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11 Signs your friend is actually a toxic mess

Bryanne is a freelance writer who lives in Southern California with her active-duty husband and their two teenage sons. She is a passionate human-rights activist and cultural enthusiast. In between writing and family life, Bryanne spends...

11 Signs you need to dump that friend right now

Why is it that some of us have a blind spot when it comes to recognizing unhealthy friendships? Moms have laser-like focus when it comes to our children's relationships, easily spotting the bad apples we want our sons and daughters to avoid. But when it comes to evaluating the character of our own friends, we often miss the mark.

Acknowledging an unhealthy friendship is the first step in claiming our own inner peace and happiness. The second step is to find the courage to keep a healthy distance. Toxicity spreads like an infection and if we aren't careful — it can change us for the worse.

If any of your friends have the following 11 traits, then honey, it's time to reassess your idea of what friendship actually means.

1. They always have a problem with someone.

Not a day goes by that your friend doesn’t have an issue with another person — whether it’s the clerk at the grocery store, her coworker, her boyfriend or her neighbor. Be wary of someone that can’t get along with others. It's a pattern that is likely to repeat itself and you may be the next one on their shit list.

More: 25 Commonly misspelled words — how many would you get right?

2. Every potential solution to their problem is met with an excuse.

If every suggestion you offer your friend is met with a new dilemma, that’s a red flag that you are dealing with a toxic person. Healthy people set out to fix their issues. Toxic people feed off turmoil and chaos. Don’t get swept up in their endless cycle of unresolved problems.

3. They speak badly about other people.

Pay close attention to how your friend talks about others. There is a good chance they are talking to others about you in the same way. Toxic people are often highly negative individuals who regularly gossip and badmouth others for their own benefit.

4. They pressure you to do things you don’t feel comfortable doing.

Misery loves company, and toxic people love to get others to misbehave with them. If you find yourself participating in activities that you don’t like and would never do on your own, consider that a clear sign you’re in an unhealthy friendship.

5. You get anxious being with them in social settings.

Whether you’re fearful they will get into a fight with your friends or embarrass you in front of your boss, toxic people don’t respect boundaries or practice situational awareness. Trust your gut and stop inviting them (or accepting their invitations) out.

More: The definitive list of things women shouldn't say to one another

6. They have a history of broken friendships and family relationships.

The greatest predictor of the future is the past. If your friend has a reputation for failed relationships, it’s an indicator that your relationship may be headed for demolition as well.

7. Discussions are always about them — never you.

Great friendships are mutually beneficial. You share your life, they share theirs and everyone wins. When you’re friends with someone who has a poisonous personality, they tend to dominate every conversation and make everything about themselves.

8. You’re afraid of making them mad at you.

Toxic people can be vindictive. If they’ve royally screwed someone who they once called a friend, you know they could potentially do the same thing to you. A friendship should never be based on the fear of revenge.

9. They’re flaky.

The only time they’re concerned about is their own. They make plans and don’t show, or if they do come, they’re always late. If you can’t rely on your friend to be there when they say they will be, then you can’t really rely on them for other things either.

10. They’re friends with your enemies.

Nothing is a bigger betrayal than when a so-called friend is buddy-buddy with someone who has hurt you. While it is possible to be acquainted and even friendly towards people our friends don't like (that’s what grown-ups do) there is a clear friendship line that is crossed when someone who says they are your friend is also hanging out with your enemy.

More: 12 People you should never unfriend on Facebook

11. You feel emotionally or even physically sick after spending time with them.

Friendships are supposed to be easy. By their very nature they are meant to make us happier. If you find that spending time with a particular friend leaves you emotionally drained, or even physically spent, it’s time to reassess the relationship. Skip the guaranteed headache and search for a friend that leaves you smiling, laughing and eager to see them again tomorrow.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below: 

11 Signs you need to dump that friend right now
Image: Hero Images/Getty Images
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