Our friends are some of the most important people in our lives - so if you have a toxic friend kicking around, it can really drag you down.

Not just because they are fun to hang out with, but because they occupy a sensitive position in our lives. Friends are great determinants of the quality of our lives. If our friendships are rich and giving, our lives are made better by having them.

If you have a toxic friend or two though, the negativity and ill intention can really pull you down in your own life. 



Why Are Friendships so Special? 

One can be born without a family and may stay years without a lover, and still go on to lead a very pleasant and fulfilling life as long as their friends are great. But not so much can be gotten out of life without good friends.  

And this is because of the very nature of "friendship"; unlike family where you can feel bound by blood, friends exist because of mutual interest and love for each other. And, unlike romantic relationships which require intimacy and other forms of bonding, friendship exists without constraints.      

That is, unlike family, you are not forced to be friends because you have the same DNA, and unlike a romantic partner, you’re not bound by law (i.e. marriage), but simply because of mutual love and respect. 

And it is because of this realization that your friends are there for you by choice. It makes friendships a perfect net to fall back to when things aren't going so well in the family or romantic relationship department.

Friendships are one of the most important and influential relationships we can have throughout our lives. Hence that relationship must be real and not fake.      



21 Signs You Are Dealing With a Fake and Toxic Friend

There’s no denying that a true friend is someone who understands, supports, and remains loyal to you no matter the circumstance. Fake friends lack those three essential qualities, hence, a fake friend would:

1. They Compete With You.

While it is good to hang around people who push you to be more, it becomes problematic when they are constantly trying to outdo you. When they're always trying to steal the spotlight, to out-dress you, or even rival your opinions and ideas (rather than complement them).


2. They Gossip About You.

Fake/toxic friends spread sensitive (and sometimes false) information about you behind your back.

And while it may be hard to detect at first, you should make it a point to note which friend you told what.


3. They Talk You Down.

Perhaps out of jealousy, or in an attempt to soothe their bruised ego, toxic friends would say hurtful things to you without caring much about how you feel. A real friend should be trying to build you up and be a champion for you. 


4. They Downplay Your Success.

To them, your accomplishments will always seem trivial; they make it seem as though getting a Ph.D., buying a car, or getting married was petty and insignificant.


5. They Criticize You.

Even when you do a great job, a toxic friend will find ways to poke holes and ridicule your work – their criticism can be destructive and disempowering.


6. They Judge You Harshly When You Falter.

They can torture you about your insecurities, mistakes or poor judgments.

In fact, they may even rejoice at the opportunity to do this because they want to see you suffer.


7. They Get Jealous.

They become green with envy when they can't get what you have.


8. They Hold Grudges.

And when you have wronged them, they never forgive, nor forget. They seem to keep scoreboards and constantly remind you of this or that.


9. They Abandon You in Times of Need.

Toxic friends don't care about what you’re going through and leave you whenever you need them the most.


10. They Drain Your Energy.

After you spend time with them, it feels like the life has been sucked out of you. A toxic friend will exhaust and frustrate you, rather than excite and comfort you.


11. They Fight With You.

This could be physical or verbal, or even a combination of both. 


12. They are Disrespect and Lie To You.

They couldn’t care less about your feelings and with their envy comes disrespect and lies.


13. They Stay Detached & Self-Absorbed.

Fake friends tend to make little or no attempt to get closer to you and know you more.

Even if they do, they can bore you to tears with endless rambling about themselves. In fact, fake friends don’t care about the friendship. They don’t care if the relationship ends or continues. 


14. They Associate With People of Questionable Character.

Seldom do well-cultured people associate with hoodlums; hence, having a friend who has friends that you wouldn’t associate with is a serious red flag.


15. They Get Jealous of Your Other Friends.

This shows neediness and lack of self-worth.


16. They are Hypocritical.

While they judge you harshly for your wrongdoings, they won’t feel remorse for, or even acknowledge their own mistakes and shortcomings. 


17. They Undermine Your Boundaries.

They either interfere too much in your personal life, or they want you to bear their responsibilities and become miserable just like them.


18. They Won’t Defend You – Either in Your Presence or Absence

They may even share your secrets and stab you behind your back.


19. They Gaslight You.

They will find nasty ways to make you feel paranoid, or that you're overreacting.


20. They Use You.

This could be for emotional and/or financial support,  or they simply seek to benefit from your connection and influence alone.  


21. Your Gut Tells You Something is Off.

If a friendship doesn’t feel like a safe space, perhaps it isn’t friendship.

Maybe you should be more honest with yourself and the individual and reevaluate things.


Are you ready to break up with a toxic person in your life? Here's how: Tips For Lovingly Detaching From Toxic People



Do You Have a Toxic Friend in Your Life? 

Long story short: a healthy friendship all boils down to healthy individuals.

If your self-esteem is okay, and you love yourself and have a clear vision for yourself, you will naturally feel irritated by dishonest, two-faced backstabbers. 

This is why you must cultivate self-love, and also trust your guts and instincts.

A good friend should make you feel relaxed and like you can lower your guard. They will not keep you on your toes and make you anxious. In general, if you can't trust them (and their intentions), or dread being around them, it might be time to reevaluate things or end it all.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published July 22nd, 2021 and has been update to provide new information and better user experience. 

Photo by Keira Burton