If you really want to change your life, say goodbye to these 9 kinds of toxic friendships

One of the best things about friendship is that you can be yourself around them.

You have someone you can share your joys and triumphs with, as well as your fears and frustrations. A friend is someone you can trust and who trusts you. 

But what if that someone begins to leave you more drained than recharged, or if they are increasingly becoming selfish and passive-aggressive, or if they begin to take advantage of you?

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “Show me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are”, you understand that your quality of life relies heavily on the kind of people you surround yourself with.

If you really want to change your life, say goodbye to these 9 kinds of toxic friendships.

1) Boundary breakers

Boundaries are a part of any healthy relationship, no matter what kind of relationship it is–whether you’re spouses, S.O.s, friends, coworkers, or even relatives.

They exist to help us take care of our wellbeing by determining what kind of behavior is okay and what’s not. It’s important that your boundaries are communicated to manage other people’s expectations of you. 

One type of toxic friendship is that which you have with people who constantly cross your boundaries. They believe that these boundaries don’t apply to them.

They believe that it’s your job to be there for them when they need you. Whether or not they do the same for you is a different story.

I’ve had my fair share of toxic friendships

One would constantly bombard me with problems regarding their job and their love life without asking me if I had the mental or emotional bandwidth to receive it.

It came to a point where I would check my notifications dashboard first to see if they had texted, and open them only when I felt I had enough energy.

Even longer ago, someone I was friends with was a big partygoer.

The problem was, they would pressure and pester me to go with them to wherever they wanted until the wee hours of the morning. They were my ride, so I couldn’t leave.

Sometimes they’d ask me to go with them to meet their Tinder date–and on occasion, leave without me, without telling me.

Some friends, right? 

2) Attention-seekers

Another type of toxic friendship is with people who feel the need to have all the attention on them.

While it’s human nature to want attention, it’s a problem when such behavior stems from feelings of low self-esteem, envy, loneliness, or a psychiatric disorder.

Whatever the case, attention-seeking behavior can have negative effects on relationships.

Attention-seekers tend to: 

  • Base their self-esteem on how many likes or reactions they get on social media
  • Brag about what they have, how they look, or who they know
  • Make comments about themselves to fish for compliments saying otherwise
  • Do things that are intended to elicit reactions from others

One of the former friends I mentioned earlier was also an attention-seeker.

This person would engage in self-harm, promiscuous behavior, and dangerous behavior (like drinking while under the influence) leaving us, their friends, to make sure she stayed away from triggers. 

3) Passive-aggressive behavior

signs your friend may be a narcissist If you really want to change your life, say goodbye to these 9 kinds of toxic friendships

Do you have a friend that gives you backhanded compliments, leaving you confused as to what they meant by it?

Does this person also try to make you feel bad by giving you the silent treatment in instances you put yourself first? 

Do they respond sarcastically to things you say?

If so, you may be dealing with passive-aggressive behavior. This type of behavior, on the surface, seems harmless, but has an unconscious aggressive motive.

They tend to say that they’re fine, when they’re so clearly not. In the event of a disagreement, they tend to shut you out instead of talking about it. 

It usually occurs with people who don’t honor your boundaries. Say, a friend says they need you because they had a fight with their partner, but you have a family commitment. 

When you tell them this, instead of respecting this, they say things like, “It’s fine, I’ll just deal with this all by myself.”

The next time, when you are more available, you talk to them, they might say, “Oh, I’m surprised you have time to talk to me now.”

One of the hallmarks of any healthy relationship is openness and trust. If they’re a true friend, they would be willing to talk it out calmly and clear the air.

The next time you encounter this behavior, you might try addressing it head-on: “I feel that you’re mad at me for…” 

4) Microaggressive behavior

Another type of toxic friendship is one with someone exhibiting microaggressive behavior. 

Microaggressions are comments or behaviors that jab at a person’s belonging in a group that is discriminated against. 

Has anybody ever been surprised by you being able to do something that they had assumed people like you–whether by race or gender–would not be capable of doing? 

Instances include being surprised that you’re able to speak a language fluently despite not being a native, or else commenting that you’re “not like other girls” (the underlying message being that most girls have undesirable traits).

While microaggressions are sometimes unintentional, they tend to happen often and in a casual manner.

Additionally, microaggressive behavior is actually harmful because of the psychological impact.

How would you deal if you had to endure constant insults or stereotypes every day?

