I once read that if a friendship lasts over 7 years, then it’ll last a lifetime. I read it on the internet though and we all know that it’s wiiiiild there! Everyone always talks about the red flags that you see in dating. They’re weird with their phone, they only talk about themselves, they keep comparing you to their ex… you know the drill. But wait! What about the friendship red flags? That’s a relationship too! In fact, why do we even say boyfriend or girlfriend if we’re not going to acknowledge that there should be friendly aspects to a romantic relationship? Breaking up with someone you love is hard to do, but what about when that love in platonic or almost familial? Those relationships can become toxic environments too. So today, we’ll be presenting you with 10 signs your friendship is as toxic as the Breaking Bad RV…
It’s one sided
Many friendships have traditions. Maybe when you hang out, you always get the first round because you lost a bet. Or you always spend Halloween together. It’s one thing to have quirks like this, it’s another if something inconvenient has become the norm and is making your friendship uncomfortable. Need examples? When you’re always the one who has to call or come up with a plan. You always buy rounds and they never offer to pay you back. When it comes to advice, you’re their go to, but when you have an issue they’re nowhere to be found.
Think of friendship as a literal ship. Both of you have to row to push it forward. If this is a problem that you’re having with a friend, there are options. Talk it out with them. Perhaps they don’t realise. When people become used to certain behaviour, it just becomes the norm. Especially true if they don’t hear any complaints from you about it. Remember that no one is a mind reader (that we know of! Cue the X-files music…) If talking hasn’t worked? It may be time to start thinking about how much more you’re willing to accept…
You feel like they’re always competing with you
Let’s be honest, doesn’t everything feel like a competition nowadays? Everyone wants to be living their #bestlife, but whose is really the best if we’re all using that hashtag? The last place you want to go and face competition is with your friends. Would you feel comfortable with someone constantly trying to outdo you? If this sounds like an all too familiar trope to you, then you have a super competitive friend on your hands.
There’s a huge difference between someone asking about your general wellbeing because they care and someone asking about your wellbeing, only so they can boast about their own. It can even go as far as you telling them your problems and them trying to one up you in that area too. It’s unhealthy. Friendship should be about trust and support. It’s not about one person doing better than the other, it’s about being there for each other regardless. Fundamental parts of a true friendship. Such competition can only cause a tense environment and no one wants that.
You’re constantly making excuses for their behaviour
I’m sure we’ve all had that one friend that we all make excuses for. They’re always extremely late, never pay for anything, cancel plans and regularly double-book or even ditch you altogether. If you find yourself complaining about a friend and finishing it with “but they’re a nice person, honest!” ask yourself who you’re really trying to convince here?
Sure, as humans we all go through rough patches. However, if you have a friend whose behaviour you always have an excuse for, is it even a rough patch anymore? Someone’s negative personality traits should not excuse them from acting respectfully. I feel that people often find that if they’ve been friends with someone for a while, they can get away with any behaviour. After all, they’ve been around this long, right? Wrong. Friendship needs respect to survive. So, stop defending them and question them instead!
You’re emotionally drained after spending time with them
After spending a good time out with some friends, you may be tired. It’s a lot of excitement and energy when the #squad gets together! However, feeling emotional drained after every hang out? Not normal! Feeling like you’re always giving and rarely supported in the same way is tiring. If you start dreading meeting up, knowing that you don’t enjoy the time anymore, then it’s already toxic.
Maybe it’s their outlook on life. Perhaps they’re self-centred or superficial. Possibly they just bring you down. Whatever the reason, hanging with them makes you feel miserable and leaves you questioning what is really keeping this friendship going? It’s near impossible to be positive all the time, but surround yourself with people who make you feel good. That should be a given.
They’re always negative
Such a clean segue to this topic! (high fives self, realises that’s a clap, bows head in shame…) Anyway, negativity! It’s a place we’ve all frequented from time to time. If life is a rollercoaster, it is almost impossible to find yourself on firm footing throughout. However, these periods are not forever. Your outlook will always change, like the weather (that’s for you UK folk!) However, constant negativity is like constant rain, abysmal.
