It's fun to sit with your girls and debate over who's the Carrie, Charlotte, and Samantha in your group. But if you find yourselves labeling each other Regina or Blair , there might be a bigger problem than who has the best headband game. Friendship should be a source of happiness and support, but unfortunately that's not always the case. Sometimes you may find yourself in a toxic friendship — a relationship that brings about more stress, sadness, and other negative emotions as opposed to the positive ones. And when you realize that's the case, it's time to break away as fast as possible before you cause yourself any more emotional damage.
That doesn't mean that every time you and your BFF get in a fight it's time to call it quits. Every friendship will be filled with minor disagreements, small spats, and even one or two major blowouts. But at the end of the day, a good friend cares for you and wants what's best for you, no matter what. A toxic friend, on the other hand, cares more about herself and getting what she wants, and it doesn't matter to her if your happiness is a casualty along the way.
You may not realize you're part of a toxic friendship, especially at the beginning. A master manipulator can work her magic with such accuracy you'll never see the sleight of hand, leaving you feeling terrible about your friendship and not even understanding why. If you start to feel this way, be on the lookout for these warning signs that the friendship is toxic. And if you've determined that to be the case, make sure to find a way to cut her loose before things get worse.
1. She's Too Co-Dependent
There's nothing wrong with a friend who calls you up crying after a tough breakup, or begs you to come with her to a work event so she won't have to make awkward conversation with her boss. But that neediness can cross a line and become overly dependent. Does she need you to weigh in on every decision she makes, including what she orders for brunch? Does she consider you her sole source of entertainment and never allow you a chance to make plans with other friends? Does she depend on you financially? If so, it may be time to cut this albatross loose.
2. Everything Is Negative
Sometimes we all need to call our bestie and just bitch it out. But if she regularly plays the role of Negative Nancy, that energy is eventually going to rub off on you. It's tough to be around someone who is constantly complaining and still keep a positive attitude. If she's going through a tough time — she was fired, dumped, lost a parent — then you need to help her though the rough patch and out of the darkness. But if the fact that she's out of mayonnaise is cause for cursing the world? Maybe it's time to find a happier pal.
3. She Gives You Backhanded Compliments
The backhanded compliment is manipulation at it's finest. Not only do they sting in the moment, but they could be a sign of an even greater manipulative agenda. She's trying to push herself up by bringing you down. And the worst part is, because the insult is disguised as a kind remark, you might not even fully understand how she got to you. And even if you do, how can you call her out on it? Nobody needs someone to put them down in the guise of being "nice".
4. You Engage In Similar, Unkind Behavior
There's two ways this can happen. If your friend is rude to others, you might find yourself joining in as she puts down other people. Or, if she's constantly being mean to you, you may start engaging in similar behaviors in an attempt to get back at her. But here's the thing: you don't want to stoop to her level. Just like laughter is contagious, cruelty can be infectious. If you find yourself mirroring her worst qualities, things have definitely become toxic.
5. She's Inconsistent
You know that friend who's always making plans and canceling at the last minute? Or the one who's in your life every day and then out of nowhere totally ghosts on you? Nobody needs flaky, inconsistent friends who are always letting them down or bailing on them. You need someone you can rely on to be there for you, both emotionally and to physically be where they say they are going to be.
6. She Peer Pressures You
Wasn't peer pressure supposed to end in high school? Yes, it was, which is why if you have a friend who's constantly trying to get you to engage in bad behavior it's time to rethink things. You don't need to be around someone who pushes you to binge drink, smoke when you're not a smoker, or partake in any other kind of unhealthy or dangerous conduct that makes you feel uncomfortable.
7. She's Always Digging At Your Self Esteem
A friend who puts you down is not a friend at all. Sure, there are times we all need to be told we're doing something wrong — whether it's wearing shoes that seriously don't match or treating our SO unfairly— but a true friend only points out these mistakes when she's worried you'll be hurt, embarrassed or regretful if she doesn't. A faux friend likes to point out all of your flaws, including flaws that don't actually exist, and is constantly shutting down your ideas and suggestions. There are enough people in the world who are going to tell you you're wrong. You don't need that from a "friend."
8. She's Betrayed You
It's really difficult to build up trust again for someone who has betrayed you. Talking behind your back, throwing you under the bus, sleeping with your boyfriend, all of these actions are hard to get over. And even if you can forgive her, you have to constantly watch your back and check that she won't betray you again. When betrayal happens, take into account the magnitude of the wrong, if it was intentional or unintentional, and how much positive history you have in addition to this. Then weigh whether or not this friendship deserves another chance.
9. She Only Talks About Herself
Is your friend a master monologuer? You know that girl who, whenever you get together, an hour passes before you can even get a word in edgewise? Everyone's entitled to a day of self-indulgence every now and again, but someone who talks solely about themselves with no regard for you or your life is not actually a friend. If you feel like more of a sounding board than a companion, it might be time to scat.
10. She Doesn't Get Happy, She Gets Jealous
Frenemy may be a fun word, but it's not a fun relationship. Friends celebrate your successes, not envy them. The green-eyed monster really is a terrifying beast, and someone who is constantly jealous is never going to be able to really support you. If she isn't happy for you when you tell her about a promotion, engagement, or pregnancy, then she's not worth having around to be a part of your accomplishments.
11. You Dread Seeing Her
The best thing about friends is that you get to choose them. Never allow yourself to feel stuck in a relationship you no longer want to be a part of. You should be excited to catch up with your buddies, not dread the prospect of sitting through a whole lunch with them. No matter what the reason is that you don't look forward to seeing her, the fact that you don't is a surefire sign it's time to cut ties.
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