post written by: Angel Chernoff

10 Signs Your Friend is Toxic

10 Signs Your Friend is Toxic

Toxic friends complicate your life.  These people are more than a nuisance, they’re parasitic.  Precious time slips away as you deal with their negativity; and you’re left wondering why you feel so despondent.  If you’re ready to simplify your life, you can’t condone these toxic friendships any longer.

What Toxic Friends Do

  1. They drain you. – You feel psychologically and emotionally depleted after spending time with them, instead of uplifted.  (Read Emotional Blackmail.)
  2. They are unsupportive. – You’re afraid to tell them about new, important aspects of your life because they’ve been unsupportive or downright rude about your ideas in the past.
  3. They are up to no good. – They regularly partake in activities that are morally unjust.
  4. Their values and interests are opposite to your own. – Dissimilar value systems often mix like oil and water.  This doesn’t necessarily mean the other person is wrong, it just means they aren’t right for you.
  5. They are unreliable. – They always break their promises.
  6. They only contact you when they need something. – Otherwise you never hear from them.
  7. They aren’t meeting you halfway. – If you are always the one calling your friend to make plans and going out of your way to be with them, but they never return the favor and attempt to go out of her way for you, there’s a problem.
  8. They are jealous of you. – Jealousy is:  “I want what you have and I want to take it away from you.”
  9. They have zero ambition. – Beware; a lack of ambition can be contagious.  As the saying goes, “You can’t soar like an eagle when you hang out with turkeys.”
  10. They constantly drive you to moments of insanity. – You catch yourself daydreaming about how good it would feel to throw a banana cream pie in their face.  ;-)

My Story of Toxicity

Here’s why I know how bad these friendships can be:  I’ve been on both sides of the court.  Yeah, I have my share of victim stories about friends who were friends only if I agreed with them and gave them the spotlight.  I’ve got tales of woe about past friends who were fabulous and fun, provided I didn’t try to cut into their time by (gasp!) spending time alone and having other friendships.  (You know, having a life outside of them?)

But the truth is I’ve also been a terrible friend at times, and I realize this.  In the past I have neglected some friendships by relying on the other person to stay in touch instead of reaching out myself.  Some of these friendships withered away over time because of my toxic behavior.  Bottom line:  Toxicity is a two-way street – you have to be a good friend too.  (Hold this thought; we’ll come back to it.)

How to End a Toxic Friendship

In my experience there are two ways to end a toxic friendship:  quickly and painfully or slowly and awkwardly.  Neither is fun, neither is neat, and neither is easy.

If you still want to keep this person in your life, just to a lesser degree:

  1. Stop responding to fake crisis calls. – If you don’t drop everything to take their “I’m so devastated!  My boss gave me a look that I think means he secretly hates me and that jerk from marketing wore the same shirt as me” calls, they’ll find someone else who will.  Or they’ll deal with it.  Either way, it’s okay to step back and get off the first alert calling list for non-emergencies.
  2. Take positive control of negative conversations. – It’s okay to change the topic, talk about you, or steer conversations away from pity parties and self-absorbed sagas.  Be willing to disagree with them and deal with the consequences.
  3. Demonstrate that you won’t be insulted or belittled. – To be honest, I’ve never had much luck trying to call toxic people out when they’ve insulted me.  The best response I’ve gotten is, “I’m sorry you took what I said so personally.”  Much more effective has been ending conversations with sickening sweetness or just plain abruptness.  The message is clear:  There is no reward for subtle digs and no games will be played at your end.  (Read In Sheep’s Clothing.)
  4. Be brutally honest. – Some people really don’t recognize their own toxic tendencies or their inconsiderate behavior.  You can actually tell a person, “I feel like you ignore me until you need something.”  You can also be honest if their overly negative attitude is what’s driving you away:  “I’m trying to focus on positive things.  What’s something good that we can talk about?”  It may work and it may not, but your honesty will ensure that any friendship that continues forward is built on mutually beneficial ground.

If you just want to completely end your relationship with the person in question:

  1. Stop taking their calls completely. – If you’re stuck seeing them on a regular basis, like a coworker, keep things on a purely professional level.  Find a reason to leave and excuse yourself as needed.  It’s passive aggressive to expect avoidance to handle the problem, but it’s an important component.  You can’t cut ties if you still chat on a regular basis.
  2. Firmly tell them you’ve had enough. – If you’ve decided it’s time to cut a truly toxic influence out of your life, you can let them know honestly (without being cruel).  “I just can’t be friends with you right now” isn’t fun to hear, but it has the benefit of putting everybody on the same page.
  3. Make new friends worth having. – Seriously!  Give your time to friends you connect with and enjoy.  The long shadows of toxic friends shrink considerably when you’ve got better things to do with your time than worry about their negativity.

Finally, Be a Good Friend

It doesn’t help to cut toxic friends out of your life if you’re not ready to foster quality friendships.  On occasion, you may find that the toxicity of a friendship drains away when you start being a better friend yourself.  Honestly, I’m not trying to preach; this is something I’m working on in my life.

Make that first call, offer a genuine compliment, schedule a fun outing with another person in mind, send that ridiculously funny card for no real reason – there are tons of ways to nurture your friendships.  When you’re surrounded by good friends and good intentions, it’s amazing how pettiness and toxicity simply evaporates.  (I’ve written about this extensively in the relationships chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

The floor is yours:

What are your experiences with toxic friendships?  How can we better recognize them?  What else can we do about it?  Please share your thoughts in the comments, and of course, play nice.  :-)

Photo by: Paolo Marconi

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  • I’ve been on both sides of the court myself. More so on the negative side. It’s a sickening feeling; but I like to say I’m on the other “team” more often nowadays days.

    Thanks for this post, it really kicked some sense into me!

  • This is how I view if I want someone as a friend.

    If I suddenly became wheelchair bound: would my friend
    a. be there to support me during the initial shock phase
    b. continue to hang out with me despite my condition
    c. whip my butt when I’m feeling sorry for myself (not literally :)

    Cause good friends are there during a crisis, friends regardless of your life situation, and challenge you to be your best.

  • Toxic friendship is an interesting topic, especially after I read one of James Altucher’s articles. I can’t really remember the name, but his message was “bring closer those you raise you up and cut out those who bring you down.”

    When I first read that, I began looking through my own social circle. I realized there were at least a few “close friends” that were very draining and toxic. They were quick to criticize everyone, never gave true support, and were generally only interested in how they can benefit from something.

    Luckily for me, I moved to Arizona and started with a new environment last year. I had to leave tons of amazing friendships but we still keep in touch. The good thing is that opportunities are flying open for me and I now know how to recognize toxic friendships. With this knowledge, I purposefully surround myself with friends of high quality that help me grow.

  • Wow! As simple as that…

    I have been with such toxic people with the exact frames of mind you describe. Freedom from toxicity is what we all deserve!

  • Great article, I’ve had my fair share of toxic friendships. My question is: What do you do if you are in a business partnership with your ‘toxic friend?’ How are you supposed to handle the constant weight of negativity and pessimism?

  • Wow, this has been such a great coincidence. Just this morning, before I turned on my computer, I was thinking about this friend who doesn’t usually ever call me unless she needs something from me. She doesn’t take it well if I score better than her at tests or if someone compliments me. Our finals are approaching, and everyone is nervous. And lately, she just calls me every two hours or so just to demand how much I’ve studied. And when I ask her how she’s doing, she just lies and tells me and everyone else that she’s hasn’t touched the books, she spends half a day sleeping, and so on. So now, I’m trying to limit answering her calls once or twice per day. She also acts like a swamp and pulls down everyone with her. So, I’m trying to step off her radar for a while…

  • A long time ago I decided to work consciously at removing the sociological, emotional and psychological toxins from my life; toxic conversations, toxic attitudes, toxic beliefs, toxic relationships, toxic environments and of course, toxic people. We don’t need people, circumstances or situations poisoning our life or any part thereof, but that’s exactly what (some) people will do (knowingly or not) if we let them. So I choose, not.

  • Great article, you guys always seem to post just when I need it! What I want to know is what do you do when it’s a family member that’s toxic?

    I’ve been having issues with my Dad for a while now, but lately it’s so bad I don’t even want to be in the same place as him! He’s constantly putting people down and never seems to support anyone with what they want to do. He’s a very negative person and it’s draining to be around and it really stresses me out when I’m with him.

    The problem isn’t just with my Dad though; both myself and my youngest sister have spoken to our Mum about the way our Dad acts and how we don’t want him to be around so much (our Dad doesn’t live with us, but our Mum and he are back together and he spends quite a bit of time at our house). But, when we mention this to Mum she gets really defensive and thinks that we don’t want them back together (we have never said that she can’t still see him - just that it would be easier on us if they went out or she goes to his place instead of him coming to ours).

    So what can we do when any conversation with our Dad ends-up in an argument and we end-up upset, and talking to Mum doesn’t help either?

    It’s much harder to ignore calls and tell them you’ve had enough of their behaviour when it’s your parents and you have to see them all the time.

  • The biggest one for me is no ambition. If they are ambitious the rest falls into place as well.

  • I also have encountered toxic friends in the past, and really they can drain your physical and emotional energy. Some toxic friends use reverse psychology and make you feel guilty at times should you refuse to help them. That’s why I now don’t care if I only have few friends, because at least I know they’re for keeps.

    Another great article. More power!

  • I had to look at myself and what I had been contributing to toxic friends.

    I had just had some major life changing events (brain surgery, my dog passing, and moving from another country back to my home town).

    It had been years since I had proximity relations with many of those I considered friends.

    Long story short, friends who my husband & I thought we were closest too turned out to be far different than the facade they kept up over the years.

