Everyone Should Get Rid Of Their Toxic Friends

Being someone’s friend doesn’t seem like a difficult job. How hard is to treat someone you like with respect and, you know, be there for them?

Oh, right. I guess it’s really hard. People fail at it everyday! Bad friends are easier to find than good friends these days. Cool!

If you’re sitting there and wondering if you are, in fact, a bad friend, let me define it for you.

A bad friend is someone whose jealousies and insecurities outweigh their love for someone. Deep down, they might want to be a good friend and care but they’re too messed up in their own head to ever actually do it. Instead, they act paranoid and possessive, saying things like, “This is MY best friend. Oh, you know so-and-so? I’m super close with them!” This type of person can also be an unattractive mix of territorial and paranoid. They wonder if their friends are hanging out without them or if they’re being forgotten and left behind. People who are violently insecure don’t have what it takes to be a quality friend. Their own issues and neuroses get in the way.

A bad friend is someone who feels the need to undercut what you’re saying and take little jabs. Of course, with close friends, it’s always fine to take jabs at each other but you know whether or not it’s coming from a good place. Putting your friend down often isn’t “Ha, ha ha.” It’s more like, “Ew, with friends like you, who needs enemies?!

Bad friends are narcissistic and self-obsessed. They look for any opportunity to bring the conversation back to them. Worse, they might not even be aware that they’re doing it. In their mind, they might think they are the best friend ever, which is truly frightening.

Bad friends are fair-weathered. They’re by your side when you’re fun and you have something to give them but as soon as you’re going through a difficult time, they are conveniently MIA. They won’t bring you cold medicine. They won’t give you a ride to the doctor. Everything they do is self-serving.

Bad friends wince when you tell them good news. They say they’re happy for you but deep down they’re devastated that you’ve eclipsed them in some area of life. They’re not your cheerleader, they’re your detractor. You’re allowed to move up in the world when they do.

If you find yourself relating to a lot of these or feel like you have a friend who has these same characteristics, dump their asses and send them to Bad Friend jail immediately. Life is hard enough without you having to wonder if you have good people around you. Your friends are supposed to be the solution to your problems, not the source.

I feel like your twenties are a time when you cut the fat and find out who’s really meant to stick by you. In such an insane time of transition, friendships aren’t easy to maintain like they once were in college. Now we actually have to put work into it, we have to make a conscious effort to keep the friendship going. This shift allows you to really ask yourself, “Is this person worth it? Do they treat me like crap or what?” And if you have your doubts, chances are they  aren’t meant to be a part of your tribe. Toxic friendships do nothing but drag you down. Feeling heavy this summer? Thin out your contacts list! It’ll give you the same feeling as going on a liquid cleanse! (Uh, sorta.)

My point is that you have to take care of yourself and stop hanging out with douchebags. Only surround yourself with people who bring out the best qualities in you. It sounds corny but it’s true. If you don’t like the way you act when you’re around someone, maybe you should reconsider being around them.

It’s time to build your second family. The friends you have now will likely be the ones you have forever, so you might as well make sure they’re solid!TC Mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • http://twitter.com/Lavinia_Vanilia Ana Lavinia (@Lavinia_Vanilia)

    This is so true. I am actually seeing a shrink because the negative feedback I get from my friends. This summer is high season for me to let some of them go. Thanks for the article!

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/07/everyone-should-get-rid-of-their-toxic-friends/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] Thought Catalog » Life Add a comment […]

  • http://ritaghiyu.tumblr.com Ritu

    Is the picture of you and a toxic ex-friend?

    • GUEST

      I was wondering the exact same thing.

      • Guest

        Me too.

      • Ryan O'Connell

        haha no it’s my best friend ever

  • me

    I needed this like five months ago hahaha, but great article.

  • Ellie

    I needed this RIGHT now.
    Read the article four times and now I’m going to kick my toxic posse to the curb.
    Gurl power man.

  • Nina


  • Nina

    I did a friend dump and defriended people on Facebook. While it felt great and empowering for the first few hours, I realized I had made some things awkward. Word to the wise: friend dump, but do it slowly and gradually…

  • adrianduane

    Reblogged this on The world according to Adrian Duane… and commented:
    A post to live by!

  • http://youlovemercedes.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/why-we-are-no-longer-friends-a-rant-about-the-friends-ive-ditched-from-high-school/ Why We Are No Longer Friends: A Rant About the Friends I’ve Ditched from High School « You Love Mercedes

    […] the spirit of Ryan O’Connell’s “Everyone Should Get Rid Of Their Toxic Friends”, I present to you one of my proudest pieces of bitch-shaming. High school has been over and done […]

  • Sammy

    It sounds so easy, yet hard. Especially when that “friend” helped you in something and you feel like you devote some sort of friendship amongst you two.

