Women are sharing how they figured out their friendship group was toxic

The Editors
·6-min read

From Cosmopolitan

Toxic friends can be a real drain on your life and your emotions. When it comes to romantic relationships, there are certain expectations and boundaries that can sometimes make it easier to tell if they're unhealthy. But with friendships, how can you know whether someone is actually toxic for you, or just being a bit of a crap friend? And what if you're in a friendship group and think the entire gang could be toxic? How do you know?

Women who've had toxic friends in the past took to Reddit to share the warning signs to look our for individual friends and entire friendship groups.

Toxic friends

Signs of toxic friends and friendship groups

1. "A simple rule: If they drain me, then they're toxic. A simple question: Do they make me feel safe, or do they make me feel unnerved? If they unnerve me, then they're toxic." [via]

2. "When you know what’s going on their life - problems and all - but they don’t know shit about your own." [via]

Photo credit: Anchiy
Photo credit: Anchiy

3. "If they leave you feeling drained or anxious. If you feel like to have to watch what you say or do in fear of upsetting them. You dread seeing them or talking to them." [via]

4. "They’re overly competitive and constantly gossiping about one another. They also claim to be really nice and inviting at first and I’ve noticed they say stuff like, 'It’s not my place to talk about X' and then continue to talk about, 'X'. In my experiences, they used to comment on body image a lot too, especially by projecting their insecurities. I’m in the middle of leaving one right now, and I feel more relief than sadness in doing so." [via]

5. "Are you the one doing all the initiating and planning? Is it always you reaching out to them? If you stopped initiating, would you ever hear from them again? If the friendship is very one-sided (with you doing all or most of the work), move on. Real friends will show an interest in you and reciprocate." [via]

6. "They're toxic if they're inconsiderate of your time. I'm not talking 15-20 minutes late, but anything more than that, or flaking out of plans last minute repeatedly. Not worth your time." [via]

7. "If you don’t feel comfortable enough to confide in them, or if you can never get comfortable around them. When you can’t be yourself without treading lightly and pretending for them." [via]

Photo credit: Ashley Armitage / Refinery29 for Getty Images
Photo credit: Ashley Armitage / Refinery29 for Getty Images

8. "If there's any feelings of the friendships feeling kind of one sided. If they don't check on you and support you through hard times. If they don't actively listen to you. If they mostly talk about themselves and focus on their own issues while hardly addressing any of yours. If you've got any of that it's not worth staying in the group. Your mental health is so much better off without all that." [via]

9. "Separate group chats were major signs I managed to ignore before. Also if they’re saying one thing to you, and another to someone else or you feel like they’re downplaying your feelings: major red flag. Make sure the friendships have consistency!" [via]

10. "If you think to yourself, 'Is so and so toxic?' Or, 'I don't know if blah is good for me,' then that person is toxic. If you're in a healthy relationship, you don't go around wondering if your relationship is abusive. Usually toxic people are very manipulative and make you feel like the crazy one. So any time you question if a relationship you have is healthy, alarm bells should be going off." [via]

11. "If someone disrespects your boundaries and/or makes you feel insecure/anxious, I would consider that a toxic relationship. You should not feel pressured, or like you're walking on eggshells when with an actual friend. Friends should make you feel comfortable, at the very least." [via]

Photo credit: Westend61
Photo credit: Westend61

12. "They’re an 'askhole' aka a person who constantly asks for advice about their sad/messed up life situations— but fail to ever really take any given advice. They just want to vent and hear themselves talk, not make any positive actions toward change." [via]

13. "If they make you feel guilty when you hang out with other people who aren't their friends, if they insult you repeatedly, if they disregard your feelings and important conversations, if you don't feel like you can talk to them about your problems but you're always willing to listen to theirs... if being friends with them is more stressful than fun." [via]

14. "If you feel like you're walking on eggshells around them constantly. If you are starting to feel like they are not someone whose actions you can defend." [via]

15. "If they are manipulating you and causing you more negative emotions than positive ones." [via]

16. "Are they trustworthy? If they spend a lot of their time bashing their supposed close friends, know that they will do that exact same thing to you." [via]

Photo credit: Caroline Tompkins / Refinery29 for Getty Images
Photo credit: Caroline Tompkins / Refinery29 for Getty Images

17. "When they know more about your life than you do theirs. I broke it off with a friend of mine for many months (she's seeing a therapist now and working to fix her toxic behaviour, and apologising to me was part of her recovery process so I'm giving her another chance) because I realised after two years she knew all the intimate details of my personal life and I didn't know shit. Because even when I asked she was vague. She didn't even tell me when she moved." [via]

18. "They act like friends but gossip about each other behind their backs, especially when one is having a crisis." [via]

19. "When they trash each other behind their backs. If they're doing it to others, they're doing it to you." [via]

20. "Your main activity is throwing shade on other people. I was once part of a toxic group for about a week when I was on a training course. I noped out when they spent an evening trolling Tinder sending abusive messages to random guys." [via]

21. "Mostly they will trash talk others or find ways to insult or put someone down. And secretly want what the other person has just because they want to be competitive, trying to ruin something good for some other girl. Only thing to do is to cut off all contacts with them, they aren't worth it." [via]

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