    It was ugly… 15 year friendship ended.
    Top reasons they were let go:
    jealousy of our financials
    Proclaimed to be open minded but put others that didn’t see things their way down.
    disrespectful of peoples time - being chronically late.
    Emotionally unavailable.

    Granted after facing all the crap we had in a three month time span we were pretty needy, but just the same we had always been available for them.

    It finally dawned on me after several uncaring and snarky remarks that they really only pretended to care. 15 years I made the effort… and if I didn’t try all those years there would have been less investment. Its been 3 months since we told them flat out we were done. Sure, it turned into it was us that was the problem and I am still trying to let my anger go.

  • My boyfriend’s close friend came back from traveling in Australia a couple of years ago and brought back his new girlfriend. As such, we became friends by default. However, she is really not my kind of person and we have very different values and lead different lives. I’ve been struggling for so long between distancing myself from her but still making the sacrifice to hang out with her for my boyfriends sake. The thing is, unlike my best friends who uplift me, this girl brings out the absolute worst in me and causes arguments between me and my boyfriend because sometimes I just cannot be around her. What to do?!

  • I was really close to someone who was actually quite toxic. At the time, however, I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong with our relationship; I just knew I was putting in a lot more work and being treated as if I didn’t matter. When I finally had had enough of it I ended the friendship. I felt as if I had done something wrong when I walked away.

    A few years later (last holiday season) I saw her while out and about. It was no different from the last time I had seen her and this time as I walked away I realized she’s toxic and I don’t need that noise in my life! Thanks for the great reminder of what is important in friendships. And, the great reminder that it is a two-way street and we all need to continuously work on relationships that are important in our lives.

  • I just recently let two such friends go (the quick & painful way). I’d hung onto them while going through some tough personal stuff, but then events happened with each of them that made me realize I don’t need my “new” life cluttered with people who don’t share my values or who belittle people and refuse to recognize it.

    But now there’s a big hole in my social circle and I’m feeling lonely, because my good friends aren’t as available. That part isn’t fun, and I find myself revisiting the reasons I let those two go.

  • WOW! Love this post today. I’ve written about my long experience of being in a very toxic relationship… it was quite healing to write it all down! It finally came down to just forcing myself to cut all ties and contact completely. With the help of friends and a professional, I was able to cut him completely from my life. He actually had the gall to say he thought I was seeking professional help to help me stay IN the relationship, which just gave me more confidence I was doing the right thing.

    I will never forget how freeing and empowering the feeling was to have that burden off my back and start taking care of myself. There was a backlash of hateful attacks from him afterwards, but I know it was just because I stopped letting him have control of me with his manipulations. In the end I came out stronger and happier than ever. In the process, I learned a lot about myself and my contribution to the toxic relationship and have used the experience to grow and help others. I continue to ignore his attempts to make contact with me. I don’t always comment on your posts Marc and Angel, but I do read them all… always such a blessing! Thank you :)

  • Another great post.

    I’ve also been on both sides. As I have gotton older, I am more precious about my time. I am happy to stay away from the toxic relationships whether that is for a period of time or on a permanent basis. I choose to put myself first and I have no problem with letting the toxic ones go. I have also really built my own relationship with myself - like you said. I am my best friend. I will never let me down. Yes I have some fabulous friends and I love them dearly, but I come first. I have to.

    Thanks for a great post.
    With love from London (”,)

  • Great post. I had a boss who displayed all of these characteristics. He really was hard work and particularly needy. And treated me and everyone else like dirt, whilst still wanting to be our friend. Worst thing was that his boss really was his best friend, so leaving us all with no chain to report grievances through. I was even told by HR to sort it out with him. Impossible! Caused no end of sleepless nights, stress for which I required counseling and new explosion of my marriage. I eventually dealt with this by leaving. It was the only way. And things have never been better! Toxic people cause more harm than we know!

  • I think you hit the nail on the head when you said I “have been on both sides of the fence.” Me too. While I definitely have had some friendships where the other person can be said to be “toxic,” I too have been guilty at times. I think we all can be toxic and hopefully we can work our way through it with self awareness and friends who actually care enough to let us know when we are out of line and we have the humility to recognize things. There is no ‘cut and dry’ method for relationships , period. We are angels and devils, all at times. There are individuals who seem perpetually stuck in toxic behavior. They are called narcissists. Things never get better with them. But most of us, I think , (hope) have a conscience and veer back and forth from selfishness, to empathy. Love your stuff. :) Keep the positive message coming!

  • In the garden several years ago I realized, “you choose the plants in your garden, choose the people in your life.”

    Hit eject button that day. Wasn’t pretty for those around me, it included some family.

    Life has been pretty ever since !!

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  • I recently ended a toxic relationship which had lasted almost 20 years. I’d tried several times in the past and always ended up going back to the relationship. Not only was this person displaying most of the traits you’ve listed above, he had also become increasingly demanding as his health declined due to bad life choices he’d made. Once I knew he was being medically stable, I cut him out of my life and it has made an enormous difference in my day-to-day existence. I’m able to fully focus on my job (teaching), my family, my hobbies and my other very supportive friends. I do feel hurt from time to time, realizing I spent all of those years trying to make the relationship work (and failing miserably), but I’m moving forward and not looking back. This is an excellent article… thank you!

  • A lack of ambition can be contagious. As the saying goes, “You can’t soar like an eagle when you hang out with turkeys.” Ive certainly hung out with too many turkeys in my day, but I’ve since made it a point to surround myself with people who inspire me.

  • Good points, but I think you have missed out a very important suggestion on how to deal with toxic friends, which is - to help them not be toxic. Some toxic friends are like that because it’s the only way they can draw an emotional response from someone. They do not call because they are needy and want to BE called. Many times, they are just in need. This is not emotional blackmail but a cry for help in the only way they know how. Are you sure your friend is truly toxic? They might just lack the emotional tools needed to be fair.

    If they are simply a bad-apple, then fair enough but we have to find this out, the ‘why they do’ is as important as the ‘what they do’. Otherwise - by cutting them out of our lives, we are being the very thing we hate. Just be sure you haven’t misjudged someone who could really do with a hand.

  • I un-friended a very toxic friend on Facebook last week and I am invigorated. No more jabbing, negative and pretending to like someone I disliked immensely. Freedom at its finest.

  • This is a great article with very good advice. Thank you :)

    However, there is one aspect that I think cannot always be treated as a sign of a toxic relationship. You say that you have neglected some friendships, waited for the other person to make contact, and that some of your past friendships withered because of your behavior.

    I was, and currently am, there but I don’t think the reason is I am toxic as I don’t have the features that make a ‘Toxic Friend’.

    In my opinion, the reason for that kind of withdrawal from a relationship can be related to simply growing apart over time and developing in different directions. The reason is that some of us are changing and some not so much or in a very different direction.

    In such a situation, those who used to be our good old friends become less involved in our lives and we in theirs. It’s just a natural process. The same happens in romantic relationships sometimes and there doesn’t have to be anything toxic about it.

  • I too have been on both sides of the friendship coin.

    People who I thought were my friends dropped me when I moved to Arizona in 2007. It was like, “Out of sight, out of mind.” I also had family members treat meet as if I was a criminal because I moved to another state. One of my cousin’s admitted she was jealous of me because she wanted to move out-of-state, but her mother and sister talked her out of it. I give her credit for admitting that she was jealous of me.

    I have had moments when I wasn’t a good friend due to my own drama. Or, I was too busy with pursuing my master’s degree along with working all of the time. I didn’t recognize that my friends needed me. To quote Dr. Len Hew, “I’m sorry. Please forgive. I love you. Thank you.”

    The way we can better recognize toxic friendships is to work on ourselves from the inside out. Clear out old negative thoughts and beliefs. Process them. Heal them. Forgive yourself. Forgive others.

    Going forward, listen to your gut instinct and vibes about people. If you get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you’re around certain people, that’s a warning that something is off. Listen. Open your eyes and see the red flags, but don’t judge them.

    If you’re going through a tough time, be honest with your friends. Phone them and say, “I need some space right now because of (fill in the blank).” If they offer to help, say, “Thank you.” But maybe you need to face something on your own. That’s okay. True friends will understand and will be there for you no matter what.

  • I wanted to add this quote from Deepak Chopra…

    “Whatever relationships you have attracted in your life at this moment, are precisely the ones you need in your life at this moment. There is a hidden meaning behind all events, and this hidden meaning is serving your own evolution.”

    If you have toxic relationships in your life, see the gifts within them. And then heal.

  • I totally agree with all thee above, the question I pose to myself is:

    What is the real reason behind the toxicity in people?

    I still don’t know the full answer, but in trying to understand why do I exist, what is my reason for existence and also trying to understand if the other person knows his/her reason for existence or not.

    I just think that if a person don’t know his/her reason for existence they will be looking for ways to feel that they belong …… It might not be in the right way and it might even be in a toxic way.

    Maybe we just want to “be”, to feel that we are needed, maybe it is deeper than that, maybe we are still searching for our “WHY”.

    I try to be a good friend and I always focus on the good in people.

    In the past I was quite negative, it nearly destroyed me.

    For the last 3 years I am working hard on being positive, to see the good and to turn my back on the negative.

    Life is to precious to waist .

  • I found a toxic cocktail is created when one person has low self esteem and the other is somewhat of a narcissist or is a manipulator. We can never discount our part in the mix. Ask yourself why you feel the need to be belittled or ignored, why you walk on eggs avoiding saying certain things, why you keep going back for more of this type of “friendship,” or what you are getting out of the relationship? Whether to keep or end the friendship lies in the answers.

