We all hear about the signs of toxic romantic relationships and how everyone should look out for them.
But we rarely hear about the signs of a toxic friendship. When do we know when a friendship should end? Or when it is no longer a friendship?
A few years back, I was involved in that kind of friendship.
I met her at work and thought she would become my best friend. We ended up doing everything together — from going out to parties at fraternities to going out to breakfast to chatting about our boy dilemmas.
A year later, we were good friends. But after a year in college, our friendship quickly changed.
It was one day, at a party, that I realized she wasn’t a good friend to me. She’d barely arrived when she started screaming at me, telling me that I was an inconsiderate friend because I hadn’t told her that her ex-boyfriend was there. The next day, she told me how selfish I was, how inconsiderate I was, how I wasn’t “loyal” and that I wasn’t going to make any good friends.
I chuckled. I had made great friends over the years, and I had never had one that turned sour. It seemed like a funny joke at the time because I knew, at that point, it wasn’t me.
It was our toxic friendship.
Here are some signs you might find yourself in a toxic friendship, too:
They make you feel bad
No friend should ever make you feel bad about who you are, or what you want. I remember there were times that I wanted to eat a certain thing, and she would tell me that I should watch what I eat — guilting me into some freakish diet that I had never signed up for. A person isn’t a friend if you leave them feeling worse than when you arrived.
They are selfish
We are all guilty of being a little selfish, but there is a difference between acting selfish and being selfish. Sometimes, it is important to recognize the difference because this kind of toxic characteristic doesn’t change. There were times when I wanted to talk about something to get it off my chest and my toxic ex-friend would completely tune me out and say that she didn’t want to hear about it. But then I would hear about her problems for four hours.
They don’t make/have time for you
In a balanced friendship, people make time for each other. One person should never be putting in all of the work. It should be a give and take. Sometimes, I wouldn’t hear from my friend for almost a month. I would contact her a couple of times to try to set up coffee dates or hangouts, but she wouldn’t reply — unless she wanted to go out and do something that day/night. To put it bluntly, I hardly heard from her.
You argue too much
This should be the obvious one: You want support from a friend, not arguments.
Overall, a friendship should be fun and light-hearted. But it should also be a place where you feel support. No friendship should take away from your personal life or make you feel bad.
When she yelled at me in front of an apartment complex, in broad daylight, for about an hour, I knew it was time to move on from that friendship. Under no circumstance should anyone ever yell at you or belittle you or make you feel bad. I know people can get into fights, but it should never be constant or without a strong foundation of mutual respect.
They never apologize
This one was the biggest rule-breaker for me. Whenever we did get into an argument or when she did do anything wrong, my toxic ex-friend would never apologize. She would demand an apology from me, stating that our fights were my fault. But it takes two to fight, so, sometimes, both parties should apologize.