How Can I Avoid Bad Friends: Signs of Toxic Friendships

Mental health professionals suggest cutting ties with toxic people to promote a healthier and happier life. You can avoid bad friends by:

  • Limit interaction with them
  • Go when they discuss negative topics
  • Trying to be neutral when they ask for an opinion about negative things
  • Control your reaction, your tone of speech, and don’t overreact
  • Ask for help from others
  • Eliminate pity when they try to ensnare you with their compassion
  • Act firmly so they understand you can’t be influenced anymore
  • Do not hesitate to be angry about their misdeeds
  • Forgive their mistakes but don’t forget their nature

Signs that you have bad friends

You feel like you can’t be your true self when you’re with them

Friendships exist so you can grow familiar and comfortable with someone. But if they push to do some things that you don’t want to do, or begin to judge you for the new hobbies you developed, perhaps it’s time to think about where your friendship is going.

A real friend is someone you can be yourself with, without fearing they won’t accept you.

Your communication becomes almost non-existent

Do they often go to you or do they only put the minimum effort into communication? If it’s always you talking to them first you might want to ask yourself why it’s always you who have to initiate plans. Sometimes people are so busy that they can hang out with you, but if it’s obvious that they are using you as a B plan when their original plans are canceled, then you may want to consider staying away from them.

They constantly smother you

A toxic friend can also swing the other way and try to spend every minute, every day with you, or get jealous when you want to hang out with other friends. A healthy friendship needs balance to sustain. Even if the two of you are best friends, too much of anything is bad for you and can be emotionally draining. Setting a healthy boundary around yourself that nobody can cross, even best friends, when help you stay healthy emotionally.

You feel like you guys are competing against one another

Are they constantly trying to one-up you? If they can’t be happy for your success and don’t want you to be socially accepted, you should step back and figure out where is their jealousy issues stem from.

They aren’t considerate of your feelings

Sometimes you feel like you can trust them, other times they say a comment that takes a jab at you, and it makes you wonder what they meant by it. There’s a difference between friendly sarcasm and mean remarks that teeter over the edge of bullying.

They give you a hard time for your mistakes even when you apologize

If they always bring up the past and only focus on what you’ve done wrong, then perhaps it’s better to move forward without them. Friendship can only sustain if the two of you can forget the past and focus on the good things, but if it seems like they are holding you back and refusing to let go of their grudges, then this will only work against your friendship and your inner peace.

They are controlling rather than giving you advice

A good friend is there for you during the tough times. But if your friend trying to fix you and wants to make decisions for you instead of giving you advice, then they are treating you more like a project rather than a friend. Even if they are coming from a good place and only want what is the best for you, they can’t live your life for you.

They’ll not respect you if you let them control you even they seemed thankful that you are hearing their advice.

Your friendship provides more stress than support

If you feel like you are still testing your friends to see if you can trust them, then chances are your friendship isn’t solidifying. Although friendship takes work and effort and needs some time to be solid, it shouldn’t always be stressful.

The whole point of having a good friend is being able to have fun together without trying too hard. 

You frequently catch them talking about you behind your back

It’s normal to seek advice from people outside of your conflicting relationship. And when you are angry or sad, sometimes you might say things about others that you don’t always mean out of frustration, but a toxic friend may gossip behind your back just because he finds it satisfying or entertaining. If you confront them about it they keep doing it, this will only hurt you in the long run.

You forget why the two of you became friends in the first place

Do you feel like your friendship is coming to an end? It’s tough to lose a friend, but it’s better to let go and move on if you don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. A toxic friendship will do you harm more than benefit, even if you tried to convince yourself that you can help them change their characters or fix their mistakes. For such a toxic relationship, the sooner you get rid of it, the safer you will be.

