Signs Of Toxic Friends And How To Deal With Them

If they constantly guilt-trip you and demand all your attention, it's time to reevaluate your friendship.

Reviewed by Amanda Bennallack, Relationship Coach Amanda Bennallack Amanda BennallackRelationship Coach facebook_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Asmita De MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA Gracia Odile MA linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
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Friends form your support system and play a key role in your lives. But trusting all your friends blindly can prove costly for you, especially if you have toxic friends or toxic friendships. Such friends are purely opportunists and do not shy away from stooping to any low when they need you. But they are nowhere to be seen when you want them by your side.

So, how do you know which friends are toxic? Although it is easier said than done, you can zero in on them if you pay attention to a few signs they may show. If you find yourself in such a friendship, you can always work yourself through by taking a few measures. In this article, we will discuss what a toxic friendship is, its types, the signs of an unfaithful friend, and how you can deal with them. Keep reading for more information.

Who Is A Toxic Friend?

Who a toxic friend is
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A toxic friend is someone who drains your energy and leaves you feeling down, without the motivation to do anything. If they have an active lifestyle, they may always offer to do things with you, but when the time comes for them to make any effort or plan, they find a reason not to do it.

When you ask for their help, they can become passive-aggressive or say they are too busy. Toxic friends neglect to offer any assistance to you, and if you confront them, they will make excuses about how it is not their fault. Instead, they will blame you for misunderstanding them and won’t apologize for their behavior.

As a friend, a toxic person will never ask how you feel or how you have been lately. They will always talk about themselves, but when it comes to being interested in what you want to share, they simply won’t care or say you are exaggerating. Discussing their poor listening skills is not a good idea either as they will deny it or give some excuse.

When someone has a lot of toxic friends, it can make them feel alone in the world. They may not know how to ask for help or how to find a true friend. It is important to recognize when you are being taken advantage of by someone and allowing yourself to get dragged down by a terrible friend.

To get out of a toxic friendship, you need to start looking at the personality traits of such people. Keep scrolling!

Types Of Toxic Friends

Types of toxic friends
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  • The Drama Seekers

When you are in a toxic friendship, you will find yourself regularly dealing with their emotional outbursts or tears. The drama seekers will talk about how awful their life is and how much they hate it, but it is also impossible to speak to them about anything else, like their hobbies or interests. Certainly not your own difficulties, which they dismiss.

  • The Victim

People who always put themselves in the victim role are toxic friends. They blame everyone for their problems and feel the world is out to get them. They will never admit that they are anything less than perfect, and if you try to tell them otherwise, they will refuse to listen.

  • The Liar 

Toxic friends cannot be trusted as there is no one-on-one relationship with them. Everything is always about them and what they want. They won’t be able to keep a secret because they are always talking behind your back, but when you confront them about it, they will deny or minimize everything. They say: “I didn’t do it, and if I did do it, it’s no problem.”

  • The Insincere

Such people sign their name on the dotted line for being kind and friendly, but as soon as you turn around, they will stab you in the back. They might not be able to say it out loud or cause a scene, but they will use sarcasm or veiled comments to make your life miserable.

If you feel stuck in a cycle where you feel bad about yourself, that person is not good for you. You need to know how to spot such people and maintain your distance before things get too bad. Below are some signs of a toxic friend to help you see the reality of such people in your life.

Signs Of A Toxic Friend

Signs of a toxic friend
Image: Shutterstock
  • They Guilt-Trip You

They will constantly remind you how they helped with your last problem and expect something in return every time there is a new issue.

  • They Want All Your Attention

Your friend needs to be the center of your universe. They love talking about themselves and constantly need attention. If someone else is given that attention, they will get resentful and angry.

  • They Deflect Blame

Although you might not always be sure why this person is angry with you, it is never their fault. A toxic friend will blame everything on you.

  • They Become Increasingly Hostile

When things don’t work out to their liking, a toxic friend will make you feel like it is all your fault and that your life is going to the dogs.

