8 Ways to Recognize a Toxic Relationship

As I get older I find my tolerance for negativity grows less and less. It has taken some time, but now my skills for identifying and weeding out toxic relationships are better than ever. Life goes by very quickly and my thought is why should I waste it on people who make me miserable? If I can’t cut them out completely, I can at the very least limit the time spent with them to only when necessary. Is it wrong or selfish? Some may say it is but honestly it’s my life and if people cannot treat me well, there is no space in my life for them.

….and in the end, I’m happier and less stressed.

So here is my list for how to identify toxic relationships. Just a note that anyone can have a bad day or moment. What distinguishes toxic people from people who are going through a bad time is that toxic people have bad moments consistently.

You Are Uncomfortable Being Around Them – You are afraid to speak your mind. You feel they are always judging or criticizing people. If they speak about other people to you, chances are they are speaking to other people about you.  You need to measure your words very carefully.

It’s All About Them – Every conversation you have is about them, their family, their problems, their dreams, whatever. They never show any interest in what is happening with you. The truth is, they just don’t care.

You Feel Guilty – You feel obligated to do what they want because you don’t want to upset them.

You Feel Badly In Front of Others – They criticize you in front of friends and family. They mock you or belittle you or your ideas incessantly. You feel like you can never do anything right.

You Feel Drained After Talking to or Spending Time With Them – There is always a problem, always some drama. You feel like you are their therapist. They exhaust you.

You Feel Taken for Granted – You are their second choice and/or they cancel plans with you when something better comes along.

They Lie – There is always a reason, always an excuse. They are charming so you want to believe them, but you are regularly disappointed.

They Play Games – They will start a conversation via text and then drop off in the middle. They don’t call back when you call. You want to give them the benefit of the doubt but their behavior is consistent.

Have you noticed other ways to identify toxic relationships? Please share!


 (Photo Credits: ashishacoway / Pixabay


  1. Annie

    That’s a really good point. How we act is often a reflection of how our surroundings make us feel. Thanks for pointing that out!

  2. Annie

    So true! Even if it hurts at first, it’s really better in the long run –

  3. Donna DePaul Whelans

    Sadly, I can relate to this. Detaching from someone you once thought to be a good friend, can be upsetting (like mourning a death) …but in the end, cutting out the “emotional cancer” leaves you feeling healthier in the end.

  4. aventuringgirl

    What a great post, I think that we can all identity with this type of relationship! The only thing that I would add to this list is more of a symptom of being around people like that: I start acting like a really crappy person! Toxic people always bring out the bitchiest , meanest side of us; both in our actions toward others and especially toward ourselves! We all slip up or have a rant sometimes, but you always know when you’re going to far and it’s 9 times out of 10 down to the toxic company you keep!

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