5 Behaviours of a Toxic Friend
It is difficult to determine if your friends are toxic when you are long-time friends with someone and the signs are subtle. Toxic friends have a profound negative impact on your self-esteem and your overall emotional wellbeing. It’s important to know which friends to keep, and which ones to say goodbye to. Here are the 5 behaviours of a toxic friend:
1. Always talking about themselves
Your friend can talk about their own life for a long time, but the moment you talk about yourself, they go "oh that sucks" and turns the conversation around about themselves again. When you are going through a rough time and when you need support, your friend isn’t there for you. That shows they probably don’t care much about your feelings at all.
2. Bailing on you - all the darn time
When you make the plan, your friend flakes on you last minute. However, if your friend was the one planning, you do your best to be available for them. This implies that your friend doesn’t value your time and only wants to be with you when it’s convenient for them or when there is some “benefit”.
3. Reaching out when they only need something
They are most likely sticking around to be your friend because the friendship offers some sort of incentive. It could be your study notes, wanting to know your friends (but not you), or you unknowingly boost their ego. Regardless, they come to you only when they need something rather than because they care.
4. Spilling your secrets to others
It’s normal for people to talk about others, but it becomes a problem when your friend shares information and it leads you to feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed, or humiliated. They have no regard of your feelings and may even enjoy spreading information.
5. Being defensive and apologizes insincerely
When you gently bring up an issue about the friendship, your friend immediately shuts it down by justifying why they did that, or they invalidate your emotions. For example, they may say things like “you’re just sensitive” or “you can’t even take a joke” or “it’s just a minor issue”. This leads you into convincing yourself that there is something wrong with you and you blame yourself.
Time To Let The Friendship Go!
Keep an eye out on these behaviors if you suspect you are in a toxic friendship. They key takeaway your friend is only doing the taking and you're giving. Listen to your gut – if you feel uncomfortable, anxious, nervous, or dread around them, then you are likely in a toxic friendship. Let that go!
Click here to find out how to drop a toxic relationship.
About The Author
Jasmine Tsang is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) under the College of Registered Psychotherapist Ontario (CRPO) and the founder of Reflections Therapy. She specializes in providing counselling services for people facing challenges in their adulthood such as relationships, self-esteem issues, school & career stressors, anxiety, and depression. For more information about Jasmine, click here to read her bio.