toxic Friendship


Signs Toxic Friendship

“Some of the most poisonous people come disguised as friends and family” – this saying is perfect for describing fake friends and a toxic friendship. Having a toxic friendship in your life is equal to getting your happiness sucked out with every passing second.

Thank you to one of my good friends—Sharon Livingston, Ph.D., author of Get Lost, Girlfriend!: How I Found Myself When My Best Friend Dumped Me—who co-wrote this article with me.

A best friend can bring great joy, comfort, solace, and fun to your life. People are pack animals. They love to roam together and need friends to thrive—friends that share the good times and offer support in the bad. 

Great friendships extend life. A 10-year-long Australian study showed that participants with solid friend groups were 22 percent more likely to live longer.

Unfortunately, a bad friend can have the opposite effect, yielding increased vulnerability to all the stress-related body signs—higher blood pressure, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), lowered immunity, higher blood sugar, depression, anxiety; the list goes on.

But how do you know if you’re in a friendship that’s affecting your health and killing your spirit? (In the following examples, “her” applies equally to “him” if your best friend is a guy.)

Here Are 8 Signs Of A Toxic Friendship

Signs Toxic Friendship info
8 Signs Of A Toxic Friendship

1. You find yourself in a competition with her other “best friends.” 

What? Her other best friend gives her more? Does fun things you can’t? Has things in common with her that you would never want? And why do you know this about her other friend, anyway?

Related: 8 Signs That Your Friend Is Your Frenemy

2. There’s an imbalance in talk time—all for the friend, none for you.

You call her and she tells you about how lousy her day has been, or how great her day was. Then you start telling her about what’s happening with you and… she apologizes but has to get off the phone because—well, she has many reasons why. But the reality is that she leaves without having listened to you, your concerns, or your joys.  

Toxic friendship
Toxic Friendship

3. Your best friend blurts out criticism with a self-righteous attitude. 

Honesty is important in any relationship. But what happened to kindness? What’s this idea about brutal truth being something to aspire to? It’s still brutal—and damaging.

She tells you, “You know, you are just too needy. It’s like you’re a stalker always coming after me.” What? No wonder you feel awful. Be sure you realize that her mean words probably are projections—that is, more accurate as descriptions of how she is than as descriptions of you.

4. Who calls whom?

Are you calling her, or texting her far more often than she reaches out to you? Do you feel like you’re more interested in talking and getting together than she is?

Relationships get toxic when the other person isn’t as invested in you as you are in them. The opposite—feeling stalked by a friend’s incessant demands on your time—can be disturbing as well.

5. Your best friend tells you that you need to change.

But what about her? She sees no need to even recognize her own shortcomings, never mind changing them. It’s about what’s wrong with you. If only you changed, it would be fine. She’s not interested in seeing what she brings to the party—just in pointing fingers of criticism and blame on you.

6. You’re walking on eggshells.

At first, it was so fun to be with her. You laughed, you commiserated, it was such an enjoyable connection. Then, something changed. She flipped. It’s so easy to get into trouble with her now. Better be careful. But then you start being overly careful, watching every word to avoid saying the wrong thing.

7. You’re riding an emotional roller coaster with your friend at the controls.

It started out as an amazing connection and you felt so bonded. But now, you can no longer predict what to expect. You always worry that she’s going to react negatively or get upset with you. When it’s good, it’s great. But then, for some unknown reason, you land on her enemies list, and… what’s going to happen next?

You feel uncomfortable, worried, scared, off-balance. You think about her from a one-down position. And then something wonderful happens—suddenly she’s full of appreciation for you again and you’re flying high. What were you worried about? Everything is fine. Then, the next day, you can’t get in touch with her. The inconsistency and lack of predictability leave you doubting everything. It’s crushing. Your self-esteem soars and then plummets.

Related: Toxic Friends: 10 Signs Of An Unhealthy Friendship

8. The stress starts to settle in your body.

You’re somaticizing, actually feeling ill as the stress impacts your body. You get backaches, neck pain—maybe she’s really a pain in the neck? Instead of feeling bolstered by your connection, you start feeling weakened. Your body continues reacting. You feel anxious, experience headaches and stomach upset, or have a hard time getting out of bed.

Want to know more about a toxic friendship? Check this video out below!

Toxic friendship

When you’re in a great friendship, it boosts your immune system. But toxic friendships are sickening. While relationships often have ups and downs, if you’re on a wild ride, you may want to think about hopping off before you turn green. Friends are supposed to add to your life, not take away from it.