  • They Show Constant Inconsistency

If you are noticing your friend being regularly inconsistent, such as their mood keeps shifting or they keep going back on their promises, then this may signal toxicity. If your friend’s behavior keeps altering or swinging between extremes, it can lead to confusion and stress, thus indicating a toxic dynamic that should be addressed immediately for the sake of a healthy relationship.

  • They Have Extreme Rigidness

A friend being extremely inflexible is a toxic trait. This means they hold their inconvenience superior and thus neglect your feelings or opinion. This can lead to a lack of support or empathy and cause a strain in the friendship.

You might not be able to spot some signs until it is too late, but you need to strengthen yourself not to let such toxic people manipulate you.

How To Deal With A Toxic Friend

How to deal with a toxic friend
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  • Put Your Happiness First

Toxic friends will complain about their life and make things seem worse than they are. Don’t follow them down this path because it is an easy way to make yourself miserable.

The Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA) conducted a study on 2981 participants to find the relation between self-reported happiness (SRH) in those diagnosed with depression and anxiety at the baseline. Upon 3-year SRH follow-up, the rate of recovery from depression was 63.8% while that from anxiety was 51.1%.

  • Don’t Fall For The Guilt

Toxic friends are very good at calling in emotional favors, but there is a reason they are asking. If you feel like you are being manipulated into doing something, never do it.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Use ‘I’ to personalize your statements when arguing with your toxic friends. This will help you drive the argument from your point of view and keep it specific.
  • Cut Off Contact If Necessary

While you might not want to believe it, some people are bad news. So, do not let yourself be disappointed over and over again. If they keep making matters worse for you, cut them off completely.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Take a break from a toxic friendship and spend time with yourself to sort out your feelings regarding the friendship. This will help you decide whether to fix it or break it off completely.
  • Stay Strong And Keep Your Distance

Toxic friends are often manipulative, but you can beat them at their own game by staying clear of them. Don’t give in to their demands or allow yourself to be put down.

A good friendship plays a significant role in boosting your morale, supporting you, and celebrating you. It brings value to your life. A healthy friendship is not supposed to be demoralizing, making you question your worth. It may take time to recognize the toxic friends you surround yourself with, but keep your distance once you do. Be on your guard and look out for the signs mentioned above to identify toxic people around you. They do not mean well and will throw you under the bus without hesitation for their benefit. So, focus on the good ones and steer clear of any negativity.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do toxic friends affect your mental health?

Toxic friends can make you feel stressed and tense and damage your self-esteem. Also, they can affect your sense of identity, and sometimes you can be left feeling inadequate.

Can you get trauma from toxic friends?

Yes. You can get trauma from toxic friends. Their friendship often leads to depression and anxiety, which can affect your mental health.

Should you ignore toxic friends?

Yes. You should ignore toxic friends. Avoid contact with those who are not treating you well and causing trauma.

Can toxic people change?

Toxic people can change if they recognize their traits and want to work on them and make amends. but it is doubtful.

What is a toxic personality type?

If any person is causing distress to the people around them and have manipulative or controlling behavior, they have a toxic personality.

How do you respond to a toxic person?

Talk to them about their behavior, stay grounded, become an observer, limit your time together, and make yourself unavailable.

Key Takeaways

  • Toxic friends are those who are passive-aggressive, one-sided, and disloyal in their approach and never apologize for their behavior.
  • Individuals who always play the victim and seek drama in all aspects of their lives are a few types of toxic friends you should stay away from.
  • Constantly blaming you for everything and never considering your feelings are some signs of toxic friends you should look out for.
  • When you are dealing with toxic friends, stay strong and keep your distance from them for your peace of mind.

Navigate friendship with this revealing video that helps you figure out fake friends. Learn to identify toxic relationships and how to empower yourself to foster genuine connections without falling into wrong friendships.

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Amanda Bennallack
Amanda BennallackRelationship Coach
Amanda is a relationship coach with more than a decade of experience and a deep understanding of interpersonal dynamics and communication. After studying life coaching at The International Coaching Institute, she expanded her education by studying Emotional Intimacy and Emotionally Focused Therapy.

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