9 Signs Your Friendship Is Toxic

by Isadora Baum, CHC

It's good to have a network of friends to look to, but only if it's a group of supportive, loving peers. Sometimes friendships can go sour, and if you notice signs your friendship is toxic, and it's affecting how you feel about yourself and your lifestyle, it could be problematic later on. Being around people that make you feel small and insecure can negatively impact how you approach other relationships, your work, and your own personal choices. It's best to socialize with happier, more positive people for better energy and stability.

As a certified health coach, I work with clients on boosting their self-confidence, and often a disappointing, toxic friend group can be to blame for poor body image and lifestyle choices. If you're around fun-loving, supportive people, you're more likely to feel optimistic about your life outcomes, abilities, and image. Noticing when you're in a toxic relationship, and putting an end to it stat, can help you find healthier outlets to boost wellbeing and happiness. While it might be hard to end a friendship, sometimes it's a necessity. Here are 9 signs your friendships are toxic, and it's best to terminate the relationship moving forward and to find an alternative network.

1. You Have Greater Anxiety Levels

According to Dana Peters, MA, a life, wellness + recovery coach, over email with Bustle, if you've noticed your anxiety skyrocketing whenever you're around these people, it's time to re-evaluate the friendships. "The 'abuser' in a toxic relationship may subtly set up your relationship so that there is an expectation that you have to be available to her on-demand," says Peters. "You may have a problem saying NO to this faux-friend, which leads to anxiety, stress and even fear when it comes to setting limits," Peters adds.

2. You're Put Down Often

"While they may not call you insulting names to your face, there is often an undermining tone that abusers will take with their submissive counterparts. This could include off-the-cuff, disapproving remarks and comments about your life decisions, such as a current relationship or job," says Peters. "Pay attention to the use of sarcasm in your friendship too, as often times abusers use this as a way to pump up their own ego at your expense," Peters adds.

3. You Don't Feel Satisfied With The Relationship

"To determine where you stand in your relationships, paint a picture of what an ideal friendship would look and feel like. If a current friendship doesn't match this image and feeling, consider redesigning or moving on from the friendship," advises Rosie Guagliardo, Life Designer + CPCC + ACC, InnerBrilliance Coaching over email with Bustle. "You can even guide your friend towards this image you desire. If you feel resistance, you can explain your ideals and how it doesn't seem like you two fit together," Guagliardo adds.

4. You're Pushed Against Your Boundaries

"We all know that controlling relationships are toxic, but when dealing specifically with friendships, that line can be blurred for many of us. Toxic friends often times make the friendship all about them," says Peters. "In other words, they have a difficult time being aware of anyones needs other than their own. If you are worried you are in a toxic friendship, becoming aware of how your friend responds when you set boundaries with them," Peters adds.

5. You Give & Don't Receive

"At the core of all healthy relationships, there must be an ebb and flow between giving and receiving. This doesn't mean that either party should be keeping score of who has been there for what, but there should be a general mindfulness around making sure you both are winning in the relationship," advises Peters. "If you are in need and you notice a pattern of your friend giving excuses or simply disappearing - you may be in a toxic friendship," Peter explains.

6. You Don't Like Yourself

"When you begin thinking and behaving in ways that aren't your image of yourself - it's time to take a look at who you are surrounding yourself with. In toxic friendships, you may find yourself compromising your lifestyle, commitments and values," advises Peters. "Whether you don't feel free to act and do as you please within the friendship or you are put down for your differences by your friend, either are a red flag," Peters adds.

7. You Have Different Values

"You can determine if a friendship is toxic by identifying your values (i.e., what is important to you, not what is important to your friends, family, or society)," advises Guagliardo. "Gauge if your friend has similar values or if this friend disregards and challenges those values. If so, the friendship will feel toxic and not in alignment with your best self," Guagliardo adds.

8. You're Competitive

If you notice you feel super competitive with your friends, to the point where you don't always feel happy for them when they're met with success, or you feel jealous about the way they look, this could be super toxic. Hang out with people who can support one another, unconditionally, for a happier relationship and self-image.

9. You Feel Guilty

If you're always taking the blame for arguments, apologizing to make amends, and feeling guilty for your actions, without any reciprocation, it's definitely an unhealthy friendship that should be broken off. While it might sting, it'll be beneficial long-term, as you'll feel better about yourself each day and not have to deal with such an emotional burden.

If you have any of these struggles in your friendships, it's worth closing the chapter and finding a new circle. Being around those who drain you can hurt your quality of life and health, so nix the tension and find a more supportive group.

Images: Pixabay (10)