Aside from the vague “Be a good person” adage, there isn’t exactly a road map when it comes to friendships. Humans are messy and imperfect beings (even more so when they’re grouped together), and the balance of platonic relationships can occasionally seem tenuous in the light of such flaws.
Every friend group possesses one person who is simultaneously loved and resented by the member of said friend group. Everyone appreciates who this person is at their genuine core, but this person’s behavioral ticks and tendencies can start to drive a wedge between them and the rest of their friend group.
This person is known as the “toxic friend.”
While many of us are very familiar with the notion of a “toxic friend,” and can likely identify one in our own friend group, we may unknowingly possess many behavioral tendencies which reflect the personalities of toxic friend — we may actually be the problem.
Here are a few signs that you may be singling yourself out as a toxic member of your particular group:
Related-ish: 9 Signs You’re In An Emotionally Abusive Friendship
1. You’re constantly critical.
You find yourself spouting snarky remarks about your friends’ clothing or life choices more often than you find yourself saying anything supportive. You’re more concerned with being the smartest person in the room than being the nicest.
2. You feel jealous of your friends’ accomplishments.
Your friend just got a promotion at work! However, instead of feeling proud, you just feel a sinking in your stomach, and a wave of jealousy sets in. You have somehow just managed to turn your friend’s good news into a problem that’s all about yourself.
3. You’re not very empathetic to your friends’ problems.
When your friend is going through a rough period, you find yourself feeling a little annoyed or unemotional when they turn to you for a shoulder to cry on. You then somehow manage to turn the conversation into a venting session for YOUR problems. Basically: you talk more than you listen.
4. You’re possessive.
You don’t like it when your friend joins secondary friends groups or starts hanging out with new people. You feel a strange sense of entitlement when it comes to their time and attention.
5. You’re very single-minded.
Your thoughts are constantly on yourself and your own problems, and you don’t have much brain space to spare for your friends. You don’t take pictures of funny things you think they’d like, or take a moment to text them and ask how their day’s going.
6. You find yourself gossiping about them.
You can’t really help yourself if you hear someone spilling some juicy dirt about your friends. Instead of abstaining from the conversation, you find yourself taking part and talking shit.
7. You guilt them into doing things.
If you’re in a partying mood, but they don’t feel like going out, you’ll remind them that you gave them a ride home last week, and they OWE you. Your friendship with them suddenly becomes a debt that needs to be paid.
8. You pass judgement on them when they do something you don’t agree with.
Instead of listening with empathy, you find yourself wrinkling your nose at your friend’s decisions. You want them to know how YOU feel about their choices, rather than being quietly supportive.
9. You always want to make decisions for the group.
When it comes to deciding where to go for the evening, your opinion is inevitably shouted louder than anyone else’s. You have a preconceived idea of how the night should go, and you are unwilling to compromise with anyone else’s wishes.
10. You pout when you don’t get your way.
In the (unlikely) event that your friends go against your suggestions for what to do or where to go, you will either sulk and pout for the remainder of the evening, or leave them behind and go solo. Either way, you will make it KNOWN that you didn’t get what you want, and that you aren’t happy about it.
11. You tend to be argumentative.
You often find yourself bickering with a friend over a relatively small issue. You are easily offended, and tend to react before you have a chance to calm down and mull things over. You fight even if there’s no reason to fight.
12. You have difficulty being generous.
Your friend says they’ll get the first round of drinks, and suggests you get the second round — but you feel uncomfortable spending money on anyone’s drink other than your own. You don’t like lending things to people, and are very uncomfortable when your friends ask to borrow any of your possessions.
If you found yourself identifying with one too many of these traits, don’t wallow and assume that you are unlovable and a terrible friend. These behaviors can all be easily remedied with the right intentions. All you need to do is take a step back and remind yourself to think of your friends first, and that relationships often require compromise and tweaking. It’s all about making an effort.
Related-ish: 10 Ways To Tell If You’re In A Toxic Relationship