No one wants to be the person who is constantly trying to convince a negative person of silver linings. It all comes back to balance again. You have to take turns convincing each other. Constant negativity means that soon that’ll become your mindset too! Someone who is always in this mindset, will find issue with everything! Even when they’ve gotten what they wanted, they’ll still find issue. It’s unhealthy for them AND you. No one wants to be with someone who never spots a rainbow after the storm (an original wisdom from yours truly… I think.)
They pressure you to do things you aren’t comfortable with
Peer pressure is not just for secondary school (or high school, hi USA…) ladies and gentlemen! That shiz can follow you to adulthood too. The right to say no to anything that you’re uncomfortable with extends to everything and everyone. Just because they’re your friend, doesn’t mean you can’t say no. A friend would never try and force you to do something that is clearly making you uncomfortable. They would accept your answer as a no, try to understand where you’re coming from and then move on.
If someone is persistently trying to make you into someone you’re not, then do they really see you? Yes, as much as friends support us, they should challenge us too. They help us grow, but being challenged and being made to do unnecessarily, uncomfortable things that go against your core? There’s a line that needs to be acknowledged. Friends are the family that you choose, so you should feel at ease around them.
You feel like you can’t be yourself
We can all feel like we’re putting on a front. Maybe we have our work persona. Possibly we have our first impression persona when we’re on our best behaviour (aka. not at all our normal behaviour.) Even with family, you might have a persona that hides your ‘party side’. One place where you shouldn’t need a persona and should feel like your most authentic self? With your friends.
If you don’t feel like you can be yourself with them, what’s the point? Friends are meant to love you for you. If you feel like they won’t, it’s one of two things. Either you need to change how you view yourself or your friends have created an environment where they’ve been trying to change you. Either way, both need to be addressed. If it’s the latter, time to rethink the people you’re surrounding yourself with.
They always ask, but never give
Ever heard of the word askhole? No, that’s not a spelling mistake! It’s a real thing! It’s when someone asks but rarely (if ever) gives. They’ll always take from you, but when you need something? They’re not having it. Sure, friendship isn’t about doing something for someone so they’ll owe you. You do it just because you want to. That is something that shouldn’t be taken advantage of.
Just because someone is kind to you, doesn’t mean you never have to do the same back. I’m about to get biblical on you guys (even if you’re not religious, this at least is good advice to live by.) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Essentially, treat others how you would like to be treated. No one wants to be taken advantage of, so don’t do it to someone else.
You can’t trust them
Trust is everything. Everything! It’s hard to gain, even more difficult to build back. It’s the foundation for pretty much every relationship type out there. If you can’t trust a friend with your secrets or thoughts, then there’s nothing to be done. There are unspoken rules in friendships too. It’s not just a matter of you having to say ‘don’t tell anyone!’ Trust is behavioural too.
There’s also a matter of if you have a fight. It’s perfectly normal to have disagreements, no one always agrees with someone. However, in that time, if you worry about them betraying your trust or using things you’ve told them in private as a way to gain the upper hand in a fight? That’s unacceptable. A friend who would stoop to that level is no friend at all.
They dump you as soon as they start dating someone new
Last, but not least, as soon as they get a romantic partner they forget you exist. Yes, everyone has their honeymoon period where all they see is their partner. However, once the honeymoon period is over, if they’ve still forgotten about you, only remembering you when their partner is out of town or cancels on them? Not cool! Friends are not placeholders until you fall in love. You can be in love and still be a good friend!
Yes, your relationship will be a big part of your life, but it’s unhealthy if it’s the only one. You’ll naturally see friends a little less, but that shouldn’t become not at all. Side note, if you’re guilty of this behaviour and a friend brings it up, hear them out first. Don’t immediately get defensive or accuse them of jealously without listening first. If more than one person brings it up, it’s probably time to accept you are that person…
So, there you have it! 10 signs your friendship is as toxic as the Breaking Bad RV. This list is not to say that your friendships can’t be saved. Once you’ve identified the problems, that’s the first step. Depending on where you’re at, you can either decide to work through it or call it a day. It’s not easy to end a friendship but if you can talk it out first, I would recommend it. Being ghosted by a date is one thing, but being ghosted by a friend over something that could’ve been easily resolved? Infinitely worse. Who knows? You may have come out the other side stronger…
By Jordan Enaboifo