  • Yep, just like you said, sometimes I’ve had “toxic” friends and sometimes, honestly, it’s been me who was toxic. Not calling back, not reaching out, only seeing them on my terms… a two-way street indeed.

  • I have experienced the best way to rid of toxic friends is to evaluate your principles. Understand those principles and live them. In a natural fashion toxicity will gradually fade from your life and if your principles are true to you, the universe will shape positively around you.

    “It doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone” — this applies to both friendships and relationships. I’d rather have no friends than have toxicity in my life.

  • I realized recently (actually last Dec. a day before my b-day) that a friendship I have had since childhood had “once again” outgrown itself. We have been friends … almost like siblings in the sense that we bonded closely in childhood. But over the years at key points in development and opening of the heart and mind … I have felt we were simply ‘not connecting, understanding each other etc.” I have a short memory too I guess because several years would pass and I would somehow be put back in touch with her … only to realize another reason we were not ‘on the same page’ … eventually after many years of this I realized it was all inside of me. I was an only child who deeply wanted a younger sister … realized now that I cast her in that position and she needed it too (in childhood - she found she was adopted by older VERY strict and religious relatives) I was her escape and way that she could be ‘free’ to live and grow and construct her own ideas … but almost literally living through me … She for me I see was a ‘doll’ someone who followed me but did not, could not share in thoughts and ideas that were being allowed to grow and express themselves in my world.

    I guess our ‘friendship’ worked as little kids more because we truly did share a lot of loves: music and instruments we played, bike riding, writing and photography. But as we grew apart and had those long periods of disconnect, I found that she had become (or always was) depressed, feeling really bad about herself - which lead to a destructive relationship that also lingered on for more than 20 years to some degree … with negative effects on her self esteem, and on her two children. The beautiful and strong elements inside herself she does not see and has been and is resigned to approach everything … even enormous blessings she has received from others (besides me) as negative, lacking or somehow not right. She has become a chronic complainer and I am definitely drained and also very sad when I am talking with her. It has been since December now since I’ve heard her voice. I’ve received a few e-mails and answer them with kindness but briefly (not my style normally) and I can say I feel so much peace … and although I think I had to mourn this friendship I realized I have mourned the ‘childhood’ one. I see now that I and many others have tried over the years to include her, enlighten her, show her her own worth, millions of possibilities - which we were often willing to support financially and otherwise (ie school, new work or business, even sent her clothes which she loved and then turned to complain about what she didn’t have…. and that since then I have simply been sucked back in again and again to someone who simply doesn’t want to change … or doesn’t care to find out if there is something even available on the other side of misery.

    I have also realized my ‘coming back’ over the years time and time again was really rooted in guilt I felt about being a ‘good friend’ or ‘big sister’ to her. Now I realize that she has never been (or able to be) a good friend or sister to ME. At this point her glass seems to be perpetually half empty … and since her ‘religion’ has kept her from doing anything but ’suffer’, I for one am removing myself from it and will offer no more than my prayers.

    I am blessed in that all of this has happened via phone … we live many miles away and so it has been major but a definite shift and one I feel now is permanent … to keep the distance exactly where it is.
    I firmly believe if we are/were meant to connect ever again I will know from the first conversation (which should begin with what she’s learned or sees or otherwise how SHE has grown - vs a diatribe of complaining about everyone else in her life).

  • Oh my, she said me and my boyfriend were a very cute couple, even though he wasn’t cute. On my back she told this same boyfriend (now, my husband) that I wasn’t easy, if he was sure if he wanted to be in a relatioship with me because i was a bitch. (what?) Dony ask me why, she ended up being my made of honor. Did she help me or anything? No. Did she call me asking if I needed anything? No. Did she call on the day of the wedding or stayed with me? No. She didnt want me to have a wedding party at this venue because she had found another one ‘much better’ that i would love. Same day she was drunk and the real reason came out: she wanted to do her wedding party at this place i had picked (note: she didnt even have a fiancee yet). She said she hated make up, that she didnt understand why I would spend money buying stuff. One day I found at her place the very same make up set I had bought little while ago. I’m over this person now. So over that I’m vanishing from her life without telling anything. And I dont think she will even say something like ‘what happened?’. Anyways, I am going to be so much better without her on my life. Cheers!

  • Angel, thank you. I can never say enough thank yous to G-d for how in my darkest moments, hope almost ebbed to death, I chanced upon your website and you and Marc have begun to breathe back life into me.

    I am deeply familiar with toxic people.

    They steer you wrong, give bad advice. You may recognize this in advance if you can notice the subtle feeling you get that this advice will throw you off course. Antidote: Fake innocence and tag them on it by asking sweetly - Amazing idea - Did you ever do that?

    They celebrate your failures and frustrations. You are desperately trying to accomplish something and face obstacles but want support. Instead, they give you speeches about the wealth of other stuff to do in the world, and maybe it’s time to drop this silly dream of yours. Antidote: Read Marc and Angel Hack Life and follow your dreams anyway.

    They steal your prize ideas. (elaboration of #8 above) When you mention an idea or event that you think is important, they say they think it’s a stupid waste of time (or money, etc). You end up not doing it. Then you find out that they did do it. Antidote: When you know something is worthwhile, trust yourself, do it. Invest in yourself, and KEEP QUIET around these people. Second antidote: Be honest with yourself and know that not everybody is out for your success - so don’t solicit advice from them.

    Angel, Thank you again for the gift you are to me and the others.

  • Oh, do I know toxic relationships - and they are easy to spot when that other person makes you feel as though you are under them, that you are less than them. Recognizing them is easy - they tend to make you feel worthless just for being you and many can do it in insidious ways and under the guise of ‘I was only kidding.’ If they are making you feel unjustly bad about yourself - its likely toxic.

    Many a time I think that when we tell our ‘friend’ how their conduct makes us feel and then they make efforts to correct their behaviour - it is likely not a toxic relationship per se - but perhaps this ‘friend’ just didn’t know that their conduct hurts you. If they correct and are sorry for how they treated you - relationships can be restored.

    Toxic relationships are the ones where you confront (even lovingly) and they go into denial, get defensive, maybe even blame-shift (where they blame you instead of accepting responsibility for their actions), thus not owning up to their behaviour or tactics. It’s crazy-making. I’ve even experienced where they totally run down someone they hate and then look at you and vehemently say, ‘And you’re just like them!’ This is toxic and if in a relationship with this person, run!

    In my case, I had to break relationship, but not before trying very hard to win this person. I tried loving them into loving me. It did not work - and her behaviour continued, and how she treated me actually worsened over time and it got to a point where I couldn’t endure it anymore. Toxic people suck the life out of you and I was at a point where I felt like an empty shell. I had to let her go.

  • When I went back to school, I ended up dumping a handful of people. Hanging out with them was a drag, a heavy iron ball on my leg when I was trying to lift myself up into a state of mind that I could do this going back to college thing. Best thing I ever did for myself was end those relationships. No ambition, focused on their victimhood, stuck in stupid, and, as I saw as I was progressing through my program, extremely anti-intellectual and simple-minded. Good riddance.

  • Regarding the first point, as an introvert, I feel feel psychologically and emotionally depleted after spending time with _anyone_, sometimes after spending time with even… myself. :-)

  • I used to be married to a very toxic person. I left her 3 years ago, and today I have no problem distancing myself from a toxic person. It is easy once you get the hang of it, just ignore them.

    Professionally, we do not have this choice, and we may have to work with people who are. We have to just manage the toxicity and its effect on us. It’s a process that takes practice.

  • I am slowly backing away from a toxic relationship, but what do I do now that they owe me $3500.00? I do not want to lose the money. I thought they could be trusted and the money was loaned to them before I woke up and smelled the coffee. Thank you, Angel for all the articles I receive they have helped change my perspective and knowledge in many areas of my life.

  • Wow! Best comments I have seen in a while. I am guilty on being on both sides of this coin. It took a lot of doing and self-help reading, but I figured out some of the things that made me toxic to others. Not fun at all. So I had to drop 5 friendships that I was ruining.

    On the flip side, 15 years later, my Toxic radar is much better for me and others. Some quick ones I learned the hard way:
    1. If nothing is ever their fault, responsibility or issue…they are toxic.
    2. Constant complaining but have no solutions or make no effort to change….they are toxic. You cannot complain your way into happiness.
    3. They quit quickly. I am so guilty of this one. Make lots of plans, but have no follow through or they quit at the first sign of resistence.
    4. Everything needs to be on their terms and conditions. Mass manipulation and control freak alert.
    5. I and me. Positive “I” statements are healthy, but not required at all times. If a person can only tell you a positive story about themselves and no one else, everything is a comparison to them.

    When I am being toxic, I go for the short and painful whenever I can, especially if its close proximity. If its long distance, I let it wither and die on its own.

    These are lessons I wished I had learned long ago, oh what might have been…….

  • This post is incredibly insightful and right on spot. Unfortunately, I can answer yes to each of those “toxic” criteria - the only problem is the relationship is with an adult child. I was really surprised to see the word toxic as I had already used that word myself to describe my child’s mindset and behavior.

    Very difficult to watch someone you love continue on such a negative path, to support and love them, and yet be able to set boundaries that protect yourself.

    Very difficult indeed.

  • Thank you!!!! I received a rather upsetting e-mail yesterday from a long time friend . In reading your post today I saw how toxic this friend is - I’m only needed in times of her crises. I can let this friendship go and all the guilt I was feeling with it.