Tips to avoid bad friends

  • Limit interaction: reduce your interaction with toxic friends. If you’re usually hanging out together or doing activities together then set your time that you no longer see him often.
  • Go when discussing negative topics: when your toxic friend starts discussing negative things, then it’s an alarm for you to leave. Let him know that you don’t want to discuss such things.
  • Trying to be neutral: often bad friends ask for opinions or justifications about negative things that he shares with people around him. If he views or calls your name, try to be neutral and not justify his opinion.
  • Control reaction and tone of speech: Try not to overreact or be triggered when dealing with toxic friends. They are happy when you’re in that condition. Use a cool head and set your speech, as soon as possible go away from them.
  • Ask for help from others: Often some people don’t want to refuse bad friends or they find it difficult. If that happens to you, try asking family or friends to help pull you away from them. When you are invited to go, just tell them that you’re busy with your family, or ask a friend to pick you up when you are stuck hanging out with them.
  • Eliminate pity: Get used to eliminate feelings of pity or discomfort to toxic friends. They are good at using compassion so they can continue to ensnare you nearby.
  • Act firmly: Learn to firmly reject all invitations, chats, or negative things that arise from bad friends. They must know that you now can not be influenced and do not like that mindset. So, they will understand and probably stay away.
  • Do not hesitate to be angry about their bad deeds: If they don’t understand the subtle way, use the evil way as well. When you’re not strong and tired of the drama that continues to be shared you can scold them.
  • Forgive but don’t forget: After toxic friends know that you are angry with them, they will apologize to you so they don’t lose someone they are controlling. Forgive but tell them clearly that you don’t like their nature and start away from them. He must also know that you’re away from him and will start finding new victims.

Don’t ignore the small signs of betrayal

After the betrayal happens people often say to themselves: there were all these signs I didn’t pay attention to. So your friend starts to make small mistakes that grab your attention, but you ignored them because they were small things and you don’t want to focus on every detail. Then the next time you’re together it happens again at a somewhat accelerated rate. And then maybe your friend starts to avoid you or give you the feeling that he’s bored when hanging out with you and so on there is this progression towards the end state of betrayal. And every time you get a little hint, the world is telling you there is something wrong, you put it aside and fail to take it into account. Every time you ignore these hints you are foregoing your opportunity to adjust the relationship.

Maybe what you should have done when that small error happened is to tell your friend: what's going on? you tell him that you are not OK with what just happened.

There may be a small fight but this will give your friend a warning that you have a line that nobody can cross no matter how close he is. “To keep the relationship healthy, it needs to be retooled at micro levels constantly,” Jordan Peterson says. If you don’t do that, those errors are going to accumulate, and when they finally manifest themselves as unavoidable like when your friend tells you that he doesn’t want to be with you anymore it gives you the feeling that you get stabbed from the back, you no longer in a relationship. You feel like you’re insecure like all the world hates you. It’s better to notice the micro errors to minimize the risk of total collapse of your relationships.

“The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies.”


Types of toxic friends you should stay away from

The unaware

Some people say bad things without thinking. They treat others badly because they grew up in a household that taught them misinformed ways. As a result, they are unaware that they are toxic friends, simply because they don’t know any better. These people have an opinion about every part of your life. The unaware believes that they are being good friends because they have taken the time to analyze your life for you.

They will cross boundaries very often even after warning them that you don’t want them to cross certain boundaries.

The users

The users have a strong tendency to gravitate toward people who are more than often willing to help them. Most of the time users will dominate conversations, or will only contact you when it’s convenient. The users have very few boundaries and are very intuned to certain people who: 1- love to help or 2- have a hard time saying no. As a result, the users exploit their friends’ loyalty and desire to help.

The fakers

The fakers are the most toxic friends you can have. Simply because their entire relationship is reliant on their gain. Fakers are having a tendency of having an overly inflated ego with a fragile sense of self. As such fakers garner friendship with people who they deem less than themselves. For example, fakers will befriend someone who they deem to be less attractive than them to draw more attention from others. Fakers have no boundaries and will become defensive if you called them out on their malicious behavior. In the end, befriending fakers is toxic and can result in negative emotional turmoil.

How toxic relationships affect you

You feel isolated

We build relationships to spend time with others and feel we are loved and supported. Toxic friends will always give you the feeling that you are alone and isolated. You are left out of group events. They will neglect your messages -unless they need something from you-

You don’t feel like they are true friends at all, and you wont find them around you when you need them.

You lose self-confidence

When someone constantly treats you badly, you start to accept this treatment and believe that this is what you deserve. This will lead to affecting your self-confidence. The more they put you down without you stopping them, the more your self-esteem is diminished.

You feel stressed when they are with you

We often try to meet our best friends to reduce our stress or run away from stressful events. But when our best friends increase our stress, then we may consider stepping back and staying away from them.

They poison your other relationships

One of the characteristics of bad friends is that they always feel jealous when there are other people with you. They want you to spend all your time with them. They may start to spoil your relationship with others so you can only trust them.

The bottom line

A toxic friendship can affect you both mentally and physically. It’s challenging to end a toxic relationship but it’s inevitable to end your suffering. You can talk to a therapist or a good close friend who provides you with good advice to get rid of your bad friend.

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