6 Types of Toxic Friends and How You Can Deal with Them

From When Friendship Hurts: How to Deal With Friends Who Betray, Abandon, or Wound You

Excerpted and adapted by Dr. Jan Yager and reprinted, with permission, of Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

There is no crystal ball to predict that a particular friend will turn out to be a reliable, positive relationship in your life or, by contrast, that a negative association will cause you emotional distress, or worse. Since destructive or negative friends are not always that easy to spot, being forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes. Some friends may be betrayers from the start; others may turn into betrayers because of what's going on in their lives or because of changes in their personality. Sometimes you need to consider what your friend is really like within the contexts of all the behaviors. I can't emphasize enough that you need to consider the root cause.

Here, excerpted from Chapter 2 in When Friendship Hurts, are six traits to consider that could pose a problem in friendship. (You may even recognize yourself in one or more of these types.)

  1. The Promise Breaker
  2. The Double-crosser
  3. The Self-absorbed
  4. The Discloser
  5. The Competitor
  6. The Fault-finder

1. The Promise Breaker

This friend constantly disappoints you or breaks promises, most likely because she herself was constantly disappointed during her formative years. Your friend is unable to stop herself from repeating that pattern. It is an annoying but comfortable pattern for your friend, and without psychological help, it may be hard for her or him to alter this pattern. You could abandon the friend and the friendship, or you could find a way to detach yourself by lowering your expectations for this friendship. If she promises to do something for you, even to meet you for a cup of coffee, you can say, "Sure," but protect yourself by knowing, in the back of your mind, that this friend "nine times out of 10" is going to cancel on you.

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