  • Ana

    I’m a really shitty friend then.

  • http://felicianicole.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/bffn-best-friends-for-now/ BFF(N): Best Friends…For Now | Suit Yourself

    […] I’m told there are at least 21 ways I should take advantage of my 20s, that I should start getting rid of my toxic friends, that my Sex and the City obsession may be an attempt to understand what womanhood really means, […]

  • mimiunicornify

    holy fucking shit. i love this one oh so much! a to the freaking men, man! <3

  • Nathan Mak

    Sometimes bad friends need friends themselves and don’t know they’re bad.

  • http://mackenziefiorente.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/frenemies-2/ Frenemies « blissfully inebriated
  • http://mackenziefiorente.wordpress.com/ Mackenzie Fiorente

    “Aside from relating to both content and style of aforementioned piece ( yeah, you, Ryan), what struck me most about it was its excellent timing, as, coincidentally, quite a few of people I know (friends and frenemies alike) actually seem to be ‘going through this’ (first world problem if I ever saw one).”

  • http://arihanta.wordpress.com arihanta

    Honestly, I feel this should have been learnt in grade school.

  • http://attackofthezack.com zacharywiedman

    Pretty right on the money. You nailed it when you said they don’t even know what they’re doing. I find these types of toxic people are selfish, the world revolves around them and completely oblivious to your feelings. But, when you say something to them, it’s the end of the world.

    • http://darthkater.wordpress.com Darth Kater

      Exactly, Zachary.

      After two months of being suddenly “unwanted” by a so-called friend, and as we share mutual friends, I approached them in a kind, non-accusatory email. I was accountable for and honest about why I’d not been myself since May (loss of a loved one, betrayal by boss, quitting of my beloved job, the anniversary of my dad’s death, Father’s Day)–I APOLOGIZED for being authentically sad, in pain, and depressed!?

      As soon as things started not going well for me, they wanted nothing to do with me. This behaviour followed passive-aggressive, nasty, embarrassing remarks written in comments to me via Jerkbook (deleted, replaced by other less, but also nasty remarks; I saw the initial comments before deletion), and a nasty, angry message sent to me in June (I’d “offended” them with comments relative to … my mother … who they’ve never met) …

      My approach and honesty was met with FRUSTRATION, castigation, admonishment, a “how dare you” tone, and being told that I was out of line (actuality: they were embarrassed that they couldn’t remember words uttered/their own behaviours, because they were drunk at the time). I had been very careful in how I approached the person, addressing them as I would like others to approach me: kindly, without malice or accusations.

      I was basically told that I was an idiot for my “crazy, long message”. They “don’t have time” for such, “won’t stand for it”, make no apologies for being blunt (and rude!). Disparaging remarks made, oneupmanship ….

      It’s a lack of accountability, self-absorption, and a Queen Bee attitude which I’ve witnessed over and over again (their relationships with others, and myself). I am disposable if I do not meet their needs (instant gratification), am their “buddy” (when they want me to be); they don’t want any part of my life if it’s not “fun and light”, or otherwise.

      Childish enough to blatantly ignore any comments I’ve written in response to their Facebook content (but replying to others, promptly) …

      We have mutual friends, many of whom worship the ground the person walks-on. I will suffer the social consequences for “making mountains out of molehills”. The truth of the matter: a lot of the time, I feel badly when around that person (a third wheel, unable to be myself, or ignored while they text their multitude of online “buddies”) … I can’t do it anymore.

      So rather than remove them as “friend”, and face the wrath, I’ve suspended my entire FB account. I will probably receive angry text messages, or be met with judgmental words in public (if I’m not ignored, for their insecurity) …


      Sad: such a decision will affect my relationships with others, who will remain in the Queen’s court. But at the end of the day, if I’m not a friend to myself, then who will be, right?

  • http://www.wetinkwisdom.com Amy

    I got rid of all the toxic folks in my life about three years ago. Best thing ever.

  • http://twitter.com/brittanyroehrs Brittany Roehrs (@brittanyroehrs)


  • http://www.facebook.com/shanejs Shane Joseph

    You are hands down my favorite writer on here. I relate 100% to everything you talk about. God bless you and thanks for inspiring and feeding me daily.

  • Anon

    Eating disorders are the most toxic of friends

  • Emily

    I just got a text for the first time in months from my crazy ex-best friend and I was debating replying but then I read this. A+

  • http://www.sparrowandsea.com Jess @ Sparrow + Sea

    So true. Sometimes it’s very difficult to recognise when a person is being a frenemy not a friend. I usually feel inexplicably tired and drained after spending time with them. That’s my sign that it’s time to make a change (and that it’s okay to do so!)

  • J

    the ginger in the pic looks like she loves anal

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