Toxic friendships – the signs to look out for?

Many are aware of toxic relationships with their partners, but I feel that not near enough attention has been given to toxic friendships. Both share similarities in that they can provide important people in your life that are hard to say goodbye to. But what we should really do is be aware of the signs and the strange behaviours, so that we are surrounded by the best possible people. Because of this, I want to discuss and point out potential red flags that you may miss.

Toxic friendships diminish self-esteem | The Broadview

They bring out a strange side of you.

It is healthy to come out of your comfort zone of course. But with a ‘toxic friend,’ this can be a very different and quite negative side of you that feels strange and actually. You may start changing your behaviours, having bad habits or doing things you do not normally do. For instance, if that is constant drinking, or smoking or gossiping. A lot of this for me at least feels so toxic and I would prefer to avoid those who overindulge in such things by distancing myself altogether.

They are not grown up enough to admit their mistakes.
This person never seems to be in the wrong, or at least in their mind. They may make you feel guilty and trying to reason with them can feel like talking to a brick wall. They always have excuses for their behaviours and are blaming others. We are adults by age now, so it is time to start acting like it. Putting your hands up and saying ‘sorry’ is not that difficult.

They are not there for you… especially when it counts!

This is arguably the biggest and most obvious red flag there is, but for some reason, many people seem to miss or ignore it. It is a friend who makes everything about them. The one you will do a favour for or quickly jump to save them in some form. But when the tables are turned you are left to pick up the pieces without them. If they are making excuses, then maybe its time to question the integrity of the friendship.


All of these factors can severely affect your mental health, especially your self-esteem. For someone who has or has experienced low self-esteem then spotting these red flags can be pivotal to living a healthier lifestyle. At least for me, I have found comfort in improving my self-esteem as I have been able to choose better friends, who do not exhibit such behaviours. I find it is better to cut ties with toxic friendships to feel healthier and allow yourself more time and energy towards yourself and your good friends.

Please let me know if you liked this article and are interested in part two. There are still so many more signs and red flags to share.

8 thoughts on “Toxic friendships – the signs to look out for?”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this article. Your advice and tips is really useful as I now know, whether or not any of my friendships are toxic. A part two would be excellent to see. Some other signs are if you’re feeling used and don’t enjoy spending time with them or their constantly breaking promises, which leads to a breakdown in trust.

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    1. Thank you. I may just have to consider a part 2. I definitely think it is important to have trust in your friendships. Some people can just be manipulated and used far too easily. These are key signs to look out for in my opinion.

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  2. Toxic friendships: I also like the term Emotional Manipulators per an article I read awhile back. Too many people stay in a relationship, friendship ‘cos they don’t feel they deserve any better. But they have to remember, they are worth something too!

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    1. That is an interesting point that you make. It is sad people feel like this is. I think it is an issue with ones self-esteem that they need to work on so that they understand they deserve better.

      Would you be willing to share the article you read?

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  3. I like to add three more points into your lot.

    1. When your friend is not comfortable showing his/her friendship around others.

    2. He/she prefers others over you in real life but wants you over others in online life and in social media handles.

    3. He/she likes to have fun without you but insists that you shouldnt have fun without him/her.

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  4. Realising a friendship is a toxic one is revelatory. It’s often difficult to see the damage a friendship is causing to your mental health because you’re typically invested in the connection. Often it’ll be a non-toxic friend who points out the issues with another. That in itself can be difficult to do. Will the victim of toxicity accept and understand the concerns or defend the toxic friend? It’s a judgement call.

    I have few friends. Quality over quantity. I can count my true real friends on one hand and I know they’ll be friends for life. Through thick or thin, good and bad. It doesn’t matter if we haven’t seen each other for months. When we do meet up its like no time has passed. I am fortunate in that, to my knowledge, I have never been the victim of a toxic friendship.

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    1. I am really happy to hear you have been lucky to not have a toxic friendship. I also like that you can have friends where it feels like the friendship has never gone anyway, after time apart. I have these two and these friendships are just as valuable.

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