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Toxic Best friend?

Hi all, I was hoping to get some help with a situation i’m going through. My bestfriend, M, and I have been best friends for almost 3 years. I don’t really remember much from the beginning, but i’m pretty sure i was mostly happy and thankful for her, and i had that feeling towards her until around the start of 2020.

 

So we hung out with this other friend called A. A and I really meshed well together and I loved having him around. All was good for a while until M started acting cold towards him.

 

She would come to me and say that she was tired of him always sitting with us and that we never get any privacy, also that he isn’t funny and blah blah. When i first heard this, i was surprised and confused. I told her that I was unsure about all that she was saying but she kept on pushing it until i agreed with her and next thing i know i found us talking to him about giving us more distance.

 

I don’t know how it lead up to that but i remember her saying stuff to me like “i don’t want to manipulate you into feeling the same way as me” but then when i told her i still wanted him around she would then get mad at me for “taking his side” and etc. I think that she then actually did manipulate me into i guess kicking him out of our group but i am doubting myself and thinking i’m just being dramatic??

anyways, he continued to hang out with us though thank god.

 

it got much worse though when we were assigned a history group project. M wanted to work with only me, because she claimed that A never did work in group assignments, and i tried to acknowledge her feelings but also knew that A had no one else to go with, and knew that if i talked to him about equal work he would listen to me, if what she said was even true. The lesson where we had to finally pick, she went up to A and said “fine i guess you have to go with us” (or something along those lines) really rudely. I could tell he was really upset but she sat between us so I couldn’t say anything.

 

Keep in mind that I am a very closed up person who never stands up for myself or really anything because I get very anxious about being judged - something I think came about from M being so judgmental towards me and other people.

 

Anyways, a group of girls saw he was upset and offered to split up their group so that he could come with one of them, to which he responded “yeah because she doesn’t want to work with me”. M then lied to me and said that he told the girl that he didn’t want to work with us. I thought it was a lie but I didn’t say anything because I started doubting myself I guess. He then started crying to which she said very loudly, “oh great, now he’s crying.”  

 

I was super quiet for the rest of the day because I was pretty upset with the way she was acting. I told her that I thought we handled that situation horribly and she got mad at me and complained to her boyfriend about how “I wasn’t on her side” and thought that “she was a giant b*tch”, none of which I ever said at all or hinted to in my opinion.

 

A obviously stopped hanging out with us, except I still talk to him whenever I get the chance and over messages. But I found that ever since then I’ve been aware of how toxic M seems towards me. I feel like she possibly started this whole drama because of how close me and A were getting.

 

Another thing is she’s always pointing out stuff about me such as acne, if i look like a mess, if my hair is unwashed, just anything that then makes me feel super awful and insecure the rest of the day. The couple times that I act visibly upset with this she’ll just laugh and act all nice and basically be all like “I’m just kidding”. I’m pretty sure this is a form of gaslighting - correct me if i’m wrong.

 

I’ve also found myself dreading hanging out with her and trying to avoid plans. 


Recently we’ve gotten into a big argument over our friendship. She sent me a huge paragraph about how terrible of a friend i’ve been because i haven’t put in effort and apparently how i get all the good outcomes in the relationship when she puts in all the work yet she always gets blamed for all the problems.

 

I will admit that I probably haven’t been putting in a lot of effort because of my not wanting to be around her anymore. I feel horrible because I have been a bad friend, but some of the things she said, like how she always gets blamed, just make no sense to me.

 

She also got mad at me for not sharing enough with her, but she knows i’m a super private person with trust issues and that me sharing stuff usually takes a lot of time, no matter how close i am to a person.

 

I apologised but also brought up the stuff I was confused at or disagreed with, to which she responded with examples and just expanding on this whole terrible friend thing. I sent like two huge paragraphs back apologising and explaining myself - which involved me opening up a whole load and feeling super vulnerable and anxious - but she left me on seen and never responded. 

 

She does this a lot. She’ll make a rude  comment to me, then ignore me for ages, then act like nothing happened. For example, a month ago we had work experience. Unfortunately on the first day i woke up with a swollen eye due to an infection. It was in a bad place and the worse case scenario, but probably really rare, was that it spread to my brain and i could end up in the hospital. My parents are super overprotective and my dad is a doctor, so naturally i took the day off and i went to a GP to get a prescription.

 

I told my best friend I wasn’t going to come and explained why, to which she said “you are literally the flakiest person i know”. She didn’t ask if I was okay or anything. I reiterated that i had a swollen eye but she just left me on seen. She later on sent me a post of a band we like and was acting all normal again as if nothing happened and she wasn’t mad at me. 

 

I just need advice on where to go from here and if i’m in the wrong and if she’s actually a toxic friend. I feel like i’ve just become so much less trusting and self conscious ever since I’ve become friends with her, but i also have so many good times with her so i’m confused. This isn’t the full story, but I didn’t want to go too deep and write too much.

 

Sorry for the super long post but thank you to anyone who gives advice! I appreciate it. 

Re: Toxic Best friend?

Hi @pstlcims 

 

This sounds really hard...

 

I'm not always good with judging wether or not people are toxic..

But sometimes if a friendship isn't working, I think it doesn't matter if anyone's at fault.

 

You deserve to have friendships that feel safe and don't leave you feeling manipulated or hurt.

Re: Toxic Best friend?

Hey, @pstlcims I can empathise with struggling with identifying if a friend is toxic, I have also been the toxic friend in the past. For me personally, I didn't know even know how toxic i was been and at the time I was struggling with a lot of family issues that created a really negative mindset and everything was triggering me, leading to me trying to make everyone accommodate to me which lead to becoming toxic. I think it may help to try to call her or meet in person to talk about of all what your feeling. Also try to remember that it's not anyone's fault, it just be that your friendship is working for you as @Tiny_leaf has said. I'm also going to think some articles that may help you to decide whether the friend is good or maybe is becoming toxic. I hope these help

How to know if someone is a good friend

Telling a friend they hurt you

Dealing with a toxic friendship 

3 ways to end a toxic friendship 

Re: Toxic Best friend?

