5 warning signs you’re in a toxic friendship

We’ve all had a friend that grates on your patience, gets on your nerves and rocks your overall sanity.

But how do you know when you’re just going through a rough patch with a pal, or your friendship is veering into toxic territory?

While having a bestie is important for providing good times during life’s ups and downs, some friends may actually be more harmful than they are helpful.

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Here are a few key signs your brunch partner is turning into a toxic friend, even if you haven’t realised it yet.

1. They don’t have time for your problems

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When there’s something going wrong in their life, your phone blows up throughout the day with strings of WhatsApp messages demanding your sympathy and advice. They expect you to be on speed dial with a shoulder to cry on when they’re arguing with their partner or their parcel doesn’t arrive on next day delivery. But when you’re going through a tough time, this friend is nowhere to be seen. They may be dismissive of your feelings, say they don’t have time to talk to you right now, or even worse, ignore you altogether.

2. They unnecessarily point out your flaws

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While it’s great to be frank with your friends when they ask for your honest advice, some friends can become overly critical for no good reason. Hanging out with a fault-finder can be extremely damaging to your self-esteem, not to mention embarrassing if they constantly critique you in public. If you’re scared to tell them about your problems because they’ll point out everything you did wrong to cause them, it’s a sign you need to put the friendship on ice.

3. They don’t support your life goals

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A good friend will celebrate your achievements, give you a boost when you’re lacking in confidence and push you to achieve your goals. A toxic friend will try to drag you down for their benefit. They may belittle your pay rise, talk you out of putting yourself forward for a promotion, or even try to sabotage your hopes and dreams out of jealousy.

4. They make you feel drained

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Everyone goes through difficult times in life, and while it’s good to be a shoulder to cry on when close friends need it, there should be a healthy balance in place. If you repeatedly dread meeting up with a friend because you know they’re going to spend the entire time putting a negative dampener on things, ask yourself honestly whether you are actually benefiting from spending time with them.

5. You can’t be yourself around them

Have you changed to please a friend? (Thinkstock/PA)

Just like romantic relationships, friendships can make you feel like you have to change to please somebody else. If you’re constantly walking on eggshells, have to filter your conversation around them or you’ve changed your appearance to fit in with what they perceive to be ‘cool’, it’s time to take a step back. A true friend will accept you for who you are and won’t pressure you to change superficial things about yourself.

When a friendship runs beyond repair, you’ll likely spend a period of time grieving for its loss, but give it time and you’ll soon find a new confidence. While breaking up is never easy, just like a bad relationship – you’ll probably feel better in the long run.

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