Your best friend is supposed to be that person you can go to for anything—inspiration and encouragement, relationship advice, bonding over hilarious mishaps, the struggles of work and school—they’re your chosen family. But sometimes, just like with families, our best friends can be toxic for us. Here are the signs that your BFF is no longer healthy for you and it’s time to cut the ties:
In public your BFF “jokingly” talks about your insecurities. Maybe it’s your weight, a ‘weird’ phobia you have (like coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, which by the way is a totally valid fear to have, clowns are scary); or those poems you’ve only shared with her and aren’t ready to let the world weigh in on yet, and she knows you’re uncomfortable with