A true friend is the one who enhances your life with joy and encouragement. She’s the one who accepts you for who you are, flaws and all, and has your back no matter what. She’s always honest with you, even when the truth might sting. And she’ll make time for you when you need her support. The connection you share is unique and should be appreciated.
But what happens when the friendship you value begins to feel one-sided? Does your friend take advantage of you repeatedly? If you feel more drained than energized whenever you’re together, chances are you’re involved in a toxic relationship, not a true friendship. Here’s how to tell the difference:
1. The focus is always on her
Your friend expects you to be on call 24/7 to listen to her vent, but never makes time to hear about your problems. She makes excuses to cut you off when the focus is no longer on her and steers the conversation back to herself. The lack of concern over the details of your life proves that she’s not invested in the friendship.
2. She’s jealous of your other friendships
Your friend doesn’t want to hear that you had a good time with Sarah at the football game, or that Jamie came over for dinner last night. She’ll be quick to criticize these people and question what you see in them. She may even boast about her own circle of friends and the fun they’ve had together in a feeble attempt to make you jealous.
3. Criticizes you frequently
Whether it’s a new haircut or a new boyfriend, she’ll find something wrong with your choices. Her criticism isn’t constructive; it’s mean-spirited and designed to make you second-guess yourself.
4. Takes advantage of your generosity
Your friend asks you to help her move, stay with her when she’s sick, or drive her around when her car is in the shop. She knows how dependable you are, and takes advantage of your kindness. But when you need her to do something for you, she’s too busy, too tired, or dealing with some form of drama in her life that takes precedence over reciprocating the favor.
5. Rarely initiates contact
If you’re the only one who is pursuing the friendship (always the first to call, or the first to suggest going out), chances are she’s just not that into you — until she needs something.
6. Exhibits stalker behavior
If your friend is calling at all hours to check up on you, guilting you into going out with her frequently, making constant demands, or doing her best to isolate you from other friends and family members, she’s a stalker. Remember the movie The Roommate? It didn’t end well. Remove yourself from this type of toxic friend before she becomes detrimental to your wellbeing.
7. She’s competitive and never celebrates your success
This type of friend has no interest in your goals or achievements because she’s jealous of your success. She’s also very competitive and determined to outdo you, whether it’s a work promotion, an award, or a new relationship, she needs to one-up you in every aspect of your life.
8. Tries to change you
She has a self-righteous attitude and finds fault in everything you do. Her passive-aggressive comments escalate into blatant insults that are actually a projection of her own personality traits. She’s unable to recognize her shortcomings and will insist that you’re the one in need of change.
9. Holds a grudge
This friend refuses to take the blame for anything, even if she crosses a significant boundary in the relationship. Rather than apologizing, she’ll keep score of what she considers injustices and throw them back in your face to manipulate you.
10. Drags you along for the ride on her emotional rollercoaster
No matter how big or small the situation is, she pulls you into her personal dramas and expects you to side with her even when she’s wrong. She can’t handle your honesty when you offer a non-biased opinion and will often ignore you for days or even weeks. One minute she’s your bestie, and the next, she wants nothing to do with you. If the inconsistency in this type of on-again-off-again relationship causes both physical and emotional stress, it’s time to walk away.
11. Frequently gossips and keeps secrets
If your friend is quick to judge others and spreads gossip about people she claims to care for, she’s probably trash-talking about you when you’re out of earshot. She will also keep secrets from you, yet expect you to reveal personal details about yourself or others. Her lack of honesty proves a lack of trust in the friendship.
12. You feel intimidated
Do you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your friend? If you have to monitor every word out of your mouth to avoid saying something that might upset her, your friendship is an unhealthy one. Honesty is a major factor in every relationship, but if you can’t be yourself or speak your truth without fear of her anger or retaliation, she’s not your friend.
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If you’re searching for true friendship, find someone who connects with you on a deep level and who lifts you up, not puts you down. Good friends are hard to find, but once you do, you’ll recognize them — they’re the ones who will feed your soul and make your life complete.