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Does your mate cry about their sad life while ignoring your successes? 6 red flags to notice in toxic friends

Friendships bring joy, support, and growth. However, certain behaviours may indicate that a friendship is unhealthy or harmful to your well-being. People are generally good at identifying red flags in romantic relationships—or at least we like to think so. We can spot behaviours that signal something is off, like gaslighting or love bombing, and we know to steer clear. However, these same red flags aren’t always applied to friendships. The challenge with friends is that our deep affection for them can sometimes blind us to their toxic behaviours. While no one is perfect, it’s important not to overlook a friend’s hurtful words and actions, even if they are close to you. (Also read: Navigating relationships with anxiety: A guide to healthy connection; therapist explains )

To ensure your relationships are healthy, here are six red flags that can help you identify a toxic friendship.(Freepik)

Dr.Kriti Gaur, Licensed Clinical Counselor and Founder of Mind The Gap, shared with HT Lifestyle six critical red flags to look out for in friendships.

1. Does Not Show Up to Help You Heal

True friends provide emotional support and a listening ear during difficult times. If a friend consistently avoids or dismisses your emotional needs while you are going through a difficult time, it could indicate a lack of genuine empathy or concern.

2. Enables Addictions and Toxic Relationships

If a friend supports or even encourages your addictions or toxic relationships rather than assisting you in breaking free, this may indicate enabling behaviour. You need to surround yourself with encouraging company instead of disruptive enabling influences!

3. Makes you feel unsafe or unheard

Maslow’s second hierarchy of needs emphasises the importance of safety for personal growth. Feeling safe and understood in a friendship is fundamental. If a friend consistently ignores your boundaries, makes you feel uncomfortable, or gaslights your experiences, it shows alerting signs of lacking respect.

4. Only calls to get the ‘tea’!

If a friend only calls to gossip about other people, it shows they won’t ever help you get beyond the drama in your life. To grow into a better person, a healthy friendship is built on deep conversations and exchange of ideas.

5. Takes away your moment

A genuine friend celebrates your accomplishments without comparing them to their own struggles. If a friend consistently responds to your good news by immediately shifting the focus to their own problems or achievements, it could indicate a lack of genuine happiness for your achievements or severe pre-engagement to their own problems.

6. Encourages you to become like ‘them’

A true friend will accept you for who you are and encourage you to develop as a person. It may be an indication of controlling behaviour if a friend forces you to adopt their beliefs, habits, or lifestyle. A good friend will acknowledge your individuality and support you in following your dreams, regardless of how different they may be from theirs.

It is critical to prioritise friendships that nurture and uplift your personality. Assess the strength and quality of your friendships, and choose wisely who you let in your life and with whom you spend time by learning to recognise these warning signs.


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