5 RED Flags In Relationships and Friendships

Relationships are special bonds we form with others. Whether they are romantic or platonic, these bonds affect how we enter into new relationships. They are models for new relationships and teach us what works and what doesn’t. However, there are times when we overlook certain negative aspects simply because we hope that the relationship will work itself out.

In such cases, you may find it hard to let go of a friend or partner because it means admitting that you made a poor choice in trusting that person. But, if a relationship is or has turned toxic, it is best to leave before you end you even more hurt. 

Below are a few red flags to look out for in a relationship. 

  • They only want you around when they need something from you. 

Your role in a relationship is not of a therapist or problem solver. While you are free to help your friends when necessary, you are not there to fix their problems. A friend who only calls you when they need something from you does not consider you a friend but someone who fixes problems. This is problematic and a red flag because it unbalances your relationship. Your friend expects you to shoulder their responsibilities. Consequently, your friend will hold you accountable for the things that happen in their life. 

  • They isolate you from others. 

Relationships are not an excuse to be possessive. You both share your time, but no one owns anyone. If a friend or partner begins to demand more time from you, surveils or monitors your activities, or shows signs of being controlling, then that is a sure sign that you should do your best to make sure the relationship is short-lived.  

  • They never put in the effort. 

Healthy relationships are reciprocal. If your friend or partner treats the relationship like an emotional support trust fund, it is not a relationship. It is a business transaction that benefits only them. 

It sounds harsh. There are relationships that you want to preserve because there is a lot of history. If that is the case, talk to them. let them know how you are feeling. Attempt to create a space where your needs are heard and met. However, if they persist and refuse to listen or accept you, perhaps it is time to walk away.  

If you are having difficulty backing away from this relationship, reach out to a therapist. 

  • They are quick to complain about you.

No one likes their flaws pointed out to them. The only time it is acceptable is when it involves constructive and educational criticism. However, pointing out someone’s flaws for the sake of doing so and trying to make it seem like you are trying to help is shady in a relationship. The people you enter into a relationship with should be accepting and understanding. Not coddling, but accepting of who you are and what you want to achieve. 

People who only point out your shortcomings are toxic and mildly abusive. So, please try to avoid developing a deep relationship with them. 

  • They monopolize the relationship.

As stated before, relationships are not one-way streets. Two people connect through shared thoughts, ideas, and objectives. However, when one party begins to monopolize the relationship, it’s a sign that they are no longer interested in what the other person has to share. 

If that person chooses to remain in a relationship, they are doing it with the sole purpose of fulfilling their personal needs. Hence, I recommend you talk to that person first to let them know how you feel. But, if they persist and try to monopolize the relationship, then leave. 

  • They don’t treat you like their friend. 

This last red flag is a bit subtle, but it encompasses all of the previous points. Relationships, including romantic ones, have a degree of friendship involved. You both should treat each other kindly and care for each other. You also should be able to trust each other and be vulnerable with each other.  

However, it is not easy being friends with others–for various reasons. Some of the reasons are personal. If that is the case, perhaps talking to a therapist might help. 

If your friend or partner does not attempt to establish trust or comradery, try to talk it through. Both of you should be willing to create trust between each other. Figure out what you both need to do. However, if they are reticent to do so, they’ve made their position clear, and you should consider leaving. You do not need to be in a relationship with someone who does not respect, trust, or accept you. 

Relationships seem easy but can be unexpectedly difficult to maintain. However, I hope this article has cleared a few things up for you. 


Degges-White, S. (2015, May 19). 13 red flags of potentially toxic friendships | psychology … Psychology Today. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifetime-connections/201505/13-red-flags-potentially-toxic-friendships. 

Gabrielle, L. (2018, September 21). 27 red flags that prove you’re in a toxic friendship. PizzaBottle. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://pizzabottle.com/97621-red-flags-that-prove-youre-in-a-toxic-friendship/. 

Zapata, K. (2021, April 3). 7 friendship red flags – and what to do about them. Scary Mommy. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://www.scarymommy.com/7-friendship-red-flags/. 

Thank you to all the wonderful therapists and psychologists whose work is often referenced in these articles!

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