Signs You Need To Let Go Of A Toxic Friendship

by Raven Ishak

No matter how long you've known them, saying goodbye to a not-so-great friend is never easy. But instead of ignoring the signs that you need to let go of your toxic friendship, it's time to put yourself first and leave behind something that's possibly weighing you down.

Meeting people and holding onto friendships, especially as you get older, is tough. It sometimes feels impossible to lock in a friendship for a long time because life just simply gets in the way. But even though you may not have a basket full of friends, it doesn't mean you should hang with someone that only brings you down, because that's not a friendship worth keeping. According to Psychology Today, there are two typical red flags that happen when you're hanging with a toxic friend: First, intuitive flashes AKA your gut telling you something is up. The second thing is when toxic external events actually happen, like when your "friend" only hangs out with you when they need something or you find yourself always making excuses for them.

When it comes to friendships, it can seem easier to give them the benefit of the doubt rather than shutting them out of your life completely. But if you find yourself dealing with these two red flags all the time, then it might be time to say goodbye instead of trying to fix a friendship that may already be broken. Not sure if ending your relationship with your friend is the right move to make? Here are 9 signs you need to look out for before you cut all ties with your buddy.

1. You're Constantly Complaining About Them

Why are you wasting your energy on something that's only causing you pain? Sometimes you're not aware of how many times you're actually complaining about a particular person or situation. Keep note of this behavior and if it becomes excessive, it might be time to ditch the friendship. According to the Huffington Post, if you're constantly talking about your toxic friendship issues, you're actually fueling the power they have in your life. If their actions are really bothering you, figure out a way to discuss this with them to find a solution.

2. You Always Feel Stressed Around Them

A friend shouldn't be making you feel constant negative emotions when you're around them. Dealing with someone who makes you feel guilty for not hanging out with them because you have a lot of work, or someone who doesn't respect your wishes, is not the type of friend you need in your life. According to WedMD, Florence Isaacs, author of Toxic Friends/True Friends, said, "Toxic friends stress you out, use you, are unreliable, are overly demanding, and don't give anything back."

3. You're Making Excuses Not To Hang Out With Them

A good friendship should make you feel excited when you know you're about to hang out with them. You shouldn't be thinking of excuses for ways to cancel on them last minute — unless you rather just veg at home watching Netflix, then I get that. According to Real Simple, psychologist and self-help author Dr. Laura Sapadin said, “Friendships are voluntary relationships.”

4. Your Personality Changes For The Worst When You're Around Them

While it may be normal for your personality to slightly change depending on who you're hanging with (i.e. you're probably not going to rage with grandma on a Saturday like you do with your friends), hanging with your buddy shouldn't completely alter your character, especially if you find yourself stooping down to their level. According to Psychology Today, executive director of Breakthrough at Caron Ann Smith said, "When you have an emotional 'growth spurt,' you may find that your oldest friend isn't able to go along with you into a healthier future. They might actually prefer that you keep drinking; advise you to start dating only days after a separation; tell you to leave a relationship when you haven't even tried to work on it; or suggest that plastic surgery would be the solution to your low self-esteem."

5. It's Affecting Your Other Relationships

While this person might be your friend, if their actions are affecting your other relationships in your life for the worst, then it might be time to say goodbye. For instance, if your friend is not considering your boyfriend/girlfriend's feelings in any matter or they're asking you to skip your previous engagements with another friend only because they want to hang out with you, this might be a red flag. According to Romper, your friend might be toxic is they're severely dependent on you and won't allow you to hangout with other people.

6. You're Putting More Effort Into The Friendship

Even though most relationships will never have 100 percent equal scales, both you and your friend's efforts should relativity be the same. Usually your gut is a clear indicator when it comes to this subject, especially if you find your friend always canceling on you last minute or always expecting you to front the bill during happy hour. According to MindBodyGreen, if you're the one that's always reaching out to hang with your friend, it might be time to figure out why that's happening. Just like any other relationship, a friendship needs to be nurtured from both parties for it to work.

7. Your Self-Esteem Is Low

Nothing good comes out of a friendship if the other person is constantly putting you down or never supports you. It's only a matter of time until your self-confidence is going to suffer because your friend is constantly making fun of you or your dreams. "By making the decision to only surround yourself with positive people in your life, you are deciding that your health and well-being are of the utmost importance. When you create a world where you only allow positive people into your inner circle, you create a life with unlimited potential, and a system of support," says psychologist Nicole Martinez Psy.D., LCPC, in an email to Bustle.

8. You Don't Trust Them Anymore

Whether a traumatic event happened or they're constantly being flaky, having a friend who keeps their word is really important. "They make you anxious, they make you feel bad about yourself, they are only concerned with themselves, they don't follow through, and they do not treat you as a friend who is true should," says Martinez.

9. They're Not Bringing Value Into Your Life

This sometimes can be hard to judge because how exactly can you gauge whether a friendship is completely wrong for you or not? Well, according to Elite Daily, simply questioning your happiness with that person should be a clear indicator of how significant they are in your life.

While it's never easy to say goodbye to a friendship, sometimes it's one of the best things you can do for yourself if it's causing more harm than good. If you see that some of these signs are popping up again and again in your friendship, remember that letting go of friendships is for the best — so you can find an actual friend who wants to support you no matter what.

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