  • After 52 years on this Earth, when I meet new people, I am now on alert for the following:

    Do they ever ask me a question about my life? Do they make eye contact when we are talking? If I pick up the check at lunch (or similar), do they reciprocate in some way down the line? If I do them a “big favor,” a) will I feel comfortable asking them for a big favor, b) when I ask are they willing/happy to help me, too? Am I always the one coordinating getting together? Do they criticize other people a lot, because it won’t be long before they are criticizing me. Do they play the victim? Run! And, more important to me than almost all the other ones is: Do they do what they say they will do, are they a person of their word, do they have the integrity to deliver what they promise? Nothing is more disappointing to me than a serial-promise-breaker. Why would I keep a friend who NEVER delivers on anything? I don’t.

    I know its a tall order to fill, but at this point in my life I am surrounded by the very best people I have ever known, people who I know will be there, who are willing to help me out and give me a chance to do the same, we reciprocate, we celebrate ourselves (even the small stuff), and we share our good times without jealousy and bad times with support and respect. Honor yourself at all costs, and you will surround yourself with like people. The others will bounce off, because they just don’t get it.

  • Great post, filled with lots of helpful information. Like you, I have been both the toxic friend and the one who has a toxic friend and learned lots about myself and others when I realized the relationship was going south.

    Sharing this post.

  • I have been in a toxic relationship with a man for about 8 months. The last 4, he moved in with me. It has been a real eye opener. He drinks much more than I can tolerate, he won’t work (he’s on disability, but can still work and earn $1,000/month), he may have T cell Lymphona, yet he still smokes 2 packs of cigarettes a day and doesn’t eat anything all day long except junk food and drink beer, he has never followed through on anything he says he’s going to do, and basically he was just a mooch.

    When he did do something nice for me, such as cook dinner, he would always throw it up in my face, and of course, when I came home from work every day, he had been drinking and covering it up. He lies about many things, and when I came home Monday, I could tell he had been drinking and asked him how many beers he had had. He denied drinking anything. So, I check the trash cans outside, and they had been emptied. I then went to the dumpster and found the “evidence”, a 6 pack of empty tall boys in the same trash sack I had in the house that morning (I had planted something in it so I would know which one was which). I immediately went into the house and told him to get out - NOW.

    When someone can look you in the eye and tell you bald faced lies, they are bad news! He left that night, and still hasn’t been back to get his stuff, which I’ve dragged into the garage, so he doesn’t have to come back into my home. I can’t believe I put up with this erratic behavior for 4 months, but I kept thinking he would change. I kicked him out 3 weeks ago, but let him come home, as I felt sorry for him. Only 1 friend in this town (he moved here from another town), and he promised to change. Nope, he’s worse than he was. I was divorced last year from a 25 year marriage, and went into this relationship because he was so sweet and attentive to me during the courtship. He still is, when he’s sober, but that has become few and far between.

    Anyway, I have to move on and close this chapter of my life. None of my friends liked him… he is bad news, but I’m hard headed. I’m a business owner and have a beautiful home, nice auto, and he has nothing, basically. I found out from my neighbors that he was walking to the convenience store every day and bringing back a big brown sack of beer every morning. The only thing I can say is “why didn’t I listen to my better judgement”, and I’m glad I’ve come back to my senses and gotten him out. I’m much happier, and it’s only been 2 days since he’s been gone. I got to go home to a peaceful house last evening, and was able to relax and enjoy. My TMJ is still acting up, but I think it will ease up with him gone.

    Thanks for listening. This was very therapeutic for me… Love your website. It’s helped me a lot!

  • Oh my gawd - my relationship with my “romantic” partner is toxic. I guess I needed this wake-up call :(

  • Oh Joy! Great Topic.

    Well, there are those who never stop talking so u never get a word in edgewise. It’s not a conversation if both parties don’t get to share, its a monopoly of run on sentences with no pause to ensure that they aren’t cut off from their all important droning on of useless info that you really don’t care to hear anyway!

    There are the toxic relationships that allow for double standards which leave you feeling guilty for your failures, as they progress on with little or no remorse for theirs, because after all, their failures are always YOUR fault!
    And of course, there is that one person in my life that is suspicious of everything I say and will condemn all I do. For instance, I noted that she ‘Looked really happy’ in a picture she posted online. Her reply read, “what do you mean, LOOKED!”… I could hear the attitude spilling over. Same person, when I call, always has a reason why my timing is just terrible. Even when I follow her schedule, it seems that’s the one day she went to bed early or she had to hold up the world that day and was just exhausted and wants to let you know, not in words but in dramatic sighs and labored breaths that she had to do it alone! Oh Joy. Yes, the Toxicity of dysfunction runs rampant.

    And yes, I have contributed as well. I tend to ruminate after letdowns. I have been told to let go, yet, I CLING for dear life to the ‘blows’ dealt to me by others.

    We’re all Toxic at times. The challenge is in keeping focus on the positive, in spite of the negative, and to be content no matter where you are.

  • I hate insincere happiness. When my friend is jealous she always over compensates by putting on a huge grin or acting overly happy.

    I’m going to print this and blue-tack it to my wall.

  • My experience has been mainly with toxic family members. I had the ones that lied, stole, insulted, bullied etc. and it was tough at first to let go of them. However, I quickly realized how much better my life was without them…and quiet!!! I also haven’t had the ridiculous blow out occasions, especially Christmas and the brawls etc. for almost a decade. I’ve made my own life and a nice one at that. Also, I live far enough away from each and every one of the relatives, so in the event that one of them Did want to visit, I would give them incorrect directions that would send them on a little back road trip in the opposite direction!!! I’m absolutely not interested in “going back” to that foolishness…

  • I happened to be dumped by three girlfriends of 30 years, because they said I was selfish. Like, they wanted to go for a walk and I just wanted to sit on the dock… Could justify both sides I suppose, the way they did it was very hurtful. ( so much more to story…). I have been burned and am very gun-shy at this point in life. I am really tired of being the person who always initiates conversation, then others taking over, I am tired of asking others about themselves and getting nothing in return. I do not believe I am toxic. I happen to feel very alone and hurt.

  • Oh God so much drama in toxic friendships, especially for girls. It’s been 2 years since my breakup with my 2 best friends of nearly 10 years. It ended quickly and very painfully, we were so close it hurt so much, there are times when I tried to fix our relationship but it just didn’t work out anymore for us and I’m too tired to be the one to blame all the times. But I feel so relieved now, free to be me, and free to say what I want to say… because they really sucked the life out of me and could be very mean.

    There are reason why some people didn’t make it to our future, so let them go and move on.

  • @Spike: You might need to let your partner know you excel best in a positive, bright environment and his negativity is bringing you down. You are both in the business together and you need your combined positive brainpower to bring it to its full potential. Think of the negativity in your business as opportunities to grow the business even more.

    @Justine: Ridding yourself of toxic people can be difficult especially when those people are your family. Play your part as a positive caring daughter. When things get heated choose to remove yourself from the room or not take part in the conversation. Start controlling what you can control. Choose topics your dad likes to talk about.

    @Lynsey: Have you talked to this girl about your feelings? Go out just the two of you and have an open conversation about your feelings. Who knows, she may just feel intimidated by you since she is the new one to the group.

    @Dev: Absolutely true. They say you become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Nice to hear you’re hanging with the eagles. =)

    @Darren: Great point. By no means was I suggesting turning your back on a friend in need. I think we’ve all experienced those friends who are constantly negative, which is just who they are, always crying for help. Thank you for bringing up the difference.

    @Amandah: Thank you for the quote. When the time comes to move beyond certain things, ideas, or people, don’t resist it. Allow yourself to experience life. Allow yourself to grow, learn, and evolve. Allow yourself to move beyond the past on your path to happiness.

    @Josefina: Thank you for sharing your personal experience. I definitely think people come into your life at certain times to help you grow, but are not always needed your entire lifespan. Everything is a life lesson. Everyone you meet, everything you encounter, etc. They’re all part of the learning experience we call ‘life.’ Never forget to acknowledge the lesson, especially when things don’t go your way. If a relationship doesn’t work, it only means something better is out there waiting. And the lesson you just learned is the first step towards it.

    @jasmine: Thank you for the extremely kind words. I loved your antidotes! =) Keep on smiling.

    @K. Goodman: Great additions and examples, thank you.

    @Kay: You can’t help someone who isn’t willing to help themselves. Congratulations on taking a positive step forward for your own well being.

    @Mjo: It will get better as you move forward and meet new people. It’s hard to let go, but it sounds like you made the right decision. Now it’s just a matter of forging ahead and not looking back.

    @All: I believe the positive take away from this article is this: When we can scrutinize our lives and pinpoint opportunities to eliminate negativity, we automatically add positivity. Toxic qualities grow within us and around us when we allow them to linger and fester. Happiness is easier to come by when these toxins are removed from our lives. Bottom line. Thank you for opening up and sharing your stories. As always, Marc and I read every one of them and use them as inspiration for our own personal growth. Please keep the honest insight coming…

  • I’ve had the experience where my toxic friend would always cut me off when she felt like I served her no purpose at the moment. So she would ignore me and gossip about me and try to turn people against me. After awhile she would come back to me and I’d always forgive her and pick up the friendship again and pretend as if nothing happened.

    This semester she cut me off again and it hurt for a little bit but then I realized how much better off my life is without her. She brought so much negativity in my life and being friends with her brought out the worst in me. For example, I was never a person who gossiped but when we became friends I started gossiping and talking about people so terribly! I’m so ashamed of myself for letting her bring me to that!

    I’m glad that friendship is over and thank you for this article. Its very motivational!

  • Wow… this is so weird.. I mean, I’m going through such a toxic friendship this past few months, and I really needed this. Thanks a million for this post. And yes, I do admit that I’ve been a toxic friend sometimes to few friends in the past, so maybe it’s karma, but still, this one is wearing me down in a ways that no one has.

