15 Ways To Recognize A Toxic Best Friend


Friendships are supposed to lift us, right? We all want a best friend who supports us, makes us laugh, and has our back through thick and thin. But what happens when your so-called “best friend” becomes the source of your stress and unhappiness? Sometimes, the very person we trust the most can be the one who drains us emotionally. Recognizing the signs of a toxic friendship is a life-saver— literally, but it’s not always easy to spot. Here are 15 signs you might be dealing with toxicity in your friendship.

They Drain Your Energy


You feel exhausted after hanging out with them as if they’ve sucked all the life out of you because conversations with them are filled with complaints and negativity, making it hard to stay positive. Whenever you try to share your problems, they redirect the focus back to their issues. After spending time together, you need to recharge emotionally, feeling more drained.

They Are Excessively Jealous


Instead of celebrating your milestones, they belittle them, making you feel undeserving of your accomplishments. However, when you hang out with other friends, they act possessively, questioning your loyalty. Their jealousy disrupts your other relationships, causing unnecessary tension and making you feel guilty for having other close friends, implying that you should prioritize them above everyone else.

They Manipulate Your Feelings


Does your friend always make you second-guess your feelings? Guilt-tripping is their tool to get what they want, manipulating you into doing things on their terms. They always twist situations to make you the bad guy, leaving you confused and defensive. Their behavior forces you to question your own emotions, doubting your perception of reality.

They Don’t Respect Boundaries


Personal space seems foreign to them, as they constantly intrude without considering your comfort. Your requests for time alone are ignored, pushing you to interact even when you need a break. There is a regular invasion of your privacy—such as reading your messages, showing up unannounced, and even going to extremes like guilting you into doing things you’re uncomfortable with.

They Make You Doubt Yourself


If you have friends who fuel your impostor syndrome, it’s probably time to re-evaluate their stance in your life. Your self-esteem plummets when they’re around, as their constant criticism wears you down, making you doubt your choices and decisions. Compliments from them feel backhanded and insincere and leave you unsure of their true intentions.

They Are Unreliable


When you need their support, they frequently fail to show up or create excuses — often canceling plans at the last minute, leaving you stranded and disappointed. The promises are rarely kept, making it hard to trust their word. You feel like you can’t count on them in times of need, as they prioritize their convenience over your friendship.

They Use You for Their Benefit


They reach out only when they need something, whether a favor, a ride, or money. You feel like a tool rather than a friend, as they exploit your kindness for their gain. Their interest in your life seems to wane when they have nothing to gain from you, and they take advantage of your generosity without reciprocating.

They Don’t Celebrate Your Successes


When you achieve something significant, their reactions are lukewarm or dismissive. They downplay your accomplishments to paint a dynamic that makes you feel like your successes are insignificant. Instead of congratulating you, they change the subject or make it about themselves. 

They Make You Feel Bad About Yourself


Interactions with them often leave you feeling worse about yourself than before, as they spend an unholy amount of time highlighting your insecurities to make you feel inadequate. The comments and actions erode your confidence, which puts you in a mental space where you question your value.

They Gossip About You


Behind your back, they share your secrets with others, betraying your trust. You hear from mutual friends that they’ve been spreading rumors about you, which causes you embarrassment and hurt. This habit of gossiping leads you to be hesitant to confide in them, fearing your personal information will become public knowledge.

They Never Apologize

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No one is perfect, right? But that’s not a reality your friend is willing to accept. When they hurt you, they refuse to acknowledge their mistakes, instead acting as if nothing happened. Apologies are rare, even when they’re clearly in the wrong, leaving you feeling invalidated and frustrated.

They Compete with You


Friendships that feel like constant competition, with the other person always trying to one-up you in every aspect, are not ideal. They seem more interested in outdoing you than supporting your achievements, turning every conversation into a comparison. You feel like you’re in a race rather than a partnership, which undermines the supportive dynamic a friendship should have.

They Disrespect Your Values


A toxic friendship often talks down on your values and beliefs through outright dismissal or mockery, showing a profound lack of respect for who you are. They pressure you to act against your principles and do not care if this makes you uncomfortable or conflicted. Their disregard for what you hold dear reveals their insensitivity and lack of understanding.

They Isolate You from Others


By monopolizing your time, toxic friends prevent you from seeing other friends or family who would probably help you see the skewed dynamics. This possessiveness isolates you, making you more reliant on them for social interaction and support, and over time, you notice a shrinking social circle because of their influence, as they gradually cut you off from others.

They Are Consistently Rude to You


Friends are respectful in tone even when emotions are strained, but your friend often resorts to harsh and insulting comments. They forge jokes at your expense, disguising their rudeness as humor and leaving you feeling belittled. Publicly, they criticize you in front of others, making you feel humiliated and embarrassed.


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