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10 Toxic Friendship Red Flags

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Do your friends feel some type of way when you make plans with other friends? Have you ever been peer pressured? Have your friends ever taken a “joke” too far? We don’t talk about toxic friendships enough. Here’s 10 red flags.

1. They get mad at you for hanging out with different friends.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having different friends or having different groups of friends. It is up to you whether or not you want to merge those different groups. You have different interests, so you spend time with different people. Your friends should be able to understand that.

2. They pressure you to do things.

There is a difference between giving advice and being forceful. Your friends can help you come to a conclusion, but at the end of the day, your own decisions are yours to make. If you feel like your friends are being controlling, you are in a toxic friendship. Friends can peer pressure you, too.

3. They take “jokes” way too far.

You’re not a “party pooper” for getting your friend in check when you feel disrespected. Friends may joke on each other from time to time, but that should not result in hurt feelings. Your friends should understand that there are limitations. They should respect them by knowing what’s off-limits.

4. They take advantage of you.

There is nothing wrong with doing favors for friends. However, if those “favors” are usually “big” and they come rather often, your friend may be taking advantage of you, especially if those favors aren’t being reciprocated. If you can relate, then you may be dealing with a toxic friendship.

5. They’re judgmental.

You should be able to come to your friends about anything without fear of being criticized. Your friend should not belittle or embarrass you. You should be able to come to them for advice or a listening ear without wondering if you are going to be arbitrated. If you feel like you can’t come to your friends when you need them, you may be in a toxic friendship.

6. They hold you back.

A friend should want you to move forward and reach your goals. A friend should not keep you from doing anything that could improve the quality of your life. This type of behavior is selfish and unfair. If your friend is halting you from achieving your dreams, you are most definitely dealing with a toxic friendship.

7. They aren’t supportive.

Your friends should be some of your biggest cheerleaders, number one fans and overall supporters. It doesn’t matter whether you’re moving across the country in a few months because you landed a great job or you got a new dress to wear for a date Saturday night. Your friends should gas you up and do whatever they can to help you succeed.

8. You can’t trust them.

You tell your friends some of your deepest, darkest secrets. You confide in them whenever you are going through something. Some of your most vulnerable moments have taken place right in front of these people. You need to be able to trust them. You need to be able to know that they aren’t going to turn on you at any point in time.

9. They don’t really care about your life.

You may have been friends with this person for over a year and are just now realizing that they never really took the time to actually get to know you. You may find yourself answering questions about subjects that should have been brought up months ago due to your friend’s inconsideration and self-centered conversational skills. This type of behavior is not okay.

10. They bring you down.

Of course, people don’t go through hard times on purpose and they probably aren’t trying to bring everyone down with their mood. However, if you are working on your own happiness, being around someone that is constantly reminding you of the negative side of the situation could become extremely toxic to your well-being.


Erica Dabney is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University. Some of her favorite activities include discovering new music, tearing down the patriarchy and dining out at black-owned restaurants in Richmond. She plans to graduate with her bachelors in journalism in 2019.
Keziah is a writer for Her Campus. She is majoring in Fashion Design with a minor in Fashion Merchandising. HCXO!