    We’ve been friends for 8 years, very close ones, even though we’re completely different, I mean total opposites. But the first thing we agreed on was”we agree to disagree”. We have made a great deal of compromises, both of us, and I’ve always accepted the fact that she was the dominant,selfish one,the one in spotlight and I was more of a listener,usually in the background, but I would always make it clear when something was upsetting me, or to much for me to take. She has this tendency of entering in totally toxic relationships with guys, and I have always been the one to point this out to her, until I saw, that my words aren’t helping her, because she is very determined to do whatever she wants, or in her words “I can hit the wall with my head if I want, just because I feel like doing it,so anyone don’t bother stopping me”. But in the meantime she would call me to ask how could she lie to him in order to keep him, or call me in 2 am afraid she might be pregnant, and keep accusing me why I couldn’t convince her she wasn’t pregnant with better arguments.

    Being so straight forward I told her that I really can’t handle this conversations about her psycho bf anymore, and asked her if we could try not talking about him for a while. So I basically stopped talking about her bf for a few days. But then she asked me to start talking about him again because she really needed to vent, so I agreed, even though I really don’t know what can I do for her anymore. I mean I might sound like I’m portraying myself like such a mother Teresa, but I really have tried every thing I could to point it out to her that this guy is totally wrong and dangerous, I even went that far that I told her to end it, and walk away from him, and I regret it, because it’s not something one should say to her best friend, but her bf is really dangerous.I mean he has a record of beating and abusing his previous girlfriends, he’s into drugs and stuff, he has admitted to her that he has an STD etc etc… And she knows all of this, and still wont walk away from him.

    She tells me I can’t understand what does it mean to her to know that she is desired by this handsome guy. Now she has gotten so annoyed- asking me why don’t I care about her relationship. I mean-when I talked to her about it, she would ignore me or accuse me of not understanding her. Now that I’ve taken a backseat she accuses me of not carrying enough.This is such a long story, sorry guys for taking your time and space, but I guess I just needed to let it out.

    Again, thanks for the post. Couldn’t have come in a better time. Seriously I can’t thank You enough.

  • It’s really sad to know that you’ve given a great friendship and hope they will value yours, and it turns out they are just ‘TOXIC’ friends.

  • Toxic relationships are draining. So many people will try to tell you that they’re impossible to avoid, but that isn’t true. I don’t care if they’re friends, family, etc. - if you want to distance yourself enough to get some fresh, positive air, you can.

  • i once heard a saying that you are the average of the five people you hang with the most. i believe this is true and try to stay away from people who belittle me or criticize my dreams for no apparent reason, just for the sake of complaining. but what is very interesting for me is the moment when one of the friends is in some kind of a crisis and becomes temporarily somehow toxic. a while ago i had a nasty accident which left me in pieces emotionally. i reached out to my friends, not even asking any help, just to say what’s happening and that i might not be my usual enthusiastic trusting self for a while till i cope with what had happened. as a result within a month i lost many of my friends, some of them leaving quietly, some blatantly sending me an email that i’m not the same cool person they befriended [10 years ago].

    i guess they just figured out there is no use hanging around someone who inst being inspirational for a while. if we only look at our end of the situation, no friendship will ever survive. yes, we might have nice acquaintances, but at least for me it’s gonna be difficult to trust any of them with anything else than funny victory stories. where do you put the boundary when you say “no more”?

  • Loved this post, and was struck by the varying degrees of relationship “toxicity” over the course of our lives. I started letting go of toxic friendships quite a while ago (I’m 49 now). If someone is a net producer of negative energy, I keep my distance. This becomes easier to do the more comfortable you are in your own skin.

    It really resonated with me, though, when you said in a comment reply, “I definitely think people come into your life at certain times to help you grow, but are not always needed your entire lifespan.” I’m grieving a little that a friendship of mine that was in that category is waning. It’s not overtly toxic, but this friend appears to be uncomfortable with the spiritual awakening path (non-denominational, and certainly not pushy) my life has taken.

    I also agreed completely with your advice on how to deal with toxic family members. My approach has been to not do anything that adds to their drama. I’ve stopped saying, “Poor you!” or “I can’t believe that happened to you!” I just stay totally neutral, maybe just say, “Hmmm…” and don’t give the drama and negative energy any traction. I’m no fun anymore to complain to, so they take those conversations elsewhere.

    And I have no qualms about politely ending a conversation with “why don’t we talk another time” or leaving a room (or the house, if it’s my own kids) when the toxin levels start rising. Eckhart Tolle’s revelations about the “pain body” in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, helped me stop identifying the toxicity with the person. The attack phase always passes if you don’t supply it with more energy.

    Just discovered your blog, and so appreciate the work you’re doing! Thank you!

  • Love the ideas. What about toxic family members? I’ve tried detachment, time, amends, compassion and space. But, every encounter eventually ends up the same. Thanks.

  • Your post is incredible, and the comments mean this post has to stay open on my computer for a few more days so I can read at least a few more of them, what a wonderful opportunity you have given your readers.

  • You have to know when a friendship is starting to get in the way of your life and your goals. It doesn’t mean you have to not like them. You just have to say goodbye as if you are moving away somewhere long distance and start your new life with new friends that share you dreams and inspire you to become the best you can!

  • Angel,

    I totally agree with your list. I’ve experienced a lot of the signs myself in some past toxic friends.

    Another sign of a toxic friend is that they will intentionally ACT NICE once in a while just to convince you to stay. And once they’ve guilt tripped you into being their friend, they treat you badly again.

    I think the best way to recognize toxic friends is to watch your immediate reaction whenever you contact them. I’m always excited whenever I spend time with friends I like. If I have even the slightest doubt about spending time with a person, that’s a clear warning sign.

    Being with real friends should make you feel good. On the other hand, toxic friends use YOU to make THEM feel good.

  • I had to end a 16 yr friendship with a truly wonderful person. Due to a freak accident, she lost her eyesight, and over time I stopped being her close friend and became her caretaker. I rebelled a few times, but she and others we knew were quick to tell me it was my place to take care of her. I was trying to help her to learn how to do for herself, but she grew to love being waited on. One of the things I had admired about her was her independence. 4 years later, I had enough and ended the friendship. Of course everyone couldn’t understand how I could be so cruel to leave her when she went blind. If her blindness had been the problem, I would have left much sooner. What a waste it was to see such a positive, loving person turn into a self absorbed invalid. I think of her often, and wonder what I could have done differently that would have made things different. I made mistakes along the way and continue to do so in my present friendships, but I think at least I have the respect of my current friends and that means a lot to me.

  • Angel, I Loved this post. It totally reinforced my decisions to let go of certain people in my life. I started with the blatantly dysfunctional family members, who I hated to see. I will still see them occasionally, but on my terms and only for limited amounts of time. I find that it helps keep me from being sucked into their never ending negativity, robbing me of my serenity. Then I realized that some of my friends were there just to use me. I am a very generous talented person with a full heart and was unfortunately a people pleaser; which led me to being used a lot.

    When I finally realized that they usually only called when they needed something from me or wanted me to do something for them, I started to really look at the equality of the relationship. I found I was giving way more than they were. What really woke me up was when I found myself feeling cheated all the time: not being treated like I treated them. Putting up with unacceptable behavior and then feeling like I should treat them as they treated me. That is a BIG flashing warning sign. You know someone is bad for you when you start lowering yourself to their level. This damages your spirit and honor for yourself. I hate confrontation, so I put up with this for far too long before I ended several friendships. I usually just avoid someone until they get the message, but on one occasion I sat down and wrote them a letter. I did it in a very loving way and did not blame them; I took the responsibility by saying it was my problem and that I couldn’t continue the friendship.

    Another person that I thought was my best friend, lives right next door. When I got sick with cancer and couldn’t be the one who went across the street and kept the friendship going and doing all that I had previously done, things just stopped. She only made the trip across the street to see or help me a couple of times. Boy did that wake me up! Plus she was always telling me how I should be doing things, like pushing my son out on his own. The wonderful son who has learning disabilities, who stood by me and our family to help me get thru the most difficult time of my life. He cared for me , Loved me, cooked, cleaned, and transported me everywhere. He also hung in there when my husband became disabled and lost his job. He put his life on hold to help us and it was no one else’s business to decide what we should “do with him”. I started to see how much she gossiped about everyone and then found out that I was one of the people she was gossiping about. We are still friendly, but sadly from my perspective, not really friends anymore. I would rather have a few real friends who love and support me and who I equally love and support than all the others that only look for what’s in it for them.

    I really loved reading all the responses from everyone, I always learn a lot of helpful things.

  • Sometimes people come into our life to bring out the worst in us so that we can realise and heal our own dysfunctions. The trick is to recognise the feelings these “toxic” people bring out in you. Like attracts like, therefore there is an element of “toxic” dysfunction in you that attracted this “toxic” person. You have to look at the whys and whats - why do I feel this way around this person/what do I do to contribute to this behaviour?
    I’m not saying you need to excuse anyone’s bad behaviour – definitely don’t – but realise the lesson or mirror they are bringing into your life. If we remove every person from our life, we would end up living a reclusive life - and that’s no life at all.

  • I struggle with a world full of wonderful people who would like to spend time with me but there are simply too many of them. This may sound like a good problem at first, but as more people in my different circles propose coffee/tea/lunch/dinner, it could easily become a part-time job with travel time. So I have to care for myself and prioritize the relationships that best fit my personal goals and needs. Which sounds really selfish but after my family and professional self is spent, there is really very little of me left for socializing and by then I crave very particular activities and energies. Next challenge - how to better communicate this in a loving way so others don’t feel rejected?

  • Amazing article and lush comments. Just what the doctor ordered!

