Signs It's Time to Breakup with Your Toxic BFF

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I met a friend while studying at university who, over a short amount of time, became one of my closest friends. I’ll call her Natalie. Natalie and I had almost all of our classes together and we were graduating at the same time in the same major. We had a lot in common, from our taste in music, things that we found humorous to our mutual love for food. I spent a majority of my time with her throughout my last two years at university, we definitely became more than just “school buddies,” we became actual friends. We were practically inseparable and I appreciated how much we helped each other throughout our time in school. It wasn’t until after graduation when I started to notice how much she was pulling away and not talking to me as much as we used to. She blamed being busy at work and with her boyfriend for why she couldn’t hang out or text back. Back-and-forth texting became sporadic and most of the time, my texts were left on read. I confronted her about it, multiple times, and even though she said she was sorry, her actions never changed and she continued to say she was just too busy.

Months and months went by and I felt I had been forgotten and my feelings were being dismissed. I had to say something because I knew didn’t want to be friends anymore. The friendship was draining me as I was constantly putting in more effort and made sure she was okay all the time, instead of just having a balance of effort on both ends. It took a toll on me and I finally confronted her about what I was feeling and that I didn’t want to be friends anymore. She didn’t take it well. She wanted to stay friends and that I simply HAD to accept that she couldn’t make time for me, which was unfair and selfish. I knew that letting go was the only way I could move forward without feeling like I was carrying dead weight. Of course, I felt a bit of grief, just like any breakup it hurts knowing you won’t see or talk to this person ever again, but it was therapeutic and I immediately felt freer.

Our friendship in the beginning wasn’t so perfect, now that I look back on it. There were early signs of toxic behavior that I didn’t pick up on that now, I can say I am more aware of and look out for. Here are some signs it’s time to end your toxic friendship:

Gaslighting // If you’ve caught your friend in a lie or notice they’re constantly lying to others and after confronting them about it, they make YOU feel bad. Yeah, this is a sign of gaslighting. This type of manipulation causes you to second guess yourself and wonder if maybe, just maybe you were overreacting this whole time. A friend should never make you feel like you have to second guess your feelings. Trigger phrases of this include (but are not limited to): “Calm down” / “You’re overreacting” / “Stop being so sensitive.”

Overly demanding // Controlling everything from what you say, do, eat, dress, etc. If your friend is constantly throwing demands at you and telling you what to do, they are not doing it for your benefit. They are doing it for their own selfish or insecure reasons. You also shouldn’t be doing anything you don’t want to do.

Creates drama // No, no matter how many times they tell you that drama just “finds” them, it is not true. Drama is created and isn’t manifested on its own. If you notice your friend is causing the drama in their lives and handling it poorly, that is toxic behavior. Being stuck in the middle of unnecessary drama is draining on your mental and emotional health, why be around someone who causes it for fun?

Lacks respect // A friend that lacks respect for you as a person makes for an unhealthy friendship. If they are talking down at you or belittling you and making you feel like you aren’t worthy of respect, this is a BIG indicator it’s time to cut the friendship off.

Envious of you // If you notice your friend isn’t supporting your triumphs or successes and instead, shows jealousy and talks bad about you when you’re not around, go double check on that friendship. Friends build each other up and show support, they don’t knock each other down.

Selfish // This means that their time is more valuable than yours, therefore everything revolves around when it’s more convenient for them. A real friendship is a mutual effort on both sides, not one person accommodating the other. A toxic BFF might also try and isolate you from your other friends to keep you from spending time with anyone else, which is selfish and manipulative. (Also, beware friends who only you use you for favors or material things).

Lacks empathy // Do they deflect or dismiss your feelings when you’ve tried expressing yourself? This shows a lack of empathy and an inability to put themselves in your shoes. Real friends actually care for you and show it by being that person to lean on when times get tough or you just need to vent. If they can’t be there for you for that, reevaluate your friendship.