Hi @pstlcims! thanks for reaching out Heart

 

It sounds like you're going through a very difficult situation right now, and I can definitely understand and appreciate how exhausting and emotionally taxing this must be. While we don't know her so we shouldn't speak on who she is as a person, it's very apparent to me at least that she is not treating you the way you or your other friend deserve to be treated. Acting in a controlling way, speaking rudely, and making you feel insecure with insensitive comments are not things a good friend is supposed to do. 

 

I agree with what @A_Friend is saying - would you feel comfortable talking to her and being honest and upfront about how you feel and her behaviour? Addressing the situation kindly but firmly will show that while you're willing to hear what she has to say, you're not willing to condone her treating yourself and others poorly. 

 

Let us know how things go if you wish and feel free to keep asking questions so we can assist you in the best way possible Heart take care!

Re: Toxic Best friend?

Hey @pstlcims, I'm sorry that you are experiencing some difficulties with your best friend and that sounds really annoying and distressing. At first, I thought it might be just common problems that usually happen in a group of 3 because M might feel like you spend less time with her because of A and get jealous of that, but then personally, I feel like she is a toxic friend after reading following paragraphs. I can empathise with you when you mentioned M laughed at you, maybe she just made a joke, but a joke is not a joke if the person being joked at feels bad, it becomes a tease. And these "jokes" can be really hurtful, and decrease people's self-esteem. And you mentioned that you tried to talk to her about your thoughts and she ignored that, I feel that is really disrespectful and it seems like she is a bit egocentric and does not care about your feelings. If you want to continue this friendship, I suggest you to talk with her about all your feelings and thoughts face-to-face and seriously, and see how she reacts. From my perspective, you actually put a lot effort in this relationship by tolerating her and understanding her, and it seems like she is the person obtains more power in the relationship. Seriously, a friendship can't be maintained for a long time if the power in the relationship is unequal. If she really makes you uncomfortable (such as make you feel bad about yourself), I suggest to keep distance from her (to protect yourself).

Re: Toxic Best friend?

Hey thanks for sharing everything! I really related to what you said here "Keep in mind that I am a very closed up person who never stands up for myself or really anything because I get very anxious about being judged - something I think came about from M being so judgmental towards me and other people."

 

I am like this as well Smiley Sad I feel very sensitive to what others will think of me and will go out of my way to be agreeable even if that means taking a hit (metaphorically) and this is because my family/culture can be quite judgmental (into gossip/reputation) urgh it's really tiring.

 

Anyways, I think you have gut feelings for a reason. If you find yourself drifting from this friend and if this friend doesn't make you feel safe or comfortable then the bottom line is they're not the right friend for this moment in time. Sometimes that friend might be dealing with their own insecurities and they will put it on other people. But it's not ok when you feel like your needs aren't being met. I think a good friend will listen non judgementally, make your feelings heard and support you to live a better life. I don't really think she's at a stage where she's doing this for you and if that's the case, I think you may benefit (mental health wise) from making other friends, at least in the meanwhile. Having some distance can bring new perspective and remember to look out for your own mental health!

 

We should look forward to seeing friends! That's the bottom line. It's ok if you need more privacy or you time and if she's a good friend she will ALWAYS respect that. 

Re: Toxic Best friend?

What your going through must be really tough right now, and I really understand what your going through. Toxic friends can be really draining and I understand why you wanted to distance yourself from her.


From what I have read, she does seem like a toxic friend - if she is making you feel insecure, awful and guilty for having boundaries about your privacy, belittling your health concerns etc then this friendship is crossing into being toxic 


This article looks really helpful about identifying and distancing yourself from a toxic friend so I hope it’s helpful to you! 

https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/peaceful-parenting/201810/how-identi...

 

I also get really anxious about confrontation and so I found it most helpful to prioritise protecting myself when I do need to confront someone about how I am feeling. When I had a fall out with my best friend I found it much easier to have a friend sit by me when I texted her how I was feeling (texting makes me feel more protected and I could also step away and come back to the convo when it got too much). Since distancing myself I have felt so much more happier from spending time with friends who are actually supportive and kind to me. 

 

I’m sorry to hear your going through this, and i hope things get better Heart I’m not sure if my advice is good but I hope it helps in some way. Would love to hear if things work out for you 

 

Re: Toxic Best friend?

Hey @pstlcims, this sounds like an incredibly difficult situation. I can definitely understand that you may be feeling trapped and overwhelmed- your friend definitely sounds like she is a negative influence in your life. I've been going through something similar recently and it truly is a horrible feeling. It also sounds like you really empathise with A and feel really bad for him which is completely understandable. Have you been speaking to him recently?

Re: Toxic Best friend?

Yes I have been talking to A recently, him and I are still close fortunately. I’ve talked to him about the situation with me and M and he’s been super understanding and helpful too! 

I hope you find a way to get through your situation as well, I’ve been trying my best to distance myself from M and I’m already doing better after a few days without talking to her. 

Thank you for the reply. 

 

Re: Toxic Best friend?

Thank you so much for replying, and for linking the article! I’ve been distancing myself from her and have also recently hung out with a group of friends that have a much more positive effect on my well-being and have been feeling much better over the last few days.
I’m glad to see I’m not alone with feeling anxious about confrontation, I also find texting much more comfortable when in an argument, and I also typically have my sister nearby to help me.
Thanks again for the advice!