13 Signs Your Friendship With Someone Is Toxic (2023)

US Markets Loading... H METRO S No news

Chevron Icon Indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous/next navigation options. HOME PAGE


Subscribe to

Heim Strategy

Lindsay Dodgson



13 Signs Your Friendship With Someone Is Toxic (1)

Digital Images/Getty Images
  • Toxic friends are energy draining, hypocritical and unhelpful.
  • Here are 13 signs your "friend" is toxic and you might want to end the friendship.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Top publishers bring you the stories you want, straight to your inbox, every day of the week.

Thanks for registering!

Access your favorite topics on the go in a personalized feed.

Toxic relationships don't just apply to romantic partners. Friendships with other people can sometimes be just as abusive and hurtful.

Instead of bringing camaraderie and comfort into your life, a toxic friendship brings exhaustion and frustration, he says.Psychologist and therapist Perpétua Neo.

Keep reading: 9 Signs It's Time to End a Friendship, According to Therapists

There are a few signs to look out for to determine whether or not a friendship is healthy, Neo told Business Insider.

Some of the red flags are obvious, others may be more subtle. Here are 13 of the most common signs to look out for in a toxic friendship.

1. There's a lot of drama

13 Signs Your Friendship With Someone Is Toxic (2)

EyeEm/Fake Pictures

One thing you can guarantee from a toxic person is drama. Chaos seems to surround them somehow, whether it's because they're constantly arguing and getting into trouble with someone or because amazing things keep happening to them.

“Drama is important when it comes to toxic friends,” Neo said. "A toxic friend tends to be someone we're attracted to, whether it's because they're too awesome, too awesome, or just a sad creature that needs our help."

Whatever your story is, you can guarantee you'll figure it out or, worse, get sucked into it.

2. It's All About Her

13 Signs Your Friendship With Someone Is Toxic (3)

iStock/Getty Images Mais/Getty Images

A toxic friend will never really listen to you. They will always wait their turn to speak or return the conversation to you.

“In new conversations between people, you can tell that this has happened to me too, which is good because this is where empathy is born and a connection is made,” Neo said. “But a toxic person is all about them. You will distort it.

A good way to test this out is to mention random topics that aren't related to either of you. A toxic person has the uncanny ability to manipulate the conversation, no matter what the topic, without missing a beat.

3. They bring you down all the time

13 Signs Your Friendship With Someone Is Toxic (4)

GaudiLab / Shutterstock

Neo said a toxic friend will never compliment you. They will never pick you up or congratulate you on your accomplishments. In fact, you're much more likely to get kicked if you're on the ground.

You'll find you're never really happy or relaxed around them because they don't make you feel good, Neo said. No friendship should be transactional, but when someone drains all your energy, you have to ask yourself if you're getting anything out of it.

4. They compete with you

13 Signs Your Friendship With Someone Is Toxic (5)

sanjagrujic/Getty Images

Whether it's a job promotion, a romantic interest, or a new class you're taking, your toxic friend is going to compete with you. They won't like the idea that you have something that doesn't concern them, and especially, they don't want you to stand out in anything.

"They want to compete with you, even if you don't compete with them," Neo said. "Even if you're in a completely different field, they want the same things you do."

5. They secretly copy you

13 Signs Your Friendship With Someone Is Toxic (6)

Hero Images/Getty Images

Competition can take it a step further and a toxic person will start to imitate you. They might buy the same bag you bought the week before, or use the same slang as you.

"A very common thing I've heard is that this person really likes you, wants to spend all their time with you, and copies you," Neo said. "So it's not uncommon for toxic friends to be very jealous of you, put you down and, to some extent, try to steal your identity.

6. Exceed your limits

13 Signs Your Friendship With Someone Is Toxic (7)


Toxic people do incredibly inappropriate things. For example, Neo said they can call you on your home phone if you never give the number, or even show up uninvited.

They won't listen if you say you're uncomfortable with something they're doing. Instead, you'll feel bad or crazy for bringing it up. They don't respect your space and make you feel like you're leaving them when you retire.

