Health & Wellness

5 signs you're in a toxic friendship

It's the start of a new year, and while a lot of us have probably set resolutions around losing weight, eating healthier or getting organized, now might also be a good time to evaluate the relationships in your life.

Toxic is a word that never has a positive connotation — especially when it comes to relationships. Toxic marriages can wreak havoc on people's lives, both short term and long term.

But there are other types of toxic relationships that can have great affect on us — including toxic friendships. Do you think you have friends that may be chronically toxic? Here are some critical signs that you're in a toxic friendship that you may need to end.

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How to give and receive forgiveness, repair relationships

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How to give and receive forgiveness, repair relationships

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Toxic relationships are imbalanced, unfulfilling, unsupportive and draining — they are what I like to call energy vampires. Here are a few red flags you shouldn't ignore:

1. She makes you feel badly about yourself.

This person loves to find everything that is wrong with you AND tell you — what you're wearing, your weight, what you say, what you do — their goal is to bring you down.

Or she competes with you. She wants you to know her kids are more successful than your kids, or that she has a bigger house than you. All of this negativity means absolutely nothing about you — it tells you that she is feeling really badly about herself.

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2. She brings lots of drama.

She needs you for everything, and right away, too — calling and texting you multiple times a day. And, if you don't answer or can't answer— she texts you 57 times. She gets angry over tiny things and often has some terrible situation that she needs to be bailed out of. She moans and groans and complains about everyone and everything — and it's always someone else's fault.

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The new year is a good time to reevaluate the relationships in your life.

3. She betrays your trust — and usually, not just once.

This is often a deal breaker. You trust her with your personal truths, vulnerabilities, thoughts — and she tells someone else about them and you find out. This is a serious violation. A good friend should be like a vault — you put things in, and they never come out.

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Half of your friends may not consider you one

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Half of your friends may not consider you one

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4. You dread seeing her.

When you do, she drains you, and you're relieved when she leaves. You find yourself getting knots in your stomach, sometimes a headache when you know you have to see her, or afterward. And when she leaves, you breathe a sign of relief. Or, you never return her calls, or find reasons to keep canceling on the lunch you scheduled.

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5. She is self-centered.

Everything is about her — you meet her on her schedule, on her terms. She only offers to help you when you don't need it, but demands your help at anytime. She has no empathy, and doesn't understand your feelings, because she can't.

OK, if you checked off more than two of the character traits listed above, you're in a toxic friendship or relationship. Now what do you do?

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If this person is not in your inner circle, just stop spending time with them, or slowly start to create some distance. If they are in your inner circle, start to speak up when they are mean or hurt your feelings, and tell them to stop. If they mock you and make you feel like it's your fault — it's time to cut them off.

If they get angry and cut you off, they've done the work for you. As a relationship expert who helps people find happy relationships, I promise you that getting rid of energy vampires will give you energy to focus on the people in your life that elevate you, and the time to find new friends too!

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