How to Spot a Toxic Relationship

As I move into my third year of university, reflecting on memories of the first 2 years is somewhat bittersweet.

Uni is presented in the media as the ultimate social experience. Before you arrive, you carry a certain anticipation and excitement about your future social life – maybe you hope you’ll find friends for life, a perfect partner, or be the most popular on campus. For me, it was always to leave university with ‘forever’ friends.

But with great expectations comes great challenges. With your mental health already under pressure at uni, it’s important to put yourself first. Sometimes that means recognising when your relationships have turned toxic, whether that’s with your friendships or partners.

So, what do you need to watch out for? If your relationship is showing any of these red flags, it might be worth a thought.

  1. 1. The relationship brings more negativity into your life than positivity

    Surrounding yourself with positive people is important for your mental health and wellbeing.

  2. 2. They demand too much from you

    You should never feel you owe too much to your relationships.

  3. 3. They are manipulative/controlling

    You should feel in control of your own life.

  4. 4. They gossip about others/you

    If their gossiping makes you anxious or uncomfortable, it’s probably a red flag.

  5. 5. They are untrustworthy

    Trust is the most important part of a healthy relationship.

If you have a person in your life that is negatively impacting you, seek help from friends and family and surround yourself with positivity.

And remember: you’re not alone. Removing toxic people from our lives is something most of us will have to face, and it is ultimately sure to improve your mood and happiness.

If you’re struggling with your mental health or with university life, make sure you seek professional help. Lancaster University offers mental health services, as does your GP, or you can visit charities such as Mind at: