We all want to be liked and accepted. In her bestselling book, Daring Greatly, author Brené Brown explains that human connection is absolutely essential to a healthy and happy life. So, most of us will do just about anything to stay connected to other people – even if that means putting up with abusive behaviors and toxic relationships.
So, to be sure that you’re surrounding yourself with uplifting and positive individuals, here are 12 signs of a toxic friend, and tips on how to break free from a toxic relationship.
1. Is she happy for you?
If something wonderful happens to you, don’t expect your toxic girlfriend to show any happiness for you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a raise, a promotion, a boyfriend or a new dress.
Instead of celebrating with you, she’ll probably be apathetic, competitive, put you down or simply write it off as a luck.
2. Is she someone you can trust with your secrets?
Toxic people are not trustworthy. That means they’ll gossip behind your back. It also means that if you entrust something private and intimate with them, they won’t keep it safe.
Instead, they’ll air your dirty laundry and share it with mutual friends, colleagues, family members, and coworkers.
3. Is she judgmental towards you?
Your “friend” may be incredibly opinionated and closeminded, and that means she can be harshly critical and judgmental towards you, as well as your dreams and goals.
This can leave you feeling really bad about yourself and make you second-guess your beliefs.
4. Is she both the victim and the bully?
Toxic friends like to control the people around them. They can do this by alternating between the victim role and the bully role.
Sometimes, they’ll play the victim to make you feel guilty and manipulate your behavior to suit their needs and interests. Other times, they’ll flat out bully you with bossy language and shaming tactics.
5. Do you feel stressed instead of supported?
Your friends should lift you up, make you feel good about yourself, and make you feel loved and supported in this world. With toxic friends, it’s the other way around. They make you feel worthless, like an outsider and not good enough.
So, if you’re not sure if your girlfriend is toxic, just ask yourself how you feel when you hang out with her. If you feel good about yourself, chances are, she’s not toxic. But if you feel ashamed, judged and worthless, you might not want to spend as much time with her.
6. Does she make you do things you don’t want to do?
Your toxic friend might be stubborn and make you do things you’re not okay with. This could be anything from going to a certain party, committing to a specific responsibility or position, or even doing things that go against your conscious and/or values.
7. Does she make you feel bad about who you are?
Does your girlfriend criticize your appearance? That could go for things like makeup, accessories, haircut, style, or outfit. Similarly, does she criticize, question or mock what you say and how you behave?
Obviously, good friends help to keep us in line and to keep us accountable. They help us to become our best selves. But that’s not what toxic friends do. Toxic friends prevent us from growing and thriving as our own, unique selves.
8. Does she make you feel unsure about your status in the relationship?
If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells in your relationship, she’s probably toxic.
Sometimes, you might feel accepted and welcomed, and other times, you could feel excluded and left out. It’s a stressful and anxious position to be in, and it’s a clear sign that your relationship isn’t a healthy friendship.
9. Are you the one who’s always giving and compromising?
Life is a two-way street and each person within a relationship should give and take. But if you’re the only one giving and your friend is doing all the taking, how fair is that?
Not only is it unfair, but it’s also exhausting for you.
10. Does your friend always focus on the negative stuff?
Some people simply thrive on negativity. If your toxic girlfriend always gossips, puts you down, criticizes you and just hones in on the darker emotions, this will influence you and make you feel weighed down and heavy.
But life is too short to waste with negative “friends”, right?
11. Does it feel like your feelings don’t matter?
When it comes to toxic girlfriends, your feelings simply don’t matter. And if they do, they certainly aren’t as important as their feelings. Here, it’s a clear case of you always giving your energy and attention to them, but never receiving any in return.
12. She doesn’t respect your boundaries
If your girlfriend is a mean girl, she will disregard your boundaries. How will this show up in your relationship? She’ll force you to do things you’re not comfortable with.
She’ll also ignore your requests and walk all over you. And if you speak up for yourself, there’s almost always a painful whiplash.
Here’s What to Do If You Have a Toxic “Mean Girl” Friend
Breaking free of a toxic girlfriend can be easy or difficult. It depends on the relationship. Sometimes, you may feel trapped in the relationship, but that’s probably because of how much negativity there is in the relationship.
It’s important to remember that you deserve more respect than your toxic girlfriend is giving you. And when you believe that you deserve healthy relationships, you can take steps to clear away the toxic ones and start to make room for positive ones.
Here are two suggestions:
Break up with your mean girlfriend
This may sound a bit drastic, but sometimes the best way to leave a toxic relationship is to simply break up with your negative friends. Entrepreneur and lifestyle influencer, Mimi Ikonn broke up with friends out of self-respect and self-love.
If you do this, be prepared for them not to like it and for them to be angry and lash out. If necessary, block them on social media to protect yourself from unnecessary hate and bullying.
Don’t argue and feed into their negativity because that’s what they want and that’s what they thrive on. Instead, state your boundaries and your preference to end the relationship and just leave it at that.
Quietly let the relationship end
Sometimes, you don’t have to be as dramatic as breaking up with your toxic girlfriends. Sometimes, you can slowly stop engaging with them and stop spending time with them.
They might not even care that much, and if that’s the case, you’re free to spend time with people who support and inspire you instead
If your friend is a real-life mean girl, that probably means you’re not having much fun. But you deserve to have lovely, uplifting girlfriends.
So, don’t be afraid to have lots of self-respect and free yourself from these toxic relationships.