Your best friend is the first person you look for at school in the morning and the last person you text at night. You wear each other’s socks and finish each other’s sentences. But lately, after a day of hanging out, you feel drained, not sustained. Maybe your friend won’t let you make a single decision for yourself. Maybe their favorite activity is running other people down. Or maybe you just don’t like who you are around them.
Sound familiar? Then you might be in a toxic friendship. “Toxic friendships happen when one person is being emotionally harmed or used by another, making the relationship more of a burden than support,” says Suzanne Degges-White, author of Toxic Friendships. A bad friendship can increase your blood pressure, lower your immunity, and affect your mental health.
But despite wreaking havoc on your mind, body, and spirit, toxic friendships can be tough to spot. That’s because most start out strong—why else would you become friends in the first place? The good news is, we can help you diagnose an unhealthy bond before it becomes a full-blown sickness. Read on to understand the seven most common kinds of toxic friendships and how to fix them.