Toxic friends.

The very phrase sends shivers of the Sads down my back because I've been on the receiving end of enough toxic friendships to last a lifetime. These friendships never start out as bad for us, but over time, it becomes apparent that that's exactly what they are. Luckily, I've learned a little about the whole phenomenon along the way.

Here are some warning signs that one of your friendships has turned toxic. And not in the Britney Spears song kind of way. 

1) She gives compliments that are actually - when you stop and think about it - insults.

2) She makes jokes around other people - often ones that are humiliating and embarrassing at your expense. If you dare look sad or angry, she laughs and says things like, "Well, it's true!" or "I was only joking."

3) Whenever things don't go her way, or if you've dared to say "no" to her, she'll stop talking to you until you acquiesce to her demands or desires.

4) You realize that you've begun to dread hearing from her via email, phone, or text, and will go to great lengths to avoid her, even if you can't pinpoint why.

5) You know she's talking trash about you - but if you confront her, she'll deny it or shift the blame onto you. "Well, if you weren't so..."

6) She's got a lot of time to moan about her problems, but should you dare bring up your own, it'll be met with a brush-off like, "At least... (insert statement like, "you're not on fire.")

7) You realize how many eggshells you have to tiptoe around simply to make sure she's not "angry" with you or your behavior.

8) She manipulates you. If you aren't able to make it out for a party because your kid is home sick or something, she'll reward you with a whopping guilt trip or refuse to speak to you at all.

9) She never follows through. She's promised to help you move, be your "shoulder to cry on," and be the one who will be your surrogate boyfriend while you're single, and when you actually need her, you don't bother trying to get a hold of her - she won't be there and you know it.

10) She's not afraid to hit on any guy you dig. Doesn't matter how many times you've told her you like the dude, she's all over him whenever you're around.

11) Her emotional maintenance makes the amount of time you put into your resume look like child's play. You have to cater to her emotions and plan for her reactions like it's your job. (Hint: it's totally not your job).

12) You realize that every time you talk about her, you have to defend her to the rest of your friends (and partner). Her bitch face may actually be her real face.

13) She's so self-absorbed that she thinks you should drop everything you're doing the moment she "needs" you for such crises as "I gained 2 pounds," or "So-and-so unfriended me on Facebook."

14) She's so competitive you've learned not to bother talking about your accomplishments. If you got a cell phone, she's got the latest smart phone. If you have a boyfriend, hers bought her an engagement ring.

15) She talks crap about everyone she's ever met, and can do so for hours. Doesn't matter one way or another whether it's true. Just don't be shocked when you find out she's doing it to you, too.

What are some other signs you have a toxic friend? Have you experienced a toxic friendship? How'd you end it?



Image via spoon/Flickr