  • What if I am that toxic friend? What to do to not to be one?

  • And what do you do when the toxic ones around you are family..?
    Great advice for a friend, but unfortunately you cannot always escape family. I really struggle with this one; I am trying to rid my life of negativity but often it’s just like a parasite..

    I try to keep my distance most of the time, but end up being suckered into things because it is family.

  • At times, when you’re trying to be honest and maybe telling them you can’t do something its as if you’re stingy or you don’t want to help. At least that’s how they take it; but you were just trying to be honest. They mock your personality at times… it’s hard to deal with people’s toxicity.

  • Hi! Just wanted a sympathetic ear…

    For the last 2 years, I have been trying to cut out a toxic friend. The thing that annoys me the most is that she is gossips about everything and EVERYBODY (even about her best friend) and is incredibly subtle at bringing me down while smiling innocently. I have stopped asking her to go out and inviting her over to my house but I am not able to cut her out completely. So, when she asks me once every one or two months to go out for coffee I just can’t say no.But every time I get an SMS, I freak out until I see that it’s not from her. Moreover, I have stopped telling her any good news (like an upcoming trip abroad), since I am really scared of her envy. She seems to think that everybody’s life is undeservedly better than hers (like “How could she have found a man to marry her, with all her shortcomings when I am such a nice girl and still single?”)

    Finally, I am now finishing my master’s degree for which I just got a state scholarship as well as paid educational leave from my job until the end of August and I haven’t told her anything because I am afraid that she will want to hang out more and I won’t be able to say no. But I really don’t want to lie either because I am worried that she may learn it somehow and confront me for not telling her and badmouth me to everybody. I avoid confrontations like the plague and hate being responsible for making someone unhappy but I really can’t stand her and as I suffer from a mild anxiety disorder my mood and concentration can be very easily affected. And I can’t have that right now because I have a dissertation to complete.

    Again, sorry for the rant.

  • I had a toxic friend many years ago. This person’s life was an absolute train wreck, yet thought that you should take her advice about everything from raising your child to where you should work.

    The alcohol made her worse. She would call me and tell me how bad of a friend I was because I didn’t want to to take her places with me (bar events), and that was mainly because she would make an ass out of herself and me in the process. For years I would ask her to do things with me that weren’t her thing and she would tell me “no, I don’t like that band, I don’t like the movies”, etc. She however would expect me to jump for whatever she wanted to do.

    I finally ended the friendship once she started acting like a jealous boyfriend when it came to my other friends. She became completely erratic.
    Although it hurt at first, I realized eventually that I was never really her friend, I was her audience. I am glad that I decided to end the relationship now that time has passed and I really don’t miss her company.

  • I recently wrote a blog about personal boundaries that overlaps some with the post above… toxic friends and relationships disrespect our boundaries and can slowly chip away at a person’s sense of self.

    When you know better, you do better and can rise into your highest self!

  • It’s tough when the toxic person is a parent - but the same rules have to apply if you want to be sane. :)

  • I have very mixed feelings about the whole “toxic” friend thing. Sometimes people are just going through a very tough time and may come out on the other side just fine. And what if they don’t? Are they sentenced to a lonely life? I think people are too quick to jump on the what’s-best-for-me bandwagon lately. Yes, there are times when it’s best to throw in the towel on a friendship or relationship but I think people are too quick to judge in some situations.

    As you may have guessed, I’ve been on both sides of the fence with this kind of thing. I was a healthy socially busy person with all sorts of friends and connections. Then I became seriously and chronically ill. I was told I wasn’t trying hard enough to get well by one friend as in I could will myself to be better. People stopped calling me because I didn’t call them. This illness kept me mostly home-bound and forced me to give up all the activities I once enjoyed. I only had the energy to stay alive and do the most basic things. So I avoided calling people because quite honestly my illness was all I knew and all I had to talk about and I knew they were tired of hearing about it. I didn’t know what to do so I just avoided conversations when I was really down and not feeling well.

    I was also one of those people written about who had to cancel plans at the last minute because I just couldn’t physically do it. I wanted to, I really did but my body said otherwise. So I just stopped making plans.
    But out or sight, out of mind and I dropped off most everyone’s radar.

    I could go on and on about the emotional effects of a chronic illness but that’s not what this posting is about so I won’t. I just know that I was already not feeling good about myself because I was going through a grief process when my life had changed so drastically and suddenly. Knowing I was dropped from people’s lives just added to the sadness and loneliness.

    On the other hand, I did dump the friend who told me I wasn’t trying hard enough and I’m starting to regret it. That person has reached out to me after a few years asking for forgiveness and I’m going to get back in touch. I’m feeling somewhat better and I’m starting to get back in touch with some of the people who dropped me from their list. According to the article they were my toxic friends since I was calling them more than they did me. On the other hand, I was the toxic friend because I was such a drag to talk to. Something has to give.

    Some say life is too short to have toxic people in their lives. I say life is too short to not be more compassionate and understanding and patient. I may get better some day and be back to the person I once was. So…. people should dump me when I’m sick and really need a friend and then re-friend me when I’m well because it suits them better? I’m very fortunate that a few real friends stuck by my side and never left when the going got tough.

    I’ve learned a lot since becoming ill and trying to be more compassionate towards others is one of my lessons learned. Please sit back and assess the situation before cutting someone out of your life. They may be just going through a really tough time and are in dire need of a friend. Sometimes people are self centered when they are hurting. It often is only temporary. Life is a cycle and so are all things within it. Often “This too shall pass” is the motto.

  • The difficult thing is when the toxic person is a family member. That you live with.

    I am sometimes toxic in relationships. Maybe I draw toxic people to me. I will try the trick of being a better companion so that I will get better experiences from others. I just try not to give too much to others, which is why I am often distant and unhelpful. I don’t like being used.

    I will also keep trying to be positive when others are negative. Negativity is so annoying.

  • I think it’s important that we remember to always look at things from the other person’s point of view. I mean this to apply when the person is the toxic friend or if we have to admit that we are the toxic friend.

    If someone is a toxic friend, I think we need to ask ourselves, why.

    One cause could be that they themselves are surrounded by toxic friends and/or family members. It could be to the point where those friends and/or family members are as toxic to them as they are to you. Maybe being toxic has become the norm for them to the point where they get upset when someone isn’t.

    If they lack ambition, maybe they’re just shy. It could be that they tend to need a push to get into something and once they do, they’re fine, perhaps even to the point of doing well and wishing they’d done whatever activity it is a lot sooner and feeling deep regret that they didn’t.

    Maybe they see others getting into things and doing them naturally, which could drive the shy person for who it doesn’t come naturally even further away because they feel denied. People accusing them of being toxic (or comparing them to others that are not) might make them even more upset with themselves and other people, driving them even deeper.

    Their lack of ambition could also a sign of a psychological problem. The sad fact is that said lack of ambition could well make someone afraid and/or unwilling to get help.

    Maybe they’ve tried and failed at various things in their life and it’s made them not want to try anymore.

    It’s possible that they’re surrounded by others with similar problems. It can get to the point where being that way is normal. When someone in that situation sees someone that isn’t like this, they can get upset

    If they seem upset when we succeed, again, the above reasons can contribute to it.

    If one isn’t successful and/or knows a lot of people that also are not, the lack of success can seem normal. Remember that misery loves company. When we’re in a negative frame of mine and are surrounded by other people that also are, it’s easy to feed on each other.

    As with the lack of ambition, they’re lack of success could be caused by a psychological problem.

    Hearing a success story can be upsetting to someone that isn’t doing well in life, especially when they don’t really know how to stop failing and to start succeeding. If they are in a situation where failure seems normal, the reminder that it isn’t can make them feel denied.
    If you’ve had advantages/opportunities they lacked and remember this, perhaps making sure to remind them of this, it might help but it might also make them upset enough to think that successful people are somehow cheating at life.

    Perhaps others have compared them (i.e., he did this, why haven’t you?) to people that have had those advantages and/or haven’t had issues like psychological problems or any number or other thing that have hampered their progress in life. Such comparisons could well drive them even further into feeling depressed and could well be encouraging toxic behaviour.

    In short, I think the best thing we can in situations like this (and this applies to being on both sides of this) is to look at from the other person’s point of view. I’m not saying to tolerate or to engage in toxic behaviour. What I’m saying is to understand why someone might be doing it. If you are doing it then recognize what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Don’t just stop doing it but try to explain to them why you feel the way you feel.

    If you’re finding that there’s nothing you have in common that you can discuss that won’t encourage toxic type feelings or behaviour in you, then maybe it is time for both of you to move on.

    However, explain to them why you feel it’s for the best if you do feel that you’re only going to hold them back and/or feel bad for doing well.

    And if you do have issues that are causing you to be toxic then try to figure out why. Don’t be afraid to get help. It’s okay to need and get help. In the end, I think it’s better to admit one needs help then to carry on being unhappy and spreading that unhappiness.

  • Chris,
    As someone who was diagnosed with ADD later in life (and dealing with depression as a result) I really appreciate your thoughtful insight concerning putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and asking “why?” instead of dismissing them as being intentionally toxic, thank you!! :-)

  • I had a toxic friend (or should I say “fiend”?), who put me down in front of others in a very disparaging manner, she let me down on arrangement at the last minute, was frequently super, super late, she was a complete “no show” without an apology or explanation, she would break arrangements by e-mail at the last minute with flimsy, unbelievable explanations, she was very rude to other friends in front of me, etc. etc. I have now let her go…let her drift away. Life is too short and precious to deal with those types of people, who disguise themselves as “friends”.

