20 Signs of a Toxic Friend: How to Avoid an Unhealthy Friendship

Toxic friend signs
Photo by Johanna Buguet

Friends are good to have. It’s great to care for your friends and be cared for by them.

Having friends by our side who are ready to help and support us gives us the confidence to go on in life no matter what it throws at us. We enjoy sharing the laughter with them; we are relieved when they voluntarily share our pain.

However, not all friends are the same. No matter how kind and smart you are, you will always encounter toxic friends who will disappoint you over and over again. An unhealthy friendship will cause you tremendous stress. They will ruin your peace and joy in life. They will drain your energy and hinder you to achieve your goals and dreams.

Therefore, it is best to choose who will be your friends are. Even the scriptures have warned us several times to associate only with good friends to protect our characters and our lives.

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” – Proverbs 13:20 KJV

“A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” – Proverbs 12:26 NIV

“Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” – Proverbs 22:24-25 KJV

Be cautious in choosing your friends and companions in life. Here are 20 warning signs of a toxic friend to help you avoid an unhealthy friendship and make your life grow healthier and happier.

1. They are easily angered.
They get easily mad over the things you say or do even if they don’t have to. They cannot take even the lightest jokes that are meant to make your company happy and lively. They are a drama queen or king. Thus, they like to fight over petty things and make it persist for days, weeks, or even months.

2. They lack empathy.
A toxic friend doesn’t feel what you feel. They may tell you that they care about you but their actions tell otherwise. This is because they don’t understand your feelings of pain. They will continue to hurt and disappoint you because they cannot feel your broken heart.

3. They lack compassion.
Compassion is greater than empathy. When you have the compassion to your friends, you don’t just feel what they feel (like their sadness and heartaches), but you also do something to relieve those painful feelings. Toxic friends who don’t have empathy can never have compassion.

ALSO READ: What’s the Difference between Sympathy, Empathy, and Compassion?

4. They are selfish.
They lack empathy and compassion because they only think of themselves and only concern about their own feelings, not of others. Their selfishness makes them overprotective of themselves that they will attack you, unleash their wrath upon you, and forget the value of your friendship if they think you have made a mistake.

5. They are full of pride.
They will hardly forgive you when you apologize even for your small mistakes. And when they are the ones who make a mistake, they will not admit it and will never apologize for it. You cannot feel their humility but only pride in their hearts.

6. They will always make you feel guilty.
They will defend themselves and cover up their mistakes by throwing the blame on you. They can hurt and allow themselves to suffer just to make you feel guilty.

7. They are a denial queen or king.
They do not accept reality. They will continue to live in delusion and reject the truth even if there are already people who are hurting. Because they cannot accept the truth, they do not bother to lie and deny anything just to defend themselves and keep their illusions.

8. They think they know-it-all.
You cannot have a healthy conversation with a toxic friend because he or she will always think that you are wrong and he or she is always correct. Oftentimes, you will be annoyed because they will always talk as if they know everything in this world. They are self-righteous. You will be forced to just shut up to avoid hurting their ego.

ALSO READ: 20 Ways to Be a Good Friend

9. They are only interested in themselves.
They will not be interested to listen to your stories. They will always interrupt you when you talk about your life’s stories just to insert their own stories and let you know that theirs are better than yours.

10. They are untrustworthy.
You cannot trust them to keep your secrets. They will embarrass you and destroy the honor and dignity you have been protecting for many years.

11. They are disloyal.
They will pose as your friends but they will actually side with your enemies or the people who are trying to hurt you. They will help your enemies win their fights against you instead of helping you to stop the conflict and promote peace.

ALSO READ: How to Know if a Friend is Only Using You and What to Do About It

12. They stab you at the back.
They say good things about you when they talk face-to-face with you. However, they tell the opposite when you turn your back at them or when they talk with other people in your absence.

13. They are envious of your achievements.
A toxic friend treats you as a competitor. Hence, when they see that you are getting more successful than them, whether in your career, business, or romantic relationship, they will feel envious and insecure. They will feel bitter towards you instead of being happy to see you happy.

14. They hate your loved ones.
They will tell you that they care for you. They will tell you that they love you as a friend. However, they will hate your spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, parents, other friends, or other people that are close to your heart. They will hate the people who share with them in your heart. In other words, their love for you is impure and inconsistent.

15. They don’t value your friendship.
They will not make peace with you and make efforts to fix your friendship when your relationship as friends is in trouble. They will forget the good things and happy moments that ever happened in years of your friendship just to protect their ego and pride.

16. They don’t want to sacrifice a thing to save your friendship.
They are not willing to sacrifice something to save your friendship. They are not willing to sacrifice their pride to rekindle the relationship. They would rather let the friendship be gone rather than see themselves giving up their selfish pride.

ALSO READ: 10 Ways to Keep Your Friends Forever

17. They don’t like to change for the better.
They are not willing to change and be a better person. They don’t listen to anyone’s advice, even the pieces of advice that their parents give. When you try to counsel them, their ears close and they even get mad at you. But watch out, they are fond of giving you unsolicited advice and telling you what to do as if they are your mom.

18. They are proud of their wrongdoings.
They are proud to tell you how they unleash their wrath upon their former friends and never give them the chance to save the former relationship. They are proud to tell you how they kept their ego and beat their ex-friends.

19. They exhaust your patience.
Despite the continued humility, forgiveness, and understanding you are showing to them, they still keep on disappointing you, over and over again. They will say sorry, they will promise to not do the same mistakes again, but later on, they will hurt you again.

20. They are already corrupting your character.
Because of their unending pride and selfishness, you struggle to get along with them. The relationship is already becoming unhealthy and toxic. Your patience is already at its lowest level. The environment is already influencing you to hate back and stop being kind.

What to do when you suspect a friend to be toxic

If you are reading this article, the first thing you should do is to have a self-reflection. Don’t jump into assessing if your friends have the signs above. Instead, start with yourself. Be humble and ask yourself if you have been a toxic friend to your friends. Evaluate yourself if you have the signs above. If you realize that it’s actually you who is being the toxic one, do your best to change and be a better friend. Have the courage and talk to them. Be humble and apologize to your friends for your wrongs and shortcomings.

Now, if it’s not you who is the toxic one, and you have suspected a friend to be the one, don’t just remove them from your life instantly. It might be that you are wrong with your assumption. The best thing to do is to find a time where your mind is clear and your heart is calm. And when you find that time, talk to that friend, ask him or her if your assumptions are true. Whether they will give you honest or deceiving answers, you will be provided with more information that will help you make the right decision.

If you are convinced that a friend is toxic, and he or she is not willing to change, then it would be wise to follow what the Scriptures say – do not make friend with such a toxic person.

ALSO READ: 10 Awesome Signs Your Friend is Worth Keeping

Victorino Q. Abrugar
Vic is the founder of InspiringTips.com. He regularly writes for the site and also serves as its digital marketing strategist. Vic likes to talk about true love, meaningful life, quantum physics, spiritual growth, and more.

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