Nikki Grey
May 18, 2016 11:41 am
HBO

The importance of solid friendships cannot be overstated. Friends love and support us through life’s challenges and victories; they are our chosen families, the people we want to do life with and vice versa. Not all friendships are equal, however, and some may not even be healthy. Although no one is perfect, some people hurt those around them through their actions and treatment more often than they don’t. Here are a few red flags that your friendship *might be* toxic:

Your friend is too demanding.

It’s great to lean on your friends for support, but when a friend consistently expects you to take care of them in ways they should be able to for themselves — financially, emotionally, or however else — that’s not healthy. Especially if they get angry at you if you aren’t meeting their excessive needs. You shouldn’t be guilt-tripped for having other friends or for spending time on any thing or person other than them.

Your friend is super negative.

Not everything is always going to be good in your friends’ lives, or anyone else’s for that matter, but when a pal tends to constantly focus on the negative, it can be a real downer. Whether this friend complains incessantly about everything — from the weather to their job —  or if they puts themselves, other friends, or even you down, this friend seems to look at life as a glass- half-empty kind of situation.

You can’t trust them.

If this person can’t be trusted to keep secrets, to have your back when you need them, or tends to only be your pal when they want something from you, it’s a sign that the friendship is one-sided.

You feel worse in anticipation of seeing them, or after a hang-out.

Do you dread meeting up with or talking to this pal? Do you breathe a sigh of relief when they cancel plans or leave town? Maybe you and this friend fight more than you get along. Maybe the conversations and activities you do together seem to be mostly about them or what they want to do. Or maybe you don’t like the person you become when you are around this friend — the things you say, how you act, etc. If you aren’t being yourself consistently when you’re around this person, it’s a red flag.

A toxic friend could treat you well, on the other hand, but break the law or otherwise endanger you by their risky behavior. They may care about you a great deal, but they shouldn’t put you in a position where your well-being or safety suffers.

Your friends and family don’t like them.

Our loved ones are not always going to mesh with each other — no big deal. It happens. But if one person tends to rub several people the wrong way, it’s probably more than just differing personalities. If you friend badmouths or is rude or disrespectful to the important people in your life (or anyone else, for that matter), that’s not cool.

If you have a friend who personifies the word “difficult” or brings drama up in your life time and time again, they are probably a toxic friend. How you choose to deal with this friend is up to you and likely depends on how significant a role they have played in your life. You don’t necessarily have to kick this pal to the curve, but you may want to sit them down to talk about some of your concerns about the way they treat you or others. People make mistakes, and if they are willing to try to work to make some necessary changes, that’s great. If not, you might want to seriously ask yourself if this toxic friend is really a friend at all.

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