How To Identify Toxic Friends

How To Identify Toxic Friends

Friendships can be tricky to navigate, especially in middle school, high school, and even college. Friends fight and go through difficult times. Friendship is a two way thing, and every relationship faces its challenges, but it is important to know when a friendship may have run its course. Knowing how to identify toxic friends can help save you from stress and heartache.

7 Signs Of A Toxic Friendship

Toxic friends are threatened by your successes.

Whether it’s a cute boy you met at the baseball game or a club you were elected president of, a true friend should be there to celebrate with you. Friends should never become judgmental or refuse to celebrate with you at exciting times. There may be times when they are wary and trying to look out for you, but it should not become a consistent cycle of negativity.

The conversation is (almost) always about them.

You begin telling her really exciting news only for the conversation to be instantly flipped back to her. You had a fight with your parents? Well, it isn’t as bad as the fight she had with her brother last week. You got an A on your English paper? She got a 100-percent on her calculus test. Toxic friends are constantly trying to make themselves the center of attention and are unwilling to share the spotlight.

If the conversation isn’t about them, you don’t have anything to talk about.

When you reach the point where you don’t want to tell your “friend” about what is going on in your life, something needs to change. It’s not a sign of a healthy friendship if you feel like you have to keep your mouth shut when you’re together. Toxic friends that are judgmental and hold you back when you are around them are not the kind of friends you deserve in your life.

You are constantly fighting.

No relationship should be spent in a constant state of disagreement. Often times when friendships have run their course, the littlest problems can spark a huge disagreement. That one annoying habit they’ve always had that you’ve been able to overlook till now? It’s causing huge problems. The person you like but she doesn’t? It’s putting a wedge between you. Her awards banquet you missed last month because you had a family birthday party? She still hasn’t let it go. Toxic friends always have to be right, narrow in on the things you’ve done wrong, and don’t let go.  

You are the only one who is always trying to “fix things.”

No one person is always at fault in true a friendship. Sure, relationships are a give and take, it isn’t always a fifty-fifty split. Sometimes, compromises are necessary, but if you are the only one making compromises and trying to fix things, then you’re dealing with a toxic friendship. A true friend recognizes that friendship is a two-way street and that both individuals have to put some effort in to make it work.

They make you feel bad for having other friends.

Some people have a few close friends while others have a large group of close acquaintances. Whichever style of friendship you prefer, no one gets to control your time other than you. It’s an instant red flag when a friend tries to manipulate your schedule or make you feel bad for spending time with someone else. Even the closest of friends need time apart to meet new people and experience different adventures.

Being around them is no longer fun.

You used to curl up on the couch and giggle at rom coms, but now you sit on opposite ends of the sofa in silence. It’s not necessarily that you had a fight or are too tired to laugh. It’s that you’re walking on eggshells around her. Toxic friends are people who were once enjoyable to be around but have turned into friends who you cannot wait to walk away from.

You deserve better. You deserve a friend that will celebrate your successes, listen to your hardships, laugh beside you, grow with you, support and care about you. If there is someone in your life that is dragging you down instead of lifting you up, it might be time to take a step back from that friendship. Remember, friendship is a two way thing.


Smart Girl Society, Inc., is an Omaha-based nonprofit working to educate and inspire smart and confident girls, women, and families. Through educational workshops, civil outreach programs, and technology and social media research, we work with girls, parents, and educators on the positive effects of social networking. We educate Omaha girls and boys, as well as students across the nation, on online safety and how to avoid becoming a target of sextortion. We also inspire action for students to focus on their personal brand development, leadership, educational opportunities, and healthy social skills. Interested in learning more? Check us out!