U.S. Markets closed

7 Glaring Signs You Need To Break Up With A Toxic Friend

Brittany Wong

Only you can decide if you’ve truly outgrown your friendship, but there are some telltale signs that a relationship may no longer be benefiting you.

Below, therapists from around the country share seven signs you and your bestie may need some time apart. 

1. You do 90 percent of the listening. 

In a good friendship, there’s a give and take. You complain about your least favorite co-worker for the umpteenth time, and in return, you’re always game to hear the play-by-play of their latest Tinder date from hell. It’s a red flag if your friend hijacks the entire conversation, said Joyce Morley, a marriage and family therapist in Decatur, Georgia. 

“If your friend is constantly taking and not giving, at your expense, it might be time to let them go,” she said. “Think of it this way: A friendship should be a reciprocated process, and each of you in the relationship should yield a return.”

2. You never hang out anymore, or you make plans and dread seeing them through. 

Tagging your friend in a meme now and then only goes so far. No matter how busy you are, if you enjoy your friend’s company, scheduling some face time shouldn’t be that hard, said Irene S. Levine, a psychologist and the author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend.

“The signs that it’s time to break up may be subtle, like struggling to schedule get-togethers,” she said. “Pay attention to how you act when you do get together; if you feel uncomfortable and have nothing to say, it may be because you no longer share much in common. Friends often grow in different directions.”

3. You always end up hungover, broke, or facing other consequences after hanging out with them. 

There’s nothing wrong with having a friend who’s down to let loose every once in a while. But if you’re consistently left hungover or in a poorer state than you were before seeing them, it should be cause for alarm. A good friend leaves you feeling recharged and better after spending time together, not totally drained, said Amanda Deverich, a marriage and family therapist in Williamsburg, Virginia. 

“Perhaps they have more resources that cushion their fall,” she said. “But in the long run, this kind of relationship has the potential to bring you down emotionally, financially and physically.”

If your friend is struggling with a substance abuse problem, help them get help.

“If your friend struggles with addiction, borderline, narcissistic or antisocial personality traits, don’t get caught up in their wake of destruction,” Deverich said. “If you love them, lend them your support.”

4. You don’t feel comfortable sharing with them anymore.

Depending on your level of closeness and how much trust you’ve built up over the years, you should feel comfortable being emotionally vulnerable around each other. If a friend who used to be your sounding board is now judgmental and responds with contempt (eye rolling, sarcasm or mocking), think twice about confiding in them, said Kari Carroll, a couples therapist in Portland, Oregon.

“No matter how frustrated they may be with you when you get back with your ex for the millionth time, the damage is done if their feedback makes you feel small and incapable of making thoughtful decisions,” she said. “Persistent shaming can debilitate us to act impulsively. It’s the opposite of feeling supported, trusted and empowered to understand your own actions.”

5. You feel like you’re competing with them.

In 2017, ain’t nobody got time for frenemies. If you can’t shake the feeling that your friend is trying to one-up you in every aspect of your life, consider unfriending them, said Marni Feuerman, a marriage and family therapist in Boca Raton, Florida.

“It’s a toxic friendship if you get the sense that your friend is competitive and jealous of you,” she said. “A real friend would be happy for your achievements and good fortune. You want a friend to support your dreams and life goals.”

6. You share only negative news. 

Like a good marriage, a good friendship is for better or worse. You’re there for each other to discuss the low points of your life, but you shouldn’t short shrift the happy times, either. If all your friend ever does is complain when you’re together, let them know, said Marissa Nelson, a marriage and family therapist in Washington, D.C.

“You also may feel that when things are going well for you and you are in a happy and blessed situation, it seems like they’re not genuinely excited for your success,” she said. “It’s troubling if you withhold information from them because you just don’t want to hear their negative criticism or judgmental opinion.”

7. They don’t respect your boundaries. 

If your tell your friend you want to be home by 10 or 11 on work nights but they constantly badger you to parlay dinner into a night at the bar, you need to re-establish boundaries, said Amy Kipp, a couples and family therapist in San Antonio, Texas.

“If you clearly communicated your boundaries, your friend should respect that,” she said. “Whether it’s blowing up your phone after you have told them you have a big work deadline or them being late all the time, don’t let your friend continue to push your limits.” 

Remember: If you handle your break the right way, you can always reconcile later.

Breaking up with your friend isn’t going to be easy. (It’s such a hard task, we wrote a primer on how to do it. You can read that here.) Don’t broach the subject unless you really feel like your friend has crossed some of the lines above and doesn’t want to work on becoming a better friend.

If you decide to take a break from seeing each other, handle the task with care so it won’t be impossible to reestablish the friendship in the future, Levine told HuffPost.

“Do it with grace,” she said. “Take responsibility for your decision and use ‘I’ language so it doesn’t sound like you’re blaming the other person. You may want to re-friend this person in the future, so the goal is to be cordial.” 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.