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Is this a toxic friendship?

I have this friend, (I'll call her Lena) one of my best friends, and people have told me before that they think it is a toxic friendship, but I am only now starting to think that maybe they are right. She has never liked my best friend and has made that very clear to me. Recently Lena asked to call me and tell me a story, at the time I answered, I was with my best friend, but I didn't seem to think this was a problem as we were just waiting to leave. I answered and then after about a minute, Lena heard my best friend in the background and asked who I was with. Considering I knew she didn't like my best friend, I tried to change the subject by asking her to continue her story and act like she never said anything. She didn't want to change the subject and asked again, more firmly. I said who I was with and then Lena said that her story didn't matter and she ended the call. After this, she texted me asking if I thought she was annoying. I think this came up because I said that my best friend was annoying me because I can get irritated very easily. I didn't really want to sugarcoat anything so I said she did annoy me when she gets jealous. After that, she didn't reply and 2 days later I asked if she was angry at me, an argument ensued after she told me it had hurt her feelings and she would never say anything like that to me. She then proceeded to tell me that I act like a different person when I'm mad and it scares her. I then tried to backtrack and say that I didn't mean it because I didn't want to argue. She continued to interrogate me to the point where I knew she was trying to blame everything on me. Whenever I talk to her, I feel like I am walking on eggshells as I never know what her reaction to things might be. She then said that I have pointed out her insecurities and I am not sure how. She said she was upset so I asked if there was anything I could do. She said she didn't know how to trust that she was 'special' and that I would never talk about her and call her annoying to other people. I asked if it would make her feel better if I told her more often and she said yes. I feel like she is always fishing for reassurance and giving nothing in return. I texted her today asking if she was okay and she said she wasn't and she didn't know why I was asking. I said because I care and she replied asking what I was referring to. It was pretty obvious what I was saying and I know that she knows that. I understand that she has insecurities and so do I, but she is acting like I am the only one in the wrong. I know I am partly to blame, but then again, shouldn't I be able to express my thoughts about our relationship without her making me feel like trash after getting something off my chest that has been there for a while. I feel like she completely dominates our friendship and I can't really say anything constructive without her getting upset. I have so much to say to her, but she is so stubborn to the point where she has no open-minded thoughts. So I know the conversation would end in me giving in just like the recent one. I always end up not wanting to argue because she honestly makes me laugh so hard when we are together. But is that really worth what she makes me feel other than laughing? I'm just not sure and I could really use some advice because I'm about to burst with all my feeling bottled up.

Re: Is this a toxic friendship?

Omg @JGN I’m in a very similar situation. One of my friends, we have been in the same school together since kindergarten and it’s literally like walking in egg shells all since kindergarten if I give her any sort of opinion, criticism (usually constructive) tell her that she’s doing th wrong thing etc. for example we have a teacher for design and technology, not everyone likes her, I am never ever disrespectful to a teacher and she never used to be but this year she has started rolling her eyes, having a bad attitude towards her, speaking back, calling her names, etc. and I said to my friend “you know, you’re actually quite rude to miss”

she says to me “ugh you always tell me what to do why do you never support me (blah blah blah)” and then she gives me the silent treatment for 3 days, after that she acts like nothing ever happened. If I do one thing she doesn’t like she stops talking to me. It really upsets me every time. I’ve talked to one of my trusted teachers and they say that they think I caught in a toxic friendship. I think maybe you and Lena are in a toxic relationship (just my opinion) and maybe you need to sit with her and talk to her about how you feel and see if there is something upsetting her. I hope all goes well with Lena 💜

Re: Is this a toxic friendship?

Hi @JGN,

I can see this is your first post on the ReachOut forums and I just want to start by saying welcome! Smiley Happy I hope you find that this community is supportive and understanding, particularly when it comes to talking about friendships. 


You've raised a really important topic that I feel a lot of people, like @Jesssister2001, can relate to. It sounds like this situation with your friend has been really tough on you. Thinking about whether or not a friendship is toxic can be hard, and ReachOut has a quiz that might be able to help you answer this question.


You mentioned others had raised that this may be a toxic friendship, but that you were only just now starting to see it that way. Generally, when you spend time with your friend do you walk away feeling full of energy or drained?


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Re: Is this a toxic friendship?


To answer your question, it really depends on whatever her mood is like.

If she is unhappy, she drags me down as well.

I'm pretty sure that is not a good thing.

But usually, she is happy and its really fun to be around her.

Re: Is this a toxic friendship?

Thanks so much for sharing that with me.
My experience is very similar to yours in the way that whenever I show any signs of criticism towards her, she gets upset. She eventually forgets about it, but a few occasions about a day after upsetting her, she will bring it up in conversations. For example, I called her petty one time (probably not the best idea) and for the next few days if I would ask her a question or start a conversation she would bring up how she is too petty to answer or talk to me.
But yeah thank you so much for sharing it helped a lot to know that I'm not the only one with someone like this in their life ❤❤

Re: Is this a toxic friendship?

Hey @JGN, it sounds quite complicated and I am sure there is no simple answer. Often we care about our friends but we shouldn't have to be dragged down by them when they are feeling down. Have you heard of boundary setting? It is a way where you can still have a friendship but you decide what is okay, what isn't and a plan of action in these times. It could be disengaging with your friend when they start to influence your mood and directing them to do something that is helpful for them. At the end of the day, you have every right to put yourself first and only you can decide if it is affecting your wellbeing Smiley Happy