Toxic friends are energetically draining, hypocritical, and not worth your time. But it can sometimes be difficult to pick up on the fact they are causing damage.
Here are 13 signs that your friendship is probably toxic and you should get out of it as soon as you can.
There's a whole lot of drama
One thing you can guarantee from a toxic person is drama. Chaos seems to surround them somehow, either because they're always arguing with someone, causing problems, or unbelievable things keep happening to them.
Psychologist and therapist Perpetua Neo said. "A toxic friend tends to be someone who sucks us in either by being very amazing, very grandiose, or by being this sad creature that needs our help."
Everything is about them
A toxic friend will never really listen to you. They will always be waiting for their turn to speak, or to turn the conversation back to them.
"In a novel conversation between people, you can say this thing happened to me too, which is OK because that's where empathy happens, and you form a connection," Neo said. "But then with a toxic person, everything revolves around them. They'll twist it."
They put you down
Neo said a toxic friend will never compliment you. They'll never pick you up or congratulate you on your achievements. In fact, they're much more likely to kick you when you're down.
You'll realize you're never actually happy or relaxed around them because they don't make you feel good about yourself, Neo said. No friendship should be transactional, but if someone is draining all your energy, you should ask yourself whether you're getting anything out of it at all.
They compete with you
Whether it's your job promotion, a romantic partner, or a new class you're doing, your toxic friend will compete with you.They won't like the idea of you having anything that doesn't involve them, and they especially don't want you to excel at something.
They secretly copy you
A toxic person will start to mimic you. They might buy the same bag you bought the week before, or start using the same slang words as you.
Neo said. "It's not uncommon for toxic friends to be very jealous of you, tear you down, and to some extent try to steal your identity. In severe cases, they might pretend to be you and use your photos, like catfishing."
They cross your boundaries
Toxic people do incredibly inappropriate things. For example, Neo said they may ring you on your house phone when you never gave them the number, or even show up uninvited.
They have no respect for your space, and make you feel like you're abandoning them if you push back.
They are obsessively needy
You might feel like you've gotten yourself an obsessive boyfriend or girlfriend without even asking for it. They'll call and text you at all times of the day, even if you said you're busy.
"They want all your time so it's a very codependent kind of friendship," she said. "So they'll text you all the time and expect a reply. Even if you say I'm going to be really busy over the next six hours, they'll text you just before, and throughout. And if you don't reply they will kick up a storm."
They're jealous of other friends
They're likely to criticize your friends to your face, and try and isolate you from them.
"They are extremely jealous of your friends and will even go so far as to tell you you're their only friend, and you're the only person they care about," she said. "Even if you're on a date they expect you to drop everything for them."
You feel responsible for them
Even though they're acting unreasonably, toxic people are skilled at making people feel bad for them.
"You have this sense of support like you're a lighthouse for them, and if you collapse, they'll collapse," she said. "If you decide to spend your time with somebody else, what if they do something bad? If you don't answer them, what if they hurt themselves?'
While they make you feel bad for not making enough time for them, toxic people won't ever feel bad for letting you down. But because they're so irrational and dramatic, you'll let them get away with it as you don't want to set them off.
"They might owe you money and pretend they never owed you, and rewrite history," Neo said. "So you may feel irritated and angry, but because you don't want to trigger them and their difficulties, so you take a step back."
They lie to get sympathy
Toxic people always have a sad backstory. They'll probably tell tales of how they're an alcoholic, have a drug problem, were abused when they were young, or how everything goes wrong for them. "Woe is me" is their catchphrase.
You're always set up for failure
Putting on public displays of drama are a toxic person's favourite activity. If you haven't done anything obvious towards them in a while, they might set you up for failure. For example, they could say you promised to go to the cinema with them and you stood them up, when that conversation never happened.
You'll feel something is wrong
"You can not figure out what the hell is going on," Neo said. "Your brain runs over time, and your mental energy is being sucked out by this person all the time. You don't only feel responsible, you feel destabilized around them. Some people make the room feel a bit funny. Your body is a barometer telling you that they're trouble."
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