It’s not always easy to know where you stand in a friendship, but there are ways to spot when it’s no good. Find out how to recognise and handle a toxic friendship. Remember to keep your support network around you, and ask for help when you need it.
If you’re wondering whether your friendship with someone is toxic, there are signs you can look out for. A toxic friend might:
The best way to decide whether a friendship might not be healthy is to be honest with yourself about how you feel when you’re with that person. Do you generally feel worse when you hang out with them? Do you feel drained of energy whenever you spend time with them? Toxic friendships are bad for our mental health and wellbeing. If you can’t improve the relationship, you should think about letting it go.
None of us likes the idea of losing a friend, and some people deserve a second chance. Your friend may not be aware that their behaviour bothers you. It might be worth talking to them and establishing some healthy boundaries:
If the steps you’ve taken don’t improve things, then it might be time to pull the plug:
Sometimes we need professional help to deal with the effects of ending a relationship. Also, if you think your toxic friend needs to talk to someone, or that they’re a risk to themselves or others, encourage them to seek help.
Check out our getting help section for information on who can help.
If you feel like you need to talk about what’s going on, contact a phone counselling service such as Lifeline (13 11 44) or Kids Help Line (1800 55 1800).