5) Drama magnets

Is there a person in your life who always seems to be going through a conflict in their lives? 

What about somebody who always seems to have some beef against other people without them knowing about it?

These people who seem addicted to drama frequently need their days to be filled. When they bite off more than they can chew, they complain about the burden. They also often exaggerate when describing situations.

In the absence of excitement in their own lives, they obsess about other people’s lives. At the same time, a drama magnet appears to need an audience for the movie in their minds that is their life.

Perhaps one of the more recognizable signs of a drama addict is that, in their view, they’re not responsible for their situation. It’s not fair, things just happen to them. And so they see themselves as victims and not agents of their destiny.

From personal experience, being around drama addicts leads you to attract drama to your own life. That can get very tiresome very quickly. If you aspire to a peaceful life, it’s best to bid this kind of friendship goodbye.

6) Gossips

As I’ve said previously, trust is an essential ingredient of a successful friendship. But if you can’t be sure if your secrets are safe with a friend, then what do you do?

Everybody gossips. When you talk about someone who isn’t present, particularly sharing details that may or may not be true, that’s gossiping

In general, you would do well to steer clear of people who start rumors or engage in negative gossip. Negative whispers or speculations are usually more hidden and interesting, people tend to spread it around more.

And though it may be entertaining to them, it definitely is damaging to the person being talked about. 

If you have a friend who gossips with you about somebody else, how difficult do you think it will be for them to do the same to you?

7) Manipulators

phrases used by conversational narcissists to manipulate you 2 If you really want to change your life, say goodbye to these 9 kinds of toxic friendships

A toxic friendship is one where one party is concerned only with their own needs and dismisses the other. 

How many times has a friend demanded that you be there for them even if you had things going on in your life too? How often have you participated in things that only your friend wanted to do? 

How many times have you heard their silent message be, “If you don’t do this for me, then you’re not a real friend/you’re a bad friend”?

Then when you bring up their treatment of you, they tell you you’re imagining it or that it’s you who is blowing things out of proportion.

This is a form of manipulation, specifically gaslighting. It is a form of emotional abuse that aims at making the target question their reality. 

If this isn’t a red flag, then I don’t know what is.

8) Overly competitive

A real friend is someone who can commiserate with you when you’re low–and when you’re up high.

True friends are happy for your successes. While jealousy is a perfectly normal emotion to feel, the pride and joy your friend feels for you outweighs it. 

Yet, there are some people who may feel only envy or ill will upon hearing news of your triumphs. These so-called friends feel the need to compete with others’ wins.

For instance, a good friend of yours has just gotten engaged.

This competitive friend would say something along the lines of, “I’m so glad for her! She’s finally getting married. Then she can try and catch up having kids. I’m having my third one already!”

In some instances, they could even put you down behind your back. Say you’re colleagues, and you’ve been appointed a coveted team leader position on a big project.

To others they might say, “I hope So-and-So does well…this is only their first real experience leading this kind of project.”

Whatever the situation, you don’t need that kind of negative energy in your life.

9) You’re not your best self when you’re with them

Perhaps the worst toxic friendship is one in which you become like them.

Washington-based clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior, PhD, says that toxic friends are able to spread their toxicity to others

“When you’re with that person, they bring out behaviors in you that aren’t your best,” she explains. 

Think back: have you ever spent time with a particular friend and automatically started being a bully or a gossip? A person who likes drama? An excessive partier? 

Whatever the behavior, this friend is only encouraging habits that you don’t normally indulge in.

It might also be that you can’t be your real self around them. You’re constantly thinking about how your friend might react. 

On this, Bonior says: “[If] you feel lousy about yourself most of the time, then [the friendship] may be toxic.”

A good friend, a healthy relationship, should help you become a version of yourself that is good, compassionate, empathetic, and kind. In short, a version of yourself that you’re proud to be. 

A final thought on getting rid of toxic friendships

Friends are one of life’s most precious treasures. In turn, life itself is short.

Don’t spend it with people who make you feel bad about yourself. 

Picture of Louise Logarta

Louise Logarta

Louise Nichole Logarta is a content writer by profession, with experience crafting feature articles, editorials, and news articles. She has been published in noted Philippine broadsheets Philippine Daily Inquirer and The Manila Times. Topics of interest she likes writing about include relationships, current affairs, health, and pop culture. Travel, journal notebooks, fiction books, and iced coffee are some of the things she enjoys.

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