A friend is supposed to be that person who respects you from the inside out and works towards seeing the best of you but unfortunately these days, the people we regard as friends may actually be the reason why we are beginning to question our own confidence and esteem. Relationships are supposed to boost our self-esteem but when it is making us see less of ourselves, then we may have to take analysis and know what is wrong. Whether it is in our workplaces, in school, in romantic relationships and marriages, we need to re-examine and know if that friendship is helping us or destroying us. Here are signs that you are in a very toxic relationship and may need to reconsider your stand.


Your friends are supposed to be your biggest encouragement and even when you aren’t getting it fine, they ought, to be frank, and correct you in love in a manner that your self-worth remains intact. When you’re usually criticized instead of corrected, insulted instead of advised, then you may have brought unfriendly friends into your life. A toxic friend takes delight in ensuring that you don’t love yourself or stay confident because they want you to be strictly dependent on their own opinions of you and not on yours. The only thing they want you to know about yourself is whatever they paint for you and they want you to always feel they are doing you a favour by being in a relationship with you.

They don’t want you to have a choice except for the one they give you. For instance, they don’t want you to make the kind of hair you like, wear the kinds of clothes you like or go to places you want to go to. They would rather have you stick to their own fashion sense and desires. Therefore, if you insist on having it your own way, they try to talk you down and create imaginary errors to make you feel bad about your decisions. The reason why they do this isn’t because they feel great about their own selves, they feel so less of themselves that they get intimidated by your confidence and so they wouldn’t want you to have one. They believe you’re better than them but they don’t want you to realize it so that you can keep to rules.

Because they feel less of themselves but still want to shine, they try as much as possible to get around only people whom they can suppress and stand tall in their midst. They don’t love you or respect you, the only value you have for them is that you make it possible for them to appear superior when you depend largely on them. If you are a group of friends, they usually present themselves as the gang leader, the person on whom the unity of the friendship depends on. The only way to make them respect you is to leave that friendship and be yourself.


Whenever your partner or friend does something wrong, do they always find a way to put back the blame on you and get you to apologize for what you never did wrong? Or perhaps they just suddenly start treating you as though you did something wrong while you can’t figure out anything that went wrong? Be on the watch out, you may have likely clicked with a toxic person!

It isn’t just a onetime experience, toxic people do it a lot and sometimes they do it to test their influence to know whether they’ve still got you pinned down. They can suddenly start being very cold towards you and no matter how much you ask, they can’t really show you what went wrong and this way you are the one to say sorry or even make up for your “imaginary” wrongs with gifts. When you discover you are always the one apologizing for the wrongs that you are never responsible for or they always make you feel you are the person causing all the troubles in the relationship, then you may have to reconsider your stand. The reason for all of this is to always get you to submit and hold them high. After all, you are the one doing all the wrongs, apologizing for every mistake and buying all the gifts. They always want you to be the one who needs them the most.

Toxic friends expect you to be responsible for their feelings but no one should be responsible for another person’s feelings. It is true that we can influence how people want to feel but they are the ones that decide how to feel. A toxic friend can quickly read bad meaning in a joke or feel terribly bad that you didn’t pick their calls or reply to their chats without considering your own convenience. They make you feel you are the reason they are constantly angry, they make you responsible for just anything! If they were hungry and you had some money in your pocket but never bought them food, they don’t care what that money is for, they claim you betrayed their friendship. The only way they could get you to massage their ego is to blackmail you into apologizing to them. How long will you let people blackmail you with their feelings? We are all responsible for what we feel.



Let’s be frank. Nobody can be there for you at every given time because no matter the level of friendship, we’ve all got our own lives and responsibilities to attend to. Well, toxic friends think otherwise. They want you all the time and they believe the moment you don’t answer their calls, show up at midnight or go to events with them, you are hurting them. Relationships are not supposed to take up our entire life; they are supposed to even help us live our best.

There are times of distress when you truly need to watch your friends back like never before, for example, when they lost someone who is dear to them or when they have run out of options but toxic people want you to be there for every reason and no reason. They want you to understand them whether they are stressed, angry or happy and they blame you for not being able to decode their feelings. It gets worse when they find you with someone else; they can’t imagine someone else taking their place because they want to be in absolute control. They know someone else might help you build your self-esteem and it is the last thing they want!

