Six signs your friends are toxic for you

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Monday 19 September 2016 10:30
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These are six signs that psychologists and relationship experts say you should watch out for to spot a toxic friend.

If you're friends are toxic, but not good toxic like Britney 'Toxic' (2003) then you need to chuck them.

It sounds brutal, but just as owners come to resemble to their dogs, a persistently negative or cruel friend can very quickly turn you into a negative and cruel person.

1. They constantly criticise you

Writing for Psychology Today Ann Smith, the author of several books on relationships, says that while some criticism and playful jibes are healthy, a constant stream of criticism is a sign of a bad friend.

They might be doing this to make themselves feel better by contrast, or in an effort to make you feel dependent on them.

Smith has this advice for people in this situation:

Speak up, tell your friend you want to be treated with respect, and if it is a person you would like to keep around, give him or her time to change. If the response to your request is more criticism, move on

Put another way:

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2. They try to isolate you from other friends

Suzanne Degges-White, the author of Toxic Friendships: Knowing the Rules and Dealing with the Friends Who Break Them warns that a toxic friend is one who is possessive, and makes you feel guilty for spending time with other people.

This is is probably because minimising your access to others will minimise the risk of you leaving.

Degges-White, writing for Psychology Today claimed that toxic friends will isolate you by bad mouthing your other friends and romantic partners - it's all about making you dependent on them.

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3. They drain you

They constantly need care and your full attention. Dr Jane Bluestein, one of the authors of High School's Not Forever a guide to surviving the social pitfalls of school, argues that good friends do not leave you feeling drained and agitated.

You might be putting up with it out of loyalty, or because you've known the person for a long time, and also its nice to feel needed.

A toxic friend is self centred - when was the last time they asked how your job was going? Or if your relative had recovered? Or anything that wasn't about them?

If it's a one way street it's time to recognise it's an unhealthy friendship.

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4. They never call you

This isn't to suggest your friends are never allowed to be busy, but a toxic friend is one who uses you as a last resort.

According to Susan Heitler, a psychologist and author, a sign of a toxic friend is one who never makes plans with you, or gets in touch to find out how you are.

Heitler explains:

Relationships get toxic when the other person isn’t as invested in you as you are in them

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5. They don't keep your secrets

Spilling your secrets is a clear sign that they're untrustworthy, and trust is an important part of any relationship, whether its platonic or romantic.

A friend who doesn't keep your secrets is not someone who supports you, or even values your opinion of them.

According to Psychology Today, this is a tell-tale sign.

If you feel like you're a placeholder, and they can use gossip worthy information about you in order to curry favour with new friends, maybe a re-think is needed.

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6. They're unwilling to change

And they definitely don't want you to change either.

According to LifeHack.org, a toxic friend is one who never wants to grow, and wants nothing about their relationship with you to change.

Changing your life, whether its moving house, a new job, a new relationship or even growing apart from some friends, is natural progression.

A bad friend is one who wants everything to remain the same, and for you to put your life on hold to maintain that status quo.

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The common theme to all of these is a mediocre person, who tries to make other people reliant on them, and doesn't value you as their friend.

In case we haven't been clear, our advice is to shut it down.

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