  • I tend to take a more cynical view of toxic people. If I have to teach someone how to behave towards others with more caring, considerate behavior…behavior that should have been learned at the age of 7…then its not going to help to “let them know” how their behavior has hurt you. They don’t care. Better to recognize these people from the beginning and cut them loose fast.

  • I have a very kind and nice friend, but she always complains about her life, her past, her family. Then she tells me how lucky I am to have whatever is in my life that she does not have. I told her that that makes me uncomfortable. I don’t think she means anything by it, but she wants me to pity her. I do feel bad for her, but I also have told her in a nice way that she has a lot to offer and needs to look forward and move on with her life. Sometimes, I want to drop her because she annoys me so much. IMO, it’s as if she wants me to feel guilty for things that I have worked for and have in my life.

  • Kate
    That may seem simple in theory, but it really isn’t. I have been in a toxic friendship for the last six years and I can honestly say that it is not something that happens immediately. That is something that happens very slowly and you’re not realizing it until you are trapped.

    I don’t know how it has been for others, but for me it started off just as I have heard emotionally abusive relationships start off. I met my friend when I was in most need of something new, possibly a new acquaintance. I found that in her. She was funny, calm and we had a lot of the same interests (especially in music and movies). We had also both been bullied in school and talked a lot about it. I felt relieved talking to her and she would always complicate me on how good I was to her.
    When we had known each other for some time we started having some fights though it’s natural in friendships and relationships, so at the time I did not pay attention to it. What bothered me about it was that it was always she who got angry with me because of something innocent I said or did. She blamed it on the fact that she suffered from panic attacks and had not taken her medicine which made it difficult for her to control her temper, so I let it go. That was not all, she began demanding way too many things from me and when I could not always meet up to her expectations she would get so angry that she wouldn’t talk to me for days. Some days later she would apologize to me and scared of losing her I accepted her apology. Then everything would be as it ‘should have been’, she would talk about her problems, I would listen to her and be the good friend she wanted me to be and she would say I am the best person she knows.

    Now, six years later everything has become worse. Whenever I do the smallest mistake, like forgetting something I’ve said six months ago (no, I’m not kidding), she gets so angry I don’t recall ever seeing my parents being so angry with me when I did something bad to my siblings.

    Last summer my dad got weak in his knees and the whole body. Finally my mom sent him to a doctor and we found out he had a tumor in his back and had to be operated as quick as possible. Of course we were all very worried about him and when I naively thought that she would listen to me (since I have pretty much always been there for her) she told me that she had worse problems than me and could not focus on my small problems. Her ‘big problems’ were that her boyfriend had not picked up his phone and answered to her text message.
    Some weeks ago I became an aunt for the second time and I was really happy about it. She could not stand the thought of me being happy when she herself was depressed and when I told her that I can listen to her the next day if she wants to, but not the same day my sister had just had a baby. She said I have chosen the wrong path in life when I want to study to become a social worker, just because I one day did not want to listen to her talk about her new unrequited love, who she had been talking about for months.
    Whenever I go out with other people she gets jealous. Some months ago my best friend, who moved to a different part of the country to study, asked me if I wanted to come and visit her for a weekend and see how she lived nowadays. Of course I wanted to go, but that did not sit well with this toxic friend. She constantly asked me if she could accompany me for the weekend and when I finally was there, she would bombard me with text messages about stupid things. Luckily, ignoring them worked in the end.
    Of course, there are also the daily basis things; that my friends aren’t enough, that I don’t have enough social life (she kind of saw to it), that I am uncivilized, that I am stupid etc.

    Now, having finally realized the situation I am trying to break it off with her. Unfortunately telling it straight to her face doesn’t work and telling her that her words are hurtful doesn’t help either. “I’m not mean, I’m honest. You’re the one who told me that real friends are honest with each other.” is what she will tell me, throwing my own words to my face and not realizing that there is a difference between being mean and being honest. So, the only thing left to do is just ignoring her. If someone has another solution, I’m all ears.

  • I had a friend who I know genuinely cared for me deeply but was still very toxic. Essentially he believed that his way of thinking was the only way to think and that whenever he encountered someone who didn’t agree with his views, he would stop at nothing to ‘correct’ them. He liked to start debates and arguments on whatever topics he felt passionately about. We soon realized that those were just traps. We were supposed to nod and agree with everything he said…or else we’d know about it. And whenever he realized he wasn’t going to win an argument he would literally say “F you!” and storm off.

    He also thought getting high was the absolute best experience in the world and would never accept that I wouldn’t do it. He’d literally light up joints in the kitchen pretty much saying to me “join in or get out”. Even when I kept saying no he’d sometimes give these speeches and phrases that were obviously him testing the water to see if I was close to giving in yet. Luckily I never had to break it off - he moved countries. Bullet dodged

  • Marian,
    I kind of see a lot of your friend in mine. Except the fits of rage weren’t so big, he would just get mean and try to stick it to me for any small thing. But what you’re writing about is more than the experience I’ve had with my friend, because if someone said that to me about a tumor in my father’s body, I don’t think I’d ever talk to them again…That is serious business and not something that you can dismiss so easily, and if you do, you can’t call yourself a friend. That’s what I think.

    If she doesn’t understand conversation, I think ignoring her is really the best way, although I wouldn’t be surprised if she came to where you live demanding explanation. Or consolation about her new boyfriend. What do you do then, I’ve no idea… The next time you meet her, I think you should just tell her ‘you’re a toxic person, I’m very sorry it ends like this, but I can’t handle it anymore. I have my own life to worry about, and I’m all for being supportive to you, but not at a cost of pushing my problems into the background and thanking you for it.’
    I don’t know. I think I still lack the maturity when it comes to relations :( Even though I really try.

  • Another thing that may help you to get over a toxic friendship is to tell your situation to your non-toxic friends. They will offer you the best support you need to stay strong and not give in to the toxic one.

  • I have this friend who became my friend through my other friends. Yes she’s nice but I feel like I’m only contacted by her when she wants to join my plans with my other friends. She doesn’t really invite me places that often and recently screwed me out of money. I don’t know what to do and I feel like I get rid of people too much instead of forgiving. I don’t know if she’s really a friend or not. What do I do?

  • Toxic people like to charm you into their worlds; before you know it you’ve been poisoned by their toxicity and they’ve started projecting their mayhem onto you. About 1 1/2 years ago I had two so-called-friends whom I truly cared for, at one point at least, who separately were pouring their toxic cocktail on me. I made the mistake of introducing these two, which resulted in a toxic duo drama cocktail like I’d never seen in my life. Nuclear Combo Pack of all 10 characteristics.

    One thing I’ve learned is that if I start to feel like things are not making sense, quickly distance myself and assess the situation. In the case of the Toxic Twins, when I told one party that I was stepping back to assess some things, as I felt something was amiss, he got so angry that he forbid the friend that I had introduced him to to interact with me (which she gleefully did because she could get more mileage & notoriety out of using him, than she could get from me… toxic?!). Well, that gave me clarity immediately, and subsequently all dots started connecting. Peaceful existence eventually returned once these two players were no longer in my life; I had realized that all of the chaos was due to THEIR projections… it truly wasn’t me!

    Make a declaration to stand up for your own self worth, keep the above list handy and honor yourself enough to permit ‘assessing the situation’ if you see these characteristics starting to pile up. If someone is truly non-toxic your kindly stepping back won’t be a problem, but if they are toxic or narcissists, then wish them well and let them go.

    What I’ve also noticed, though, is that people - like the Toxic Twins - are only surrounded by people that ‘have to be there’ (employees, people who fear them, or mother/fathers of their children) and not by people who choose to be there… which is a big red toxic flag as well.

  • I recently ended a 24 year toxic friendship. My ‘friend’ treated me like I was invisible bar 2 listening ears. The last 6 years I was living overseas. We would internet chat. Or more to the point she would furiously type away and often completely ignore anything I typed. Every aspect of her life was drama and it was the only topic of conversation. When I moved home again it was to a different city, not my hometown. She drove in to see me (which could have been a lovely gesture). However, she expected me to pay for petrol ( no advance warning), turned up with only $3 to her name, so I had to pay for coffee and dinner, asked for a tarot reading before even asking ‘how are you?’, then went on about herself all afternoon and well into the evening. This behaviour continued along with some very confrontational jarring comments. I ended it pretty promptly because it was incredibly draining.

    I know very, very few people in this city and I am lonely but I wouldnt change my decision for anything.

  • The great question…

    What about family members?
    For me, I’ve decided not stop answering phone calls, etc. Negative people is so demanding ….

  • This is such an appropriate article for what I’m dealing with right now. I became great friends with my coworker shortly after she started working there. Things were “great” and I didn’t notice any of the toxic tendencies because I was constantly with her, adhering to her every wish and demand. We would spend a lot of time together, going to the bar after work, going out to eat almost everyday among other things. I came to the point where I realized that I wanted to change and wanted to stop spending money, stop going to the bar, and start planning on going back to college to further my degree.

    As soon as I started pulling away, I was greeting by what I would considered irrational behavior. She started calling me 20 times in a row, leaving me voicemails, sending me nasty text messages, belittling my attempts to make positive changes, insulting my faith, and ignoring me at work. After months of this behavior I told her exactly how I felt and said that I’m sorry if she was hurt in the process of me trying to get on with my life, but that things would not be the same as they were before. She admitted that her behavior was a little unwarranted and the tension at work became a little less, but after telling her that I wouldn’t be able to work a day that she wanted me to because of prior engagements, she lashed out stating that I never do anything to help her and now has ignored me for the past 5 days which we haven’t worked together.

