We talk a lot about toxic romantic relationships and how damaging they can be to our lives and our feelings of self-worth. However, toxic platonic friends can be just as harmful to us and you could be far better off without them in your life. Sometimes it can be difficult to spot a toxic friend, but here are some signs to watch out for so you can get out now.
- They don’t celebrate your accomplishments. Friends are happy for each other when good things happen in your lives. They get excited when you achieve great things and celebrate with you as if it’s happening to them too because they want to see you succeed. Toxic friends tend to have a lot of insecurity and jealousy. If they don’t seem happy when you have success in some area of your life or if they try to downplay it as if it’s not a big deal, they’re not truly supportive of you.
- They ridicule the things you like. A lot of friends meet and connect because of shared interests and similar hobbies but some friends connect for other reasons even if they have very different personalities and interests. It’s okay if you and your friends don’t like to do all the same things, but they should never ridicule or diminish the things that you love. Even if they don’t get it, they should respect the things that make you who you are because they want you to be happy.
- They talk about you behind your back. This one should be pretty obvious but sometimes it can trick us. We all know true friends don’t speak badly about you behind your back or gossip about you, but if your friend is talking about your personal business with other people when you’ve confided something very private with them, this can be very toxic behavior. When you tell your friend something that you don’t want other people to know and you make that clear to them, there is absolutely no reason they should discuss it with other people. They might claim it’s because they care about you or that they’re worried, but the fact of the matter is that when you tell a friend a secret, they keep it for you. If they don’t, they may not be the right friend for you.
- They try to kill your confidence. One of the big indicators of a toxic friend is that they try to knock your confidence every chance they get. Many toxic friends are just insecure and feel the need to bring other people down in order for them to feel higher up and better about themselves. It’s a lot easier for a toxic friend to deal with their own insecurities if you have them as well so, if your “friend” is slashing your self-esteem every chance they get, they have to go.
- They try to hide jealousy with rudeness. Toxic people tend to have something negative to say about everything you do and have. If they’re constantly making rude comments about things like your clothes, your job, or your significant other, they’re likely just jealous of the things that you have so they try to downplay them or make you feel bad. Without bragging, you should be able to tell your friends about all of the great things in your life and they should be happy for you. If this person lets their jealousy come in between your friendship, they just don’t have a place in your life.
- They pressure you into things you don’t want. I hate to break it to you but peer pressure doesn’t just stop after high school Adult friends can be even worse when coercing their friends into doing things and going places that they’re uncomfortable with. There’s nothing wrong with having friends who have different personalities and different interests than you. However, if your friend doesn’t respect your boundaries then they’re not a very good friend.
- They don’t appreciate you for you. We talk all the time about how great romantic relationships are built on the fact that your partner loves you and accepts you just as you are and doesn’t try to change you. This type of love and acceptance is equally important in platonic friendships. True friends love each other for who they are and appreciate all of the little quirks and personality traits that make you you. The friend that tries to change you or even tell you that you need to change a part of yourself isn’t a real friend and you’re better off without them.
- They enable dangerous behaviors. Sometimes we find ourselves stuck in self-destructive behaviors or lifestyles. It’s so important to have a strong support system of family friends around us who can help us when we’re struggling. A good friend will see what you’re going through and do everything they can to help you or get you the help that you need. A toxic friend will either engage in destructive behaviors with you or will risk upsetting you or getting involved in a complicated situation.
- They don’t encourage you to go after your dreams. Toxic friends don’t want to see others succeed. They want to do everything they can to prevent people from having more happiness or more achievement than they do. So, if your friend doesn’t encourage you to go after what you want in life and tells you that nothing will come of your dreams, that should be a huge red flag in your mind that they’re toxic and not for you. You should want to surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you feel like your capable of anything. Those are the qualities of real and true friends.