Some people come into your life and stay for a season. Others stay for a lifetime. It’s very likely that you’ll have more friends who come and go than ones who stay – and I’ve learned that’s ok. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised that not all friendships are healthy. Much like relationships, they can be toxic and you may not even know it until you take a step back. Here are some signs you might be in a toxic friendship.
You’re always at fault
It seems no matter what you do, it’s never enough. This is a friend who will criticise everything you say and do to her/him. Whether it’s the tone in your voice, or a comment you made (with no intention to harm), this friend is quick to point it out. And they’ll make you pay for it. They might give you the cold shoulder or ignore you. Everyone has their faults and sometimes we drop the ball as friends but to make you feel like it’s constantly your fault is a big red flag.
You always come out exhausted
The most toxic friends are often also emotional vampires. If you find yourself emotionally exhausted after a catch-up, it’s a sign that the friendship is toxic for you. An example could be, I always use to meet up with this friend, and every time I met up with this friend, she’d just dump all of her issues on me. Not only was it hard to get a word in, but when their rant was over, they never asked how I was doing. It was always time for them to go. Healthy friendships are meant to be energising, not draining.
It’s always about them
It seems that no matter what is happening with you, your ‘friend’ always finds a way to make it about them. If I talked about a nice thing a mutual friend did for me when I was going through a hard time, she’d interject and says something like – well, you met her first, we were never that close. I still recall the time I went through a miscarriage and rather than just listening, she’d tell me about how her and her partner were having fun trying for a baby.
You’re always the one to make plans
Check the text exchanges between you and your friend. Are you always the one reaching out? Are you always the one making the effort? If you’re putting in the work, do you feel like it’s being reciprocated? If not, it’s another sign of a toxic friendship.
Your friend is never happy for you
You just bought a house. You and your partner have adopted a puppy. You and your long-term boyfriend just got engaged. All happy times right? A good friend is there cheering you on. They’re happy for you. They don’t go MIA, they don’t distance themselves, they don’t make you feel bad for your successes. They say you know who your true friends are when you’re down but you can also tell what kind of friends they are when you are up. It’s healthy to have feelings of jealousy but not healthy to make a friend feel bad about their biggest life milestones.
At the end of the day, if a friend doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, it’s time to let go. Or sometimes you just have to let them let you go. It’s not always easy but once you do, it feels so freeing and you can make space for new, healthy friendships.
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Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.