The word “toxic” seems to get thrown around a lot these days. It gets to a point where it almost feels like it doesn’t have much meaning anymore. But some people’s behavior is so uncalled for that the word is called for. As a parent, you may feel like you don’t have a lot of time for friends anymore. You might just be just settling with the ones you already have. Or, perhaps you have befriended your child’s friends’ moms by default. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to look out for yourself. You need to wonder when a “friend” truly has different intentions.

Here are a few signs of a sour friendship.


They only come to you when they want something from you and won’t return any favors.

A toxic friend may not always produce the favor, but they will always need you at their beck and call. They’ll beg for favors or ask you to be there. If you’re not immediately available, they’ll make you feel guilty about it. Additionally, they might record the favors they provide and use them against you, claiming, “I did this for you; why didn’t you do this for me?” 


They get jealous if you spend time with other friends.

If you’re hanging out with other pals, a toxic friend will probably become jealous and possessive. Even though you know that you have shown up for that person, they can claim that they never feel like you are there for them. If you hang out with other friends, they would belittle any effort you have made to build a relationship with them.


They don’t care about your boundaries.

Are you more introverted and need alone time to catch up on your favorite book or Netflix show every once in a while? Maybe you only want to hang out once weekly, so you have enough time to be with the kids? If your friend complains about these boundaries, re-evaluate your relationship with the person.


They don’t take accountability for their mistakes.

This is the “hallmark of a poisonous relationship” because a friend who doesn’t accept responsibility for treating you will often apologize without acknowledging how their actions hurt you. For instance, instead of expressing regret and actively pledging to behave differently, they might give you a coffee or get you something else.


How Do You Cut Off a Toxic Friend?

There is no clear answer on how to end a friendship if you feel that there is no common ground between the two of you. There are countless factors to consider. However, if it’s possible you can “fade out” the relationship, this is often recommended. For example, if your friend is a former classmate or co-worker, shifting your focus to your new workplace or other environments can be a drama-free way of letting someone go. If you plan to move away soon, don’t keep in contact so you don’t exacerbate the relocation anxiety. You get the idea. If you are in therapy or have a form of support outside of the toxic friendship, ask for advice. This can be especially useful if they know the person in question that you wish to distance yourself from.