Sharon Livingston, Ph.D., is a psychologist, coach, business marketing consultant, and president of the ICCA (the International Coach Certification Alliance). She is the author of Get Lost, Girlfriend!: How I Found Myself When My Best Friend Dumped Me. 

Written By Susan Heitler 
Originally Appeared In Psychology Today
Signs Toxic Friendship pin
8 Signs Of A Toxic Friendship
Toxic Friendship signs pin
8 Signs Of A Toxic Friendship

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

4 Hidden Perks Of Having A Best Friend At Work

Benefits Of Having A Best Friend at Work: Do You Have One

Having a best friend at work is not just about having fun during lunch breaks or discussing the latest office gossip. It is a valuable relationship that can support you during stressful times. Learn how to make work friends if you’re struggling to!

According to Research, ​work friends are crucial for your health​. This is because positive relationships foster shared purpose and accountability that pushes us to strive for excellence.

So without further adieu let’s learn the main benefits of having a best friend at work. Let’s go!

Up Next

What Is Val-Core Dating: 4 Signs This Is Your Thing!

What is Val-core Dating? signs it is your thing!

One of the latest dating trends in 2024 is the Val-core dating or value-based dating. But is it a new trend or has it just been newly named? Have you always prioritized values to choose a partner? Did you feel attracted to someone who shares the same values?

In Val-core dating people choose partners based on the values that matter to them.

Let us understand the concept first.

Val-Core Dating: Is It Your Thing?

Up Next

7 Telltale Signs Your BFF Is A ‘Tenured Friend’

What Is A Tenured Friend? Clear Signs Your BFF Is One

Introducing your forever friend: the tenured friend. Coined by Jennifer Mika on TikTok, it’s that person you can rely on to be around for a long time. These are the ride or die companions who have seen you through everything.

What Is A Tenured Friend?

Friend Tenure, as defined by Urban Dictionary, is that special bond forged through years of shared experiences. It’s what grants two people permission to share and do things others would never understand. This special connection also makes them nearly immune to consequences.

Up Next

8 Signs You Are Outgrowing Your Friends: Growing Pains

Signs You Are Outgrowing Your Friends: Growing Pains

Do you feel like you are in a different place in your life, compared to your friends? And do you get that persistent feeling that you are outgrowing your friends? It happens to the best of us.

With time and age, we all grow and change, and sometimes that means outgrowing the friendships you once held dear. The feeling of outgrowing your friends can be a bittersweet realization, filled with both nostalgia and the excitement of new beginnings.

If you’re wondering whether you’re going through this transformative process, look out for these eight signs of outgrowing a friendship.


Up Next

8 Signs Of Tenured Friendships: The Hallmarks Of True Friendship

Signs Of Tenured Friendships: Hallmarks Of True Friendship

Have you ever experienced that comforting feeling of a friendship that seems to have stood the test of time? You know, the kind of bond that feels solid, unbreakable, and… well, tenured? Tenured friendships are those rare gems that have weathered the ups and downs, the highs and lows, and have come out stronger on the other side.

They’re the friendships that have a certain depth and familiarity, like a well-worn pair of jeans or your favorite cozy sweater. But how can you spot the signs of a tenured friend?

Let’s dive in and uncover eight interesting and insightful signs that you’ve found yourself a true and reliable companion. But first, let’s know more about what is a tenured friend.


Up Next

3 Health Benefits Of Friendships And How You Can Nurture Them

Incredible Health Benefits Of Friendships

What are the benefits of friendships? Friendships aren’t just about having someone to grab a coffee with—they actually do wonders for your health! From boosting your mood to keeping your heart happy, dive into the benefits of friendships and how to nurture your friendships.

“Lying, thinking / Last night / How to find my soul a home / Where water is not thirsty / And bread loaf is not stone / I came up with one thing / And I don’t believe I’m wrong / That nobody, / But nobody / Can make it out here alone.” —Maya Angelou, excerpt from “Alone”

Since I was a little girl, I have had the blessing of many great friends. Some I am related to, some have been part of my life for decades, and others have been present for only a season.

Up Next

Toxic Friend Alert: 10 Warning Signs Of An Emotionally Draining Friendship

Shocking Signs Of An Emotionally Draining Friendship

Do you feel exhausted and drained after spending time with a certain friend? Do you feel like setting some strict boundaries around this “friend”? Then it is likely that you are dealing with an emotionally draining friend. Let’s explore the signs of an emotionally draining friendship and how to set boundaries to protect yourself.

Who Are Emotionally Draining Friends?

Emotionally draining friends are individuals who consistently demand excessive emotional support, monopolize conversations with their own issues, an