Breaking up isn’t just for lovers. If you’ve got toxic friends, parting ways could be the healthiest thing for you. Here are some red flags to watch out for.
You keep good news to yourself
Are you hesitant to tell her about your new boyfriend? Hide the fact that you got a promotion, new house, or other good news? You may be covering up your happiness since your toxic friends are jealous, envious, competitive, or negative when you experience successes and accomplishments. “Pay attention to those little nudges you get emotionally, the ones that make you pause before sharing good news with a friend,” says Cherie Burbach, author of Art and Faith: Mixed Media Art With a Faith-Filled Message, who specializes in relationships and helping people connect. “If you hate to bring it up for fear she’ll put you down or make a snarky comment, then why would you want this person as a friend?” A good friend should be someone who can share in your excitement. Your relationship will suffer if you don’t have that level of open communication.
You never have a chance to speak
You start to tell her about a fabulous new restaurant. Then she tells you about the new restaurant she went to last night, how the food was awful and on and on. She only wants to talk about herself and hijacks all conversations. But when it’s your turn to speak, she barely listens to what you’re saying. “This is someone who doesn’t understand that friendships are reciprocal,” says Burbach. An occasional venting session where you’re the sounding board is normal. But a real friend should listen to you—even if she can’t help steer the conversation to herself—and pay attention to what you have to say. “Toxic friends tend to be very self-focused,” says relationship expert Andrea Syrtash, author of He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s a Good Thing). “If you find that your friend isn’t very interested in your life, pay attention to this dynamic. Friendship should be a two-way street.” Here are some facts that prove (good) friends are healthy for us.
You feel like you’re in a fishbowl
Why did you wear that? Why did you have her family over for dinner? Why did you buy that gift? If your toxic friends are constantly judging your decisions and your opinions, they’re disrespecting your values. Your friend shouldn’t want you to be more like her. “People want to be challenged—not changed,” says Syrtash. “It’s OK for friends to challenge us in a supportive way. But when they judge you, they’re imposing their own values onto you instead of acknowledging your needs and values.”