Toxic Friendships And How To Handle Them

The truth is that friendships are complex relationships that cannot be understood easily. We all have friends who have varying characteristics, attitudes which makes us like them, or sometimes even cause annoyance or irritation. Relationships are never smooth-sailing and they are bound to cause problems between people.

However, when the problem exacerbates, friendships turn toxic and cause pain and anguish among one another. Friendships are certainly crucial but when it becomes toxic, it is important to remember that one’s well-being and happiness supersedes the value of friendships. Self-care comes before caring for the other party. Thus, if one needs to let go of that person in order to save himself/herself, it is not wrong and tactless.

1. They are self-centred. 

Toxic friendships vary for each individual but everyone has that one friend who keeps in contact with you or call you their friend only when they need something from you. They are self-centred, care only about their needs but neglect others’ emotions and how it might affect them. It will be difficult to recognise such friends in the beginning mainly because their intentions are not obvious.

How Do I Handle Them?

The truth dawns upon us only very much later when they keep asking for favours but forget your presence once the work is done. The reason we can’t see through these people is because of the facade of benevolence they put on. We are convinced that they are their heart is pure and innocent which blinds us from their true intentions. The best way to deal with such friendships is not to be harsh and confront them but make them understand what they did wrong.

Some people might do it intentionally but some may not realise that they are hurting the other party. Maybe you can start of my telling them what they did wrong and how their actions have affected you. Make them know what you are feeling. If they realise that they have been selfish and willing be a better friend then it’s worth a second chance but if they defend themselves saying they didn’t do anything wrong then it’s perfectly fine to end the friendship, especially when it makes you feel like a commodity used only when needed.

2. They are possessive. 

Another very dangerous friendship to be in is when someone becomes very possessive over you, disallowing you to have or meet other friends. They suffocate you in the relationship, saying things like you belong only to them, almost as if they own you. Seeing you getting close with another person causes jealousy, anger and even annoyance. This occurs because he/she lonely most of the time and you are probably the only person who gives them the attention they desire and hence, when you give that attention to another friend, they become possessive. These types of friendships can be extremely perilous over-time because they might turn abusive towards you if you refuse to listen to them.

How Do I Handle Them?

The only direct solution to this is to stay away from the person for a while, forcing them to remain independent without your presence. Try not to answer their calls and messages. When the person confronts you and asks you why you are avoiding them, then nicely explain to them that you feel suffocated and that you are denied the volition to choose who you want to be friends with. Some might understand you and some might not, but that depends on their attitude and character.

Either way, these types of friends usually act out of paranoia; they fear that they will lose you and thus act in a possessive manner. Reassuring them that they will not lose you can help in making them feel secure about your friendship and at the same time feel less controlled by them. However, if they continue acting possessively, ending the relationship, collectively produce a better result instead of suffering under someone who does not have the right to control who you talk to or hang out with.

3. They do not care about your feelings. 

Friends are not only people who do good for you but they also point out your flaws so that you can become a better person. However, there are certain friends who are brutally honest with you which ends up with you getting your feelings hurt. They are tactless in the way they address your flaws or wrong-doing, and instead of helping you through them, use it as a means to criticize many aspects of your life. Friends do need to maintain a certain level of distance between each other but this particular person crosses the boundaries set by your friendship and make it a point to always speak negatively about anything you do. In a long run, this friendship inevitably turns toxic because they cause you have low self-esteem and make you feel worthless.

How Do I Handle Them?

In order to cross the hurdles life sets in your path, one needs to have high self-esteem and develop confidence but this friend shatters this, making you feel small because they constantly attack your negative aspects. Such friends should not be tolerated for long as it will disturb even the positive aspects of your life. The best solution to any problem is communication and hence, talking about the way they treat you and how it has affected your life can make a great difference of mitigating the problems that exist between one another.

Toxic friendships such as these cannot be solved instantly but it involves a certain level of understanding and adjustment with one another. Some friendships might get better and some might not but it is always worth giving it a chance to become better. However, if the situation gets out of hand, the best solution to end the relationship and move on.

Have you ever met a friend who fits into the points mentioned above? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments below.

We also made a video on how to let go of toxic relationships. Give it a watch please? 



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  1. My friend and I have shared the same apartment for about a year. We’ve been friends for 8 and half years, we were best friends. There’s a whole story I could tell, but basically, I realized I wasn’t happy with her. So I started questioning and researching what was wrong and started paying more attention. One day I went out with another friend and predicted how she was going to react when I got back. I got home and straight to the living room to say hi to everyone, and she stared blankly at the TV while I talked to our other housemate. She ignored me. I felt there was no fixing for her stubborn personality, so that day I decided to give up and treat her as a mere colleague.. There were some nasty comments from her later. Again, there’s more to it, but that’s how I dealt with it, and yes, it was hard to let go.

    1. Mere coincidences don’t just happen…this being said, I have been going through the very similar problem. I’ve known her since the 7th grade, but have only been friends when it was convenient for her. I now live with her, and I have realized I am done dealing with her degrading narcissistic attitude not only towards me, but to everyone around her. It’s very tough. I actually strive to help her and go out of my way non-stop only to get passive-aggressively yelled at or shoved over.

  2. Hell yes:

    “EILEEN”: Tried to change how I looked & acted, what I wore, stole my lunch money, became upset when I stood up to her.

    “ELIZABETH”: got me into all kinds of trouble at school

    “LARRY”: Wouldn’t let me have other friends, watch TV, like bands, made fresh comments, etc… called me “self-centered & manipulative” when I ended it.

    “ANONYMOUS”: Messaged me every time I was on Facebook, even when I was out of state. Texted me every minute of each day. Left weepy voice mails. When I cut off all contact, she made both me and my husband as miserable as possible, to the point where we had to get a restraining order!