Here are seven signs you’ve got a toxic friend.
Used and Abused
If your friend is frequently borrowing money (but never paying it back), needing rides to work or to the store, needs some errands ran, needs a babysitting or pet-sitting, or any other number of things, then you have a toxic friend that is using you (or abusing you). A friendship should act as a bridge between two people, but if it’s only a one-way street and serves to meet the needs of only the one, then that is too toxic to continue in that kind of relationship.
Leading into Sin
When my son was young, he got into trouble one day and I later found out, his friend was always getting others into trouble. This particular boy would end up in trouble a lot, but when they went to the principal’s office, his friend would always point to others (including my son, once). This meant that he’d get others blamed for something that he did. If you have a friend that entices you to sin, or tries to lead you into places where you might sin, stop and think; is this person really my friend?
Gossips About You
Gossip is such a terrible sin because it’s so destructive, but when you hear gossip about you who heard it from your friend, that’s a sign of a toxic friend. Rather than give up on that friend, why not confront them and ask them why you heard something about you from another person. Or, why did they gossip about you? Hold them accountable. If this doesn’t work, you may have to walk away from this toxic friend…at least for a time.
It’s All About Them
If you have a friend that only focuses on themselves, then you might have a toxic relationship, if not a toxic friend. People who are obsessed about themselves have a harder time finding friends, and of course, you can understand why, but at least try to talk with them about it. Tell them that friendship is a mutual relationship. There are no one-way streets in relationships, or it’s not a relationship at all.
I had a friend years ago who I did a huge favor for but I have never been paid back for that. I was helping a friend invest in a house that he bought. It was a fixer-upper and he wanted to fix it up to sell it and give me some of the profit. He kept pestering me all the time to come over and help him, and I did, investing money and time. I did this for about a year when suddenly I stopped hearing from him, so I went by his house, and it was sold and he was gone. My “friend” has used guilt on me to make me do something I didn’t really want to do and then took my investment with him and vanished. That’s a sign of a toxic friend.
If you notice your friend is a different person in public or in front of others than they are when they’re with you, so that’s not a good sign at all, because a person that lives in such duplicity betrays a heart with a split loyalty. They want to be accepted and popular with the world but still be considered a Christian, but a friend of the world is an enemy of God (James 4:4). If you have a friend who is pretending to be someone they are not, then watch out.
Resistant to God
If your friend is resistant to anything about God, the Bible, and Jesus, then they might influence you to do the same. When you go places with someone who doesn’t have any regard for God, you’re going to find that they will say and do things that you think are sinful. If you have a friend that does something that is clearly sin while you’re with them, you have a toxic friend.
Just because your friend has some of these symptoms don’t mean you have to give up on them, but a good question is, “Do I have these sings before my friends?” Do I treat my family, co-workers, or neighbors like this, so how are we like this? Friends never let friends hurt themselves or others by their behavior and practices, but neither do they let them hurt their own friends. Hold them accountable.