Toxic Friendships: 7 Signs to Look Out For

Social connections are an important part of our everyday lives, so it is crucial to be able to spot the signs of a toxic friendship.

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A true friendship is all about give and take.

Having social connections with the people around us can have many positive effects on our overall wellbeing. However, toxic friendships can have a completely contrasting result.

Multiple studies have shown that healthy friendships and relationships can lower the risk of physical and mental health complications.

These friendships also provide us with much-needed happiness and support.

However, not all friendships take the same form. Toxic friendships can easily bring you down and have a negative effect on your physical, emotional and mental health.

There can be many signs that point to a toxic friendship, some of which may go unnoticed before the damage has already been done.

We explore seven signs of a toxic friendship to help improve the strength of your social circle.

Gossip

Anyone can make a mistake and say something that they probably should not say.

But if you tell a friend something you believe to be in confidence, and your entire social circle finds out before the week is up, your trust has been broken.

A good friend cares about your feelings and would make sure to take your secrets to their grave.

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Talk without Action

Everyone knows that words mean very little on their own. If a friend brushes off any concerns you may have with a back-handed apology, this a sign of a toxic friendship.

A true friend would take the time to understand your perspective and consider their behaviour going forward.

But if a friend shows a lack of care in how their actions affect you, then you may want to reconsider your relationship with that person.

Comparison

If you have a friend who likes to point out how you may be different from their other friends or even give the impression that you are inferior to another person, this is a problem.

A good friend would recognise your personal traits and understand the value of your individuality.

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Forced Change

A true friend will not only never compare you to someone else, but they will completely accept you for the person you are.

A friend may provide you with support on something you would like to change. However, they would never make the effort to directly change you.

Therefore, someone who tries to control you or make you into someone you are not may not be a real friend.

Self-Esteem

It is normal for friends to laugh and joke with each other, but it is important that you are laughing too.

Friends who tease each other is common, but a friend should not belittle you, put you down or make you feel sad. If they do, then your friendship with that person may not be as healthy as you thought.

Lack of Support

A friendship involves listening to each other and being present when your friend needs you.

If your friend minimises your problems or ignores them altogether, this a very toxic trait in someone who is supposed to be there for you.

A toxic friendship can result in a severe lack of compassion.

It is important to surround yourself with people who can provide you with the support you need.

Selfishness

It is important to have a friend who can provide you with support and empathy when you need it. But a toxic friend will have a habit of being unreachable unless they need something.

A true friendship is all about give and take. So a friend who is constantly unavailable when you are struggling may not be a friend at all.

While there are many other signs to look out for when it comes to toxic friendships, these can be the ones which are more common than others.

Looking out for these signs will help you understand the value of your relationship or not.

Remember the most important person is always going to be you. and if you think you have a friendship which is toxic, then getting away from it is always going to be the best protection of your well-being.

Louise is an English with Writing graduate with a passion for travel, skiing and playing the piano. She also has a personal blog which she updates regularly. Her motto is "Be the change you wish to see in the world."