toxic friendship

Friendships can make us happy and healthier, with studies suggesting that those with solid friend groups are more likely to live longer. But some friendships may turn out to be more harmful than they are helpful. Toxic friends can cause problems with your long-term health and well-being, with one UCLA study finding that those experiencing stressful friendships may end up suffering from depression, diabetes and cancer. Don't overlook some of these often-ignored signals, and ditch that toxic friendship before it becomes a real drain on your life and emotions.

Everything’s always a drama

When it comes to toxic friends, drama usually follows them. Surrounded by chaos, they’re often arguing with someone or causing problems. Whatever the drama is, you know you’ll be hearing all about it or may even end up getting dragged into it.

You don’t get much in return

Friendships can’t always be equal, but they should never always be one-sided either. When you’re in a toxic friendship, there’s often a big imbalance between what you’re putting in and what you’re getting. Make sure you’re both proactively calling or reaching out to each other first, and that when you do meet up you both get a chance to talk. “Friends who only call you when they want something aren’t real friends at all,” said Bethany Johnson at Ladieshoy.

You can’t trust them

Trust is what friendships are built on. You should feel comfortable confiding in them, without having to worry that it will be shared with a third party or that they’ll judge you. Sometimes friends have to break promises for a legit reason, but if you’re constantly being let down by them, you may have reached toxic territory.

You don’t enjoy spending time with them

If you often feel happy when your plans you’ve made with them get cancelled, it’s probably a sign that your friendship feels more like a chore. You shouldn't feel a sense of dread about seeing your friends, and if you do, you should ask yourself why. There are times when a bond we once had slowly deteriorates, and spending time with them starts to feel like it’s doing more harm than good. Struggling to schedule in get-togethers is another glaring sign, as making time to see each other shouldn’t be that hard if you enjoy each other’s company.

You feel like you compete with them

Although there’s nothing wrong with a little competition between friends, if you get the impression that your friend is constantly jealous or competitive with you, it’s more than likely a toxic friendship. Friends will want what’s best for each other and be happy for each other’s achievements and successes.

They constantly put you down

Having a friend who often criticises you, can have a profoundly negative effect on your self-esteem. You will struggle to be happy or relaxed around a toxic friend who never compliments you and enjoys pointing out your flaws.