7. Toxic friends are compulsively needy.

13 Signs Your Friendship With Someone Is Toxic (8)

Burdun Ilia/Shutterstock

Neo said you can feel like you got an obsessive boyfriend or girlfriend without even asking. They will call and text you anytime of the day, even if you said you were busy.

"They want all of your time, so it's a very codependent type of friendship," she said. “So they text you all the time and wait for a response. Even if you say I'll be really busy for the next six hours, they'll text you beforehand and all the way through. And if you don't respond, they'll unleash a storm."

8. You are jealous of other friends.

13 Signs Your Friendship With Someone Is Toxic (9)

Kiryl Lis/Shutterstock

A toxic person is likely to start blaming your other friends if you don't respond to their messages and calls. Neo said that they will likely criticize your friends to your face and try to isolate you from them.

"They are extremely jealous of their friends and will go so far as to say you are their only friend and you are the only person they care about," he said. "Even if you're on a date, they expect you to drop everything for them."

9. Do you feel responsible for them?

13 Signs Your Friendship With Someone Is Toxic (10)

JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Even when they act irrationally, toxic people have the ability to make people feel bad for them. Their guilt knows no bounds, Neo said, because they've likely shared many sad stories about how difficult their life was.

"You have this feeling of support like you're a beacon for them, and if you break it, they'll break it," he said. "If you decide to spend your time with someone else, what if they do something bad? If you don't respond, what if they get hurt?"

10. They are hypocrites

13 Signs Your Friendship With Someone Is Toxic (11)

Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

Although they make you feel bad for not spending enough time with them, toxic people will never feel bad for letting you down. But because they're so unreasonable and dramatic, you'll let them get away with it because you don't want to provoke them.

"They can owe you money and pretend they never owe you anything and rewrite history," Neo said. "So you might feel irritated and angry, but because you don't want to provoke them and their difficulties, you take a step back."

11. They lie to gain sympathy

13 Signs Your Friendship With Someone Is Toxic (12)

Antonio Guillem/Getty Images

Toxic people tend to inflate their backstory. "They may play with the confusing nature of their lives to gain sympathy," Neo said. "You can tell a lot of stories that don't make sense, that don't fit together." However, always make sure you support a friend who is constantly talking about their drug use, drinking problem or abuse. Even the most toxic person could secretly hide a cry for help.

12. You are always doomed to fail.

13 Signs Your Friendship With Someone Is Toxic (13)


Performing drama in public is a toxic person's favorite pastime. If you haven't done anything obvious towards them for a while, they can screw you over. For example, they might say that you promised to take them to the movies and stood them up, even though that conversation never happened.

"They're very dramatic, so in one location they can publicly embarrass you by yelling and yelling at you, making you feel bad and putting yourself in your shoes," Neo said. “They make you feel like it's your fault; if you don't want that kind of behavior then don't do it again.”

13. You will feel that something is wrong

13 Signs Your Friendship With Someone Is Toxic (14)

Nicoleta Ionescu / Shutterstock

Neo said his body is good at recognizing signs that something isn't right. It can be hard to pinpoint exactly what's wrong, but if you're constantly feeling nervous, it could be because a toxic person is around.

“You can't understand what the hell is going on,” Neo said. “His brain works over time and his mental energy is constantly drained from that person. Not only do you feel responsible, you also feel unsettled around them. Some people make the room look a little too energetically fun The barometer indicates there's trouble."

keep reading

Relationships Amistad People


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanael Baumbach

Last Updated: 03/17/2023

Views: 5796

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (75 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanael Baumbach

Birthday: 1998-12-02

Address: Apt. 829 751 Glover View, West Orlando, IN 22436

Phone: +901025288581

Job: Internal IT Coordinator

Hobby: Gunsmithing, Motor sports, Flying, Skiing, Hooping, Lego building, Ice skating

Introduction: My name is Nathanael Baumbach, I am a fantastic, nice, victorious, brave, healthy, cute, glorious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.