5 warning signs that your friendship is actually toxic

Many write and discuss toxic partners – but what about toxic friendships?

Toxic friends can be just as harmful as romantic relationships with toxic partners. Friends are the family that you choose: they are the brothers and sisters which you pick, they know everything about you, they are the people you run to and confide in. Unsurprisingly, if these people do not have your best interests at heart, you might find that the people you consider to be family can actually cause you more pain and distress than anybody else. According to Mary Wright, a writer for The Power of Silence, there are five warning signs that you should look out for:

1. They make you feel like you do not deserve them. 

If your friend is constantly pointing out all of your flaws, talking down on you, and making you feel inadequate, then they definitely do not have your best interests at heart. A true friend would constantly show you that they love, value, and respect you. What is more, when times are difficult and you struggle to see the good in yourself, a friend would remind you of your strengths. 

2. They never make time for you. 

You know that if your best friend was to call and say they needed help, support, or a shoulder to cry on – you would be there in the blink of an eye. A toxic friendship is one in which this is not reciprocated. If you find that you are always there for them but they never show up when you need them most, then they are not worth your time and effort.

3. You make excuses for their behavior.

When you excuse their bad behavior, you are doing so with the hopes of justifying why you are still friends with them. Even when you know that they are toxic, you will try to convince yourself that they are not and that ‘they probably didn’t mean what they said/did’.

4. They make you feel anxious around them.

A healthy friendship would never make you feel afraid, anxious, or worried. Instead, Wright explains it ‘should make you feel happy, loved, understood, secure, and cared for’. If spending time with your friend feels draining, then your connection is probably toxic.

5. You go to extremes to protect their emotions.

Being considerate and respectful is a must in every relationship; however, if it feels as though your friend is overly sensitive and takes pleasure in making you feel guilty, then they are not good for you. Taking this further, if you feel like you are constantly walking on eggshells to make sure that you do not accidentally offend them, then the friendship is probably toxic, manipulative, and draining.

It is important to learn how to recognize the signs of a toxic friendship so that you can cut ties with those who are harmful to you and your wellbeing before it is too late.

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