Categories: Friendships

How To Tell A True Friend From A Toxic Friend

A toxic friend adds so much unnecessary stress to life that understanding the difference between a good friend and a toxic friend can become critical. Sometimes a toxic friend can disguise themselves as a true friend, and you don’t realize it until you’ve given them all your attention, all your love, and all of your self. And you’re left emotionally drained. Here are a few ways to distinguish between a true friend and a toxic one:

1. They Don’t Support Your Goals

It’s no secret that friends are supposed to support your goals as if they were their own. Whether you’re busting your butt working two jobs and getting through school or you have dedicated yourself to sobriety, your true friends will be there every step of the way, encouraging and supporting you. If a friend is suggesting you blow off studying for finals to spend a weekend in Palm Springs, she might be a toxic friend because she’s not supporting your goals, which are obviously important to you.

If a friend is encouraging you to drink and continually inviting you out, despite knowing your quest for sobriety, chances are she’s a toxic friend who cares more about herself than she does about you. 

2. They Gossip To You About Other Friends

It is a logical assumption that if a friend gossips to you about other friends, she’s probably doing the same behind your back. While we would all love to assume the best in our friends, the saying that leopards can’t change their spots, while cliché, is true. It’s best to assume that if your friend is talking badly about her friends to you, she’s doing the same toward you. Friends should only build you up, never try to bring you down. 

3. They Have A Hard Time Being Happy For You And Your Accomplishments

Although this one seems obvious, often we try to justify why a friend might not be happy for our achievements. Maybe she’s going through a rough time, so she’s preoccupied, or something along those lines. But at the end of the day, your friends should be able to set aside their own feelings about your accomplishments and be happy for you!

For example, if you just graduated from college and your friend doesn’t congratulate you, despite knowing how hard and how long you’ve worked for this, she might be a toxic friend. You can try to justify her behavior but jealousy is rarely justifiable. Friends, no matter what, should be happy when you achieve your goals, and they should always communicate that happiness to you.

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4. They Judge Your Flaws and Never Forgive Nor Forget Your Past Mistakes

True friends should be quick to forgive and should never make you feel as if you cannot make mistakes around them. If a friend of yours constantly brings up your past mistakes and seems incapable of accepting you despite your imperfections, chances are, she’s a toxic friend. We’re human, and because we’re human, we make mistakes. It’s a part of life. But another part of life is forgiving those mistakes and moving on. We should feel comfortable making mistakes in front of our friends because they’ll love and support us no matter what. But if a friend seems unable to forgive your mistakes or if she judges your flaws, she’s not the friend for you.  

At the end of the day, a true friend can make all the difference in the world. Being able to judge between a toxic friend and a true one can end up making or breaking a relationship.

Have you experienced a toxic friend and had to distance yourself from them? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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Elizabeth Smith

Recent college graduate, avid reader, lover of music and all things Yankees. Collector of pins, patches, and records.

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