11 Signs Your Friend Is Actually Your Frenemy
Read this expert advice and take a quiz to determine if your friendship is healthy or toxic.
Friendships, like any relationship, can be hard work. When you’re close to someone, you experience life’s many highs and lows alongside them, which inevitably will include heightened emotions, arguments, and some rough patches in the relationship along the way. However, at the end of the day, a good friendship should still feel, well, good. Even though every friendship will have some moments of difficulty, it’s important to notice the difference between some bumps in the road and a friendship that is more toxic than it is healthy.
As Lisa Siclari, a licensed mental health counselor at Humantold tells HelloGiggles, healthy friendships aren’t just good to have, they’re necessary. “Healthy friendships are critical to our development as individuals as well as our survival as human beings,” Siclari says, adding that “it is vital to surround ourselves with supportive people to share life’s ups and downs.” A toxic friendship, on the other hand, can hold us back and keep us from accessing the emotional support we need and deserve.
Though the differences between a healthy friendship and a toxic one are like night and day, Siclari says it’s common to miss the signs when you’re inside the relationship. So, keep reading for signs that your friend is actually your frenemy and take the quiz to find out if your friendship is solid and healthy, or if you might need to move on.
Signs of a toxic friendship:
1. You’re constantly fighting or running into conflict.
This may seem like an obvious signifier of a toxic friendship, but there’s a difference between healthy and unhealthy arguments. “When we are in a healthy friendship, we can have disagreements, differences of opinions, and opposing views and values and not feel attacked or judged or stupid,” Siclari says. In a toxic friendship, arguments will feel much more personal, malicious, and unproductive.
2. You don’t feel excited to see them.
Alyssa Mairanz, a licensed mental health counselor at Empower your Mind Therapy, says another sign that you’re in a toxic friendship is if you feel dread when you get a message from them or have plans to see them. This could indicate that the friendship is stifling you more than it is serving you.
3. They tell your secrets to others.
Trust is an important part of a healthy friendship, and a friend who tells others things that you’ve told them in confidence is violating that trust. Mairanz also says to look out for friends who are “constantly telling you ‘secrets’ about other people,” as this can be a sign that they are doing the same with the personal things you’ve shared with them. In a healthy friendship, you should feel comfortable sharing vulnerable information and knowing that your friend will meet you with compassion and respect for the sensitivity of whatever you shared.
“Do you feel like judgment is being placed upon you when you open up about your feelings or something going on in your life?” Siclari says. “If you can’t rely on a friend to keep something between you and not criticize you, then these are examples of an unhealthy relationship that lacks essential trust.”This quiz has now ended.
Friendship breakups can be extremely painful and it can be hard to know when to call it quits even when things get bad. Mairanz asserts how important it is to just listen to your gut. “As adults, we get to decide who we want to give our energy to, and often, if we tap into what we are feeling, we know what we want to do,” she says. “A good way to determine whether or not it’s best to move on is to: evaluate what you can do more effectively in the friendship to make it a healthier and supportive relationship, communicate your needs, and then see how they react.” If the friend is open to hearing your feedback and respond well, then it may be worth working to repair the relationship. However, “if they respond defensively and don’t acknowledge their part in things, it is likely better to move on as they are not capable of giving you what you need and deserve,” Mairanz says.
If you’re interested in trying to mend the relationship but aren’t quite sure how to do it on your own, it might be worth considering friendship therapy. No matter what you decide, just remember that you deserve to surround yourself with people who love and support you.