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10 Signs You’re in a Toxic Friendship

Nobody deserves to be in a toxic friendship — you deserve to be around people who build you up. I’ve had my fair share of friendships that turned toxic, and I was lucky enough to have recognized it and distanced myself from those people. Having toxic relationships brings you down and makes everything gloomy! Learn how to recognize the signs early on, and live a happier life with your true friends. Here are 10 questions to ask yourself about your friendships:


1. Does your friend support you through thick and thin?

You’re going through a hard time in your life, and you go to your friend to let it off your chest. A toxic friend might shrug it off like it’s no big deal. They’ll tell you to “grow up”; they’ll tell you that you shouldn’t react the way you are; they’ll say “well, I’m going through something worse!” A good friend will listen and give you a hug; they’ll validate your feelings and offer their support if you need it.

You’re taking a leap and going for something you want; is your friend happy for you, or do they act like it’s nothing? A true friend would cheer you on and encourage you to try new things and go for what you want in life. A toxic friend, on the other hand, might try to hold you back.


2. Does your friend compete for attention?

When you hang out with other people, does your friend try to one-up everyone, even you? A classic “one-upper” doesn’t mean they’re toxic unless they’re excessive or mean about it. Toxic friends may feel the need to get your attention; they’ll try to take you away from other things so your focus can be on them instead.


3. Does your friend get upset when you want to hang out with your other friends and not them?

Trying to separate you from your other friends to get you to hang out with them more is just one of a toxic friend’s manipulative ways. They’re jealous that you’re spending your free time with your other friends instead of them.


4. Is your friend asking for a lot of things from you but never wanting to simply hang out?

Some toxic friends don’t want your attention or your time, they just want what you can offer to them. If a friend is constantly asking for you to pick them up but refuses to hang out, they are most likely just using you for your car. If you feel more like a personal assistant or a chauffeur, it might be a toxic friendship.


5. Is your friend picking out your weaknesses and using them against you or saying/doing things to purposely hurt you?

They know you well, and they know your strengths and your weaknesses. But unlike your genuine friends, this friend will use those weaknesses to break you down. A toxic friend may also say things to bring down your self-esteem or do things that they know will hurt you — they’re only thinking about themselves.


6. Does your friend bring you down more than they build you up?

Constantly telling you that you are dumb, a blonde, or that you’ll never succeed is exactly what a toxic friend will do. They don’t want you to feel good about yourself because making you feel bad makes them feel better about themselves. The things they tell you are most likely not even true, but they tell you these things so often that you will begin to think so.


7. Have you heard from your other friends that a friend is gossiping about you?

A true friend will tell you if she has a problem with you, she won’t start talking badly about you to her other friends. A friend gossiping about you is just another way to hurt you indirectly.


8. Are they trying to constantly control you or change who you are?

This friend likes to have all control over who you are and what you do. A good friend will support what you do and love who you are just the way you are.


9. Do they get mad at you easily and it turns into a big fight?

This is a big one! Are you fighting more than you are laughing with each other? It’s one thing to try and solve conflicts in the friendship, but to constantly fight over everything is not healthy. You shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells with your friends. Real friends won’t want to break you down to a point that they make you cry.


10. Do they get jealous of your achievements?

A real friend will cheer and happy-dance with you over your successes, not grumble or try to “one-up” you. If you’re happy, your friend should also be happy — or at least be happy for you. Your friends are your cheerleaders. If your friend is always ruining your upbeat mood or downsizing the achievement, it’s time to find a new cheerleader.


If your friend is exhibiting toxic behaviors, it might be time to put some distance between the two of you. Make sure you at least confront your friend about how they’re making you feel. Sometimes we don’t even realize that our friends are bringing us down; we don’t realize that they’re the reason we’re upset until it’s been brought to our attention. You deserve the best, and you have the right to take control of your happiness. Surround yourself with those who genuinely love and care for you.

Laura Dirk

Wisconsin '21

Hi! I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin - Madison studying biology. I am crossing my fingers to get into vet school to continue my education and follow my dream! Follow along my rollercoaster of college with me through my articles, learn new tips and tricks, learn from my mistakes, be inspired!
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