Friendships are important. They can feel even stronger and more important than the relationships you have with partners or family. You’re there for each other through thick and thin. The idea that those friendships could–or should–end feels uncomfortable. The truth is, some friends become toxic, making your life far worse for being in it. You might not notice it right away, too. If you recognize these toxic friendship behaviors, it might be time to say goodbye. It’ll hurt, but you’ll be far better off.
They change the subject whenever you talk about something you care about.
Every conversation you have feels increasingly like it’s all about them. It’s about what they’re into, what’s going on in their life, what ways the universe is tearing them down. And every time you’re excited about something and want to share, they’ll interrupt and change the subject. Would someone who cares about you and loves you treat you like that?
If something good happens to you, they try to find ways to shit-talk it.
Maybe you got a raise, fell in love, bought a new car. Rather than being excited for you and hyping you up, like a good friend would, they look for ways to tear you down. They poke holes in all the good things happening to you until you walk away feeling so much worse. After a while, you’ll stop telling them anything at all.
They disappear and ghost you for extended periods of time, and then come crawling back.
You’ll text them, asking if they want to hang out, but the chat goes silent. It’s crushing. You’ll wonder what you could have done to deserve it. Then just as soon as you’ve almost gotten over it, they’ll enter your life again with all the damage of a human-shaped hurricane.
Nothing is ever their fault.
They could literally steal from you, and when you catch them they’ll say, “I thought I’d teach you a lesson not to just leave your stuff laying around. Like I’d actually want this thing anyway.” After a while, you’ll feel so thoroughly gaslit that you’ll wonder if you really are the bad one after all.
The friendship is incredibly lopsided.
You’re always doing favors for them, always giving them gifts for birthdays and holidays, always by their side when something goes wrong. But do they do the same for you? A good friendship has give and take on both sides.
They’ve alienated everyone but you.
You seem to be the only one that’s still friends with them. Everyone else has floated away, but only you remain, too afraid to be yet another person to end the friendship. Unfortunately, you might have lost a few of these people too, just by association.
Everyone in your life tells you they’re bad news.
You hear it all the time. From your other friends, from your partner, from your family. Everyone says your friend is toxic, but you still keep them around.
You keep making excuses for them.
You say, “No, you just don’t understand them. They’ve been through so much.” You make excuses for your toxic friend because it justifies keeping them in their life. It protects you from having to admit that they’re hurting you–and that you’re letting them.
Whenever you’re with them, you end up feeling bad about yourself.
This isn’t how you should feel about any relationship, let alone a friendship. Let’s all vow to eliminate the people in our lives, whoever they may be, who make us feel worse for knowing them. You’re a gem, and if your “friend” makes you feel the opposite, they don’t deserve to be in your life.