How To Identify Toxic Friendships


Let go of the people who dull your shine, poison your spirit, and bring your drama. 

~ Dr. Steve Maraboli

Hey, Lovelies.

We’ve all had our share of unequal or downright damaging relationships, but I find that sensitive souls are at highest risk of exploitation in relationships. Sensitive souls are naturally trusting, they place a high value on loyalty and on the well-being of others, and they enjoy helping people. But they can be so busy being a friend, and a helpful friend at that, that they don’t take a moment to see if their friendship is truly reciprocated…

So, what does a healthy friendship look like?

In a good friendship you may have shared interests or nothing in common, but you are interested in each other’s lives. There will be respect, trust, kindness, genuine enjoyment of each other’s company, a balance of giving and receiving, care and love, support, non-judgement, respected boundaries, laughter, tears and exchanges of wisdoms, worries, trivia and the deepest secrets of your heart. A friend is there for you, and when there are problems you can communicate and work them through. Friends lift each other up. Friends get us through the darkest hours.

But not all friendships are created equal. Sometimes we end up in a toxic relationship. Our friend becomes a frenemy.

So, how can you tell if that’s what has happened to you?


Here are some signs of a toxic friendship:

  • their needs are always more important than yours
  • they don’t respect significant people in your life such as your partner, children, family or other friendships
  • they steal your ideas, friends, time and money
  • they ingratiate themselves with friends and family and then erode your position with those people
  • you feel drained rather than supported
  • they lie to you, or play games
  • you begin to think that maybe it is you, and you spend a lot of time working on the relationship or ‘fixing’ things about yourself
  • you never hear from them unless they want something from you
  • you’re the only one putting effort into the relationship
  • they sabotage or derail your successes and otherwise stunt your growth
  • they manipulate and guilt-trip you
  • they are full of promises but never deliver, back out at the last minute, or change the rules without asking: eg you organise a lunch for the two of you and they bring three friends you don’t know
  • oversteps boundaries and engages in inappropriate behaviour with you or others associated with you
  • borrows things and never returns them, or treats your possessions with little respect eg car comes back dirty and empty after they use it, lose your stuff or loan it out to others without your permission
  • they are hot and cold with you and you never know where you stand
  • they can’t keep your confidences
  • they’re never there for you, but expect you to be there for them, day or night, 24/7
  • they speak badly about you to others
  • they use you to get something that they want, and when they have it they’re done with you
  • they put you down, or make compliments that actually are sweetly disguised insults, and if you call them on it somehow it’s actually your fault or your problem

Let’s face it, in a toxic relationship, it’s all about THEM!

It’s often hard for sensitive people in toxic relationships to end the friendship. They’ll keep trying to help, keep trying to heal things, and keep trying to make it better.

If you find yourself hurting and confused in a relationship where being with a person makes you feel worse rather than better, if the signs of a toxic friendship are there, then walk away. The energy you give to an unhealthy and unsatisfying friendship would be better spent on having a good relationship with yourself. Staying in toxic relationships does immense damage over time. Sensitive people can lose themselves entirely.

If the person is a family member, or other complicated relationship where it’s harder to walk away, minimise your time with them, stop sharing personal information, and do all you can to shield yourself from their energies. Sometimes you even need to sever the ties there too.

The world is full of wonderful people, and somewhere out there is a person who’ll be able to give back what you share with them – which is what true friendship is all about.

Above all, value yourself. We live in a reciprocal Universe, and the Universe gets its prompts from us about how we should be treated. If we let it be okay for others to treat us badly, the Universe will just keep delivering more of that energy to us.

Sending you love, and cheering you on, Nicole xx

PS – Need some help with managing your sensitivity? Get a copy of The Journeymaker’s Planner 2023.

The Journeymaker’s Planner is a spiritual toolkit disguised as a diary & planner. Learn to tap into your intuition, and follow your heart’s path using skills like meditation, mindfulness, journaling, self-care, intuitive tarot or oracle card reading, energy work, and much more. If you’re already using the Planner you’ll know what a wonderful companion it can be for both the good and the hard times in life.

You can get it here.

It’s an absolutely beautiful Planner, and I know it will support you well in the year ahead.

Go to my Etsy store now to get your copy, and then make sure to join the free Facebook Group and the free course that come with the Planner (details will be in your Planner download instructions), and stay tuned for some exciting events coming up in December and January!



Hi! I'm Nicole Cody. I am a writer, psychic, metaphysical teacher and organic farmer. I love to read, cook, walk on the beach, dance in the rain and grow things. Sometimes, to entertain my cows, I dance in my gumboots. Gumboot dancing is very under-rated.
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One thought on “How To Identify Toxic Friendships

  1. Yep. Been there. Two years ago, a close friend (at the time) decided to stop communication with me without telling me why. I thought it was me and I searched within myself to see what I could have done and found nothing. I reached out to her in an email last year and her response was “when I figure it out, then we have something to talk about.” Hugh????? Several weeks ago, I bumped into her at a farmer’s market (first time I saw her in two years) and she hugged me and talked as if nothing ever happened between us. Hugh???? As I looked back on our relationship, I was used and controlled by her and I allowed it to happen because I was “being a good loyal friend”.

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