Toxic friends are not comfortable when you are with your family, friends or even colleagues. They want you exclusively because that is the only way they can always manipulate you. They may not be vocal about this but you’ll realize that they are always bugging you and showing disapproval whenever you seem to be getting close to someone other than them. Sharing you with anyone is their biggest fear and therefore they would want to go to that party with you or try arranging something that could distract you from ever spending time with someone else.


Toxic people aren’t truly your friends. Their only aim is to use you and make themselves feel better. They are always on and off and they always threaten to quit at every slightest provocation. They can call off the relationship today over little arguments and creep back in tomorrow. Most times, they just ditch you without warning.

Sometimes, it is important to know how they treated other people in their lives before they met you. Toxic people will keep using any of their victims, dumping them and picking them up again to use them. This cycle continues until they make sure they have gotten all they need and they walk away without even saying goodbye. Sometimes, when they are ready to move, they could look for reasons that are no reasons at all, make you look guilty and walk away for life! You don’t need such an experience.



A toxic friend will never feel so good when you break a major record. For instance, if you got an awesome job or bought a new car, they don’t feel very happy about it and sometimes they celebrate with you very coldly. The reason they won’t feel great about your achievements is that they believe the more you grow, the more you get wiser and the more you are likely to break free from them. They also want to maintain their position as the star of the friendship and therefore they would prefer to be the ones being celebrated. They don’t want to be reminded of what they are lacking and therefore they see success as something that should be exclusive to them.

Staying better than you keep them in absolute control and that is one of the reasons they have you. They want you to fail always so that you can always run back to them. They want you to maintain that wrong perception of yours that they have presented to you, they want you to remain the unlucky and disadvantaged fellow whom they are favouring with friendship. Because your success reminds them that you are better than them, they will never sincerely rejoice with you.

They also don’t genuinely celebrate your special days like Valentine, birthdays, graduations, and anniversary and so on. They would always pretend to be busy but they believe that by celebrating you, they are making you look better. It doesn’t matter how you celebrate them, they won’t be at peace with themselves celebrating you.


A toxic friend is only keeping you for the sake of outshining you, aside from that, you mean nothing to them. Instead of protecting you out there; they rather join people in talking against you. They always want to show others that they are doing you a favour by being with you. They go about telling people how they changed you and gave you a better life but they will never talk about the things you did for them and the sacrifices you made. If you ever walk away, they will obviously say a lot of things to paint your image bad. Because they can’t say some of these things to your face, you can discover if your friend is like this with what he or she says about other people. If they always against people they met before you, they will obviously discuss you to other people in a negative way.

Toxic friends will prefer telling others what is wrong with you than telling you. They will prefer creating a picture in the minds of people that you are the one who has always needed them. They do this as a means to always outshine you and feel a bit proud of their empty selves.


Friendship shouldn’t be a one-sided relationship; everything has to be shared equally including support. Toxic friends don’t think so! They don’t make any effort to support you but they are on your neck to always pay your due. When you discover you are the only one giving, solving issues, running to meet them and rescheduling your dates just to accommodate them anytime they want but they aren’t doing the same for you, then you are in a mess and not in any friendship.

They want you to put all your interest in their affairs but your own affairs make no sense to them. You take them on expensive outings on their birthdays but they blink over your birthdays and act like you were never born. They want you to be involved in their families, they want you to visit and support their families but they don’t give a damn when it is about your own family. They must have you attend all their family events but even if you must attend yours, you never get to see them or their support. This is because you don’t matter to them; they only use you to make themselves feel better.

No matter the extent of your terrible experiences, they make their own situations look worse. If you must choose between paying for their electric bills and paying for your house rent, they’d ask you to pay for their electric bills. When they see you taking care of yourself, they feel bad and threatened.

You can deal with toxic relationships once and for all! Read our HOW TO DEAL WITH TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS.

Unmasking Depression By George Onyedikachukwu Nnadozie
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