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6 Red Flags of Toxic Friendships

In a world that is being dominated by the vast growing digital age, genuine friendships can be hard to find due to social media apps taking over the way in which we communicate and process information. Merriam-Webster defines a friend as “one attached to another by affection or esteem” and “one that is not hostile.” Of course, everyone has their own meaning and rules when it comes to friendship; However, there are some red flags one should take note of when choosing and analyzing their circle of friends. Some of these red flags may appear to be subjective, but they, in my opinion, are the opposite of what true friendship entails. Keep reading for the six signs you have a toxic friend.

1. They never congratulate you on your accomplishments.

You finally got that internship you wanted or launched that business idea you sat on for months, only to look around and find you’re the only one clapping. It’s ok to be your own hype man, but success feels better when you have someone to share it with. Sure, strangers and social media followers whom you have never met DM you, congratulating you on your new endeavor, but your best friends are nowhere to be found except in the views of your story. No call or text, just silence. Friends should be happy for you whenever you level up and if yours are giving off vibes of jealousy, then it may be time to cut them loose.

2. You’re always the one with a listening ear.

A key aspect of genuine friendship is being able to lend a shoulder in times of despair. When breakups happen, you’re the first to answer a call or text in an effort to be there for your friends. When it’s you who needs to vent, however, no one is available to listen or comfort you. Empathy should be reciprocated throughout a friend group. It is one of the bonds that keep friends together. If your friends aren’t there for you when you need them most, were they even a friend to begin with?

3. They cut you off when you speak.

If you find yourself being silenced when trying to simply converse or speak up for yourself, your friend may be a bit intimidated by you. This could go two ways: You say nothing and allow them to control you, or you stand up for yourself and stop allowing them to disrespect you. Respect is an important part of friendship and if they choose not to respect you or your voice, then they do not deserve to have you in their presence.

4. They try and make you feel bad for making the right decision

A friend that tries to deter you from reaching your goals is an enemy in disguise. For example, if your goal is to buy a used car in six months, and you plan to save $5,000 then that is going to require concrete discipline such as staying in and eating out less. If your friends try and guilt trip you or manipulate you into spending money, rather than saving, then they should not be in your friend group, because a real friend isn’t going to let you slip up on your goals. Friends are supposed to take you higher, not lower you or keep you from succeeding.

5. They are slightly shady.

Friends should build you up, not tear you down. If you find your friend frequently making sarcastic comments, then maybe you should have a talk with them and discern their intentions. Don’t allow them to keep shading you, especially if their words and hurting you. Speak up, and if they choose not to change their behavior then walk away.

6. They gossip to you about their other friends.  

If your friends are telling you other people’s business, then more than likely they are bound to be telling your business to other people too. Conversations with friends should rarely be gossip oriented. There’s enough negativity in the world. If you see a friend hanging out with the person they were gossiping about, then that is most certainly a two-faced “frenemy” who should be cut loose.

In essence, your space should be filled with positive souls who uplift and motivate you to be the best version of yourself. Don’t hesitate to let go of people who don’t mean you well.



Jada is a first year Global Studies Major at GSU. She enjoys taking photos and writing poetry during her free time, and loves engaging in service with her community in Atlanta, GA. She aspires to travel to less fortunate countries and teach their children how to read and write.
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