It’s not spring yet, but it’s never too early to do some spring cleaning of the people you hang out with. The thing is, every friendship you have is inevitably going to affect you, and change you, in a good way or in a not-so-good-way. And everyone of us is guilty of having a couple of unhealthy friendships with people who aren’t really doing us much good — people who, instead of making us happier and better beings, are doing the reverse. I call these people, “toxic friends.”

Check out the following list to identify a possibly toxic friend in your life:

1. A toxic friend rarely makes you feel good about yourself.

When this friend is around you often feel like you’re the lesser one. They make fun of you in front of other people, or tell jokes about you to entertain the people around.  They seldom give a damn about what you think or how you feel. Sometimes, you feel like you are not good enough because of their consistent put-downs. As days go by, you might even start to see yourself through their lenses more and more, up to a point where you begin to seek their approval for a sense of security and the feeling that you are doing things right. But as a toxic friend, they feed you with more of their “honest, sincere opinions,” and “the things people say about you behind your back,” only to make you feel even more insecure about yourself.

2. A toxic friend rarely celebrates with you.

Because they also see you as competition and are jealous when they know that you’re doing better than they are. Perhaps, they never wish that you’ll succeed in life in the first place, even though they say that they only hope for the best for you. When you have something to celebrate about, they are the first to throw you a cold blanket. On top of dismissing your good news, they might even share some bad news to truly kill your buzz.

3. A toxic friend spreads their negativity.

Because when they are feeling down, they want everyone else to be miserable as well. When they can’t be happy, they won’t let you be happy. With them, you can never really be the happiest person that you can be, because everything is dependent on their mood. When they’re having a bad day at school or at work, they will try to drag the people around them down as well. Like Regina George from Mean Girls, they want to be the one who dictates the mood of the things around them.

4. A toxic friend uses you.

When they need you, they tend to be nicer and more polite to you. They trick you into thinking that they have changed for the better, but the truth is, they are only putting on a facade so that they can manipulate you. And you on the other hand, thinking that things are finally getting better, decide to be helpful and do their bidding. But what happens after they get what they want from you, be it a copy of your homework, or your car for the week, is that they quickly revert to their old self. They don’t text, they don’t call, they stop caring about you, and they might even go back to saying mean things to you again. A toxic friend only comes to you when they need your help or feel that you can do something that would benefit them.

5. A toxic friend always think they know better.

They think that they have everything in their bag. They think that they are smarter than you, wiser than you, and more mature than you. When it comes to planning, they believe that things are better done their way. They rarely take your suggestions or heed your advice.  Perhaps because they fear that by doing so, it means that you are right and they are wrong. A toxic friend thinks that he/she is better than whatever you can offer, and he/she will try to make you think the same way too.

6. A toxic friend talks about you behind your back.

They bitch about you behind your back, simply because they prefer being passive aggressive. Instead of facing the issue and talking about it with you, they would rather rant to their other friends, and leave other people with a biased impression of you. A toxic friend might even share your secrets with others because they are angry, jealous, or just bored. A toxic friend has little respect for your privacy. Sometimes a toxic friend will ask you about your life in the hopes of teasing out some of your more private stories, so that they can use it for gossip with their other friends.

7. A toxic friend likes to keep score and bring up past mistakes.

To make you feel bad, they will remind you of embarrassing things and stupid mistakes you’ve made in the past. They never forgive and they never forget. They will dig up things from the past and use them against you whenever they see a need to. It’s their easiest ammunition during a fight or a disagreement. With this friend around, it’s so much harder to move on from past pains and mistakes.

8. A toxic friend loves drama. 

There are people who love drama and then there are those who live to create it. With a toxic friend around, your life is often filled with unnecessary emotional turbulence, caused by unnecessary fights, careless bitching, and just being passive aggressive to people in general. You might even notice that this need for drama starts to rub off on you and slowly, you start to feel empty without having a little drama to add some spice to your day-to-day life.

9. A toxic friend takes you for granted.

At some point along the way, this type of friend starts to take you for granted. He or she may have stopped contributing into the relationship while you still continue to do so. If you find yourself making the effort to keep the friendship going, planning evenings out, being the first one to instigate a conversation or stay in touch while they sit on the sidelines and do nothing, then perhaps it’s time for you to let go.

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