    My dilemma is in deciding if I should keep things purely professional at work or try to mend things to an extent because she will make work a living hell because of her resentment towards me. I realize that this relationship is toxic and I spend more time trying to figure out what to say and do rather than enjoying her company, but at the same time I don’t want to have a hostile work environment in the process.
    Any advice on how to keep things strictly professional despite her belligerent behavior?

  • I found this advice to be really helpful. I’ve always had bad relationships and I can’t seem to hold onto any friends especially good ones. My biggest problem is that I’m VERY afraid of being alone so I tend to cling to the wrong people. I think what I really need to work on is being more social and not allowing myself to get too close to bad negative people and learn when to LET GO! Thank you for the advice.

  • Wow, sometimes I feel like I’m crazy and obsessive about this subject. I feel validated after reading this article! The cutting into their time, negativity and ambition parts??? Right on for me. At the same time, why do I feel like I have to lose healthy boundaries and give them up for people? Sometimes I feel like friends will only be “friends” to you if you have things to offer, like favors, doing things for them. Whatever happened to just being friends without expectations??? It’s exhausting.

  • If you’re uncertain of which side of the fence you’re on, here’s the easy way to tell: evaluate your other friendships. Which ones work, which don’t?

    I was reflecting on this, when I realized; for two of my most annoying, nerve-wracking, obnoxious friendships… I am that person’s only friend, or one of very few. Why is that? These people are in their 20s, have gone to high school and college, had plenty of time to form new friendships. Yet they have very few friends, and I mean, you can count their friends on one hand.

    It’s because they’re toxic people. Not many people can tolerate them. Why is it, when I have numerous friends I can rely on, these few particular friendships eat away at me? How come only these friendships are failing, when my other friendships are flourishing? Think about that– is it you or them?

    I’ve finally realized… it’s not me that’s the problem. It’s them. They’re the ones who are self-absorbed, egocentric, and intolerable. They’re the ones who have trouble keeping friends, not me. It’s hard to say goodbye, but when I do, I will have plenty of actually GOOD friends to help me through the “break-up” period. They won’t. One day they will wake up and look around and realize how alone they are. Maybe then they will finally change their selfish, self-centered ways.

    Until then, I can no longer be their doormat, a mindless robot who does nothing but cater to them, listen to them, feel bad for them, etc., etc., while they never bother to return the favor.

  • My friends and family haven’t been supportive of my life dream. When I’d published my novel last year, which I’d worked on for many years, only one friend, who was only an acquaintance, took an interest. She bought it, read it, and gave me helpful feedback. The others said nothing, not even a congratulations. I’d asked an aunt to help me promote it on Facebook, and she didn’t and never mentioned the novel again or offered any feedback or encouragement. I don’t even know if she read it. I resent these friends and family. I haven’t stayed in touch with them as a result. Unfortunately, their silence hurt so much that I never edited the second book in the series as I’d intended. I keep trying to talk myself into doing so.

  • I feel these past couple of months I have been that toxic friend, all because I have been trying to distance myself from a toxic relationship, not knowing how to deal with it. I don’t call this person because she only ever talks about things going wrong in her life, and when I try to steer the conversation to another more positive topic she goes quiet then all of a sudden cuts me off mid sentence to keep talking about herself and her problems. When she calls me, she never says ‘Hi it’s me, how are you?’, she just opens up with an emotional barrage, and while I have tried to be supportive, this constant barrage is very stressful. Her emotional blackmail has made me second guess my decision to want to sever ties with her, or at least restrict contact, hence why I came searching for help in defining toxic relationships.

    Thank you for this article, it makes me feel better about my decision, and to the commenter Anonymous (July 30th 2013), you really summed up the relationship I have with this person.

  • What I don’t like , is how these toxic friends try to manipulate their way back into your life. They say things like “our families have known each other for a long time” or ” we were friends long before you met those other people.’ I noticed how prone toward jealousy they are. If you defend a new friend against their rage etc, they will resent you.

    They will also belittle you and make you feel drained. You say one thing they don’t agree with and they call you ‘ wrong’ on all turns.

    I feel like I have a one person police state hanging over me, and they are even miles away, but other people know them too. We all feel like we are treated as less than.

    I need to say BYE to this person. There is such a ’superior attitude with this person, that they run right over what other people think, as though we are less. Really frustrating.

  • Great to have these blogs. I have been on the receiving end of so many female friendship issues….I am beginning to wonder if I am the problem? I think so many women are competitive and have to one-up and it is so hard to find genuine people. Why is our society so hung up on looks, money and what happened to compassion, kindness and being accepting? I never imagined life as an adult would be so painful because I reflect on my parents life when they were my age in the 1970’s and they were much more happy and content.

  • Thanks for this wonderful article. I’ve had a lot of toxic people in my life (relatives and friends) I almost feel conditioned for it. I guess cause I grew up in a family that was toxic. Its a hard road to let go of toxic people especially if you’ve known them 30 + yrs. Articles like this really help keep me on track. Thank you.

  • Recently I decided I couldn’t have a certain friend in my life. The reason the decision was so hard is because I considered her my best friend for 5 years. #7 is the main biggie in my toxic friendships, I’m always the one to put more effort into the friendship and I think this has caused me to be a worse friend lately, after so much disappointment it’s hard to stay the exact same I was. I miss how much effort I’d put into my friendships.

    But my (ex-)best friend doesn’t want to see me or talk to me outside of Sundays (when I’d go to church and we’d see each other every week). I changed churches and have now found the friends I’ve been looking for, I don’t really need that old friendship in my life when I now have people who don’t make me feel like there’s something wrong with me.

  • Rebecca Antholz
    April 14th, 2014 at 1:31 am

    I am in a toxic relationship right now. I feel like we are two binary stars orbiting around each other. I am trying to figure out, after 24 years, how to end it without a huge scene. I’ve been taking it on the chin for some time now and I’m sick of it. However, I feel trapped. This person has a lot of psychological problems, so I have always tried to help her. Now, I am having problems.. She is literally driving me to the brink. My sons can’t stand her. Her own sister unfriended her on facebook. I am at a loss as to how to stop this. I don’t like to hurt people. She puts me down so often, I can’t figure out why she even wants to be my friend. Does anyone know how to get out of a situation like this without a bloody mess? Moreover, I am starting to be afraid of her.

  • Rebecca; I am totally understand how you feel. I know my friend for 3 years and it’s time for me to cut her out but it is very hard. I don’t know how to give you advice… only thing I can say I understand and I’m standing right for myself. Life is too short and we deserve to be happy.

  • When the time comes, hit the delete button folks! My friend just became so jealous over the last twelve years, and very slowly turned toxic. She resents any of her friend’s happiness; a male friend just got engaged and she couldn’t even be happy for him. Tragic.

  • 11. They talk down to you as if they’re superior, trying to make you feel like an idiot.

    I have a know-it-all friend like that. I’m highly educated, and I have a high IQ, but this friend treats me like I’m stupid. I’ve seen her treat others this way too if they disagree with her. She must always be right and have the last say.

    She’d posted a link to a medical study on FB about whether a certain medical issue is genetic or environmental. Having a lot of knowledge on the topic and personal experience, I made the mistake of disagreeing with her. I should have just ignored the message. I try to avoid online debates.

    Anyway, she wouldn’t hear a word I said and was extremely arrogant and demeaning, posting several lengthy and condescending rebuttals. I didn’t care that we disagreed on the subject, but the way she treated me was hurtful. I decided to quit responding to her. She certainly injured our friendship.

  • I have been on both sides of this coin.

    On one hand I was the toxic friend who always called out for help from friends and I was very needy to the point where people avoided and eventually ditched me from their lives.

    On the other hand I was also the supportive friend or should I say doormat for some people who were only taking advantage and getting what they could out of the friendship without any regard for me.

    For some reason I have a tendency to high maintenance and high drama people and unfortunately I think I learned some of my own toxic behaviour from them but that is changing for the better, I have removed many people from my life who weren’t bringing anything pleasant or positive to the friendships and I am learning to be less needy and fearful.

    I agree with Chris in terms of finding out why someone is engaging in toxic behaviour, I believe that some people really aren’t aware that they’re being toxic, it may not be about you at all and their behaviour could be unintentional, in that case these people need more support and less judgement.

    As for the high drama abusive nasties who use others, gossip or put people down, they too have a myriad of problems which need to be recognised and acknowledged but at the same time if their behaviour becomes too unhealthy then walking away might be the best and only thing to do…I have walked away from such people myself and have found that my life is much better without them.

    One thing we all need to remember is that we are all fighting some kind of battle that nobody else knows anything about..

  • Yeah… I have a ‘friend’ like that (my sister) 8 of them fit her personality 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, & 10

  • Good points, Marc and Angel. I strongly suggest people also consider these thoughts for toxic relatives as well. Toxic relationships come in all forms.

    It’s especially difficult when a relative relationship is toxic, but we have to learn to be kind to ourselves. When we allow someone to verbally and emotionally beat us up, it is so spiritually disheartening. Time to rise up and say “I won’t take it anymore.” and “I deserve better than this.”

    We’re all human, and we all make mistakes.

  • This article struck a life-long chord with me..I especially found BB`s response right on! I have people in my life such as that,past and present and also a grown daughter who seems to not realize her behaviour.I have dealt with her most kindly but it falls on deaf ears..I am treated like an imbecile and it is worse lately..there is an arrogance and nastiness that is just awful.How lovely it is when one is in the company of kind,apathetic and yes,smart people and how draining when one is cut-down,diminished at every turn and leveled!! As one person wrote the problem lies with them,period.What a joy one feels when life runs wishes to bottle that feeling!

  • An insightful article. Learn how to identify and cut down on toxic friends. They charm their way into your life and drag you into their little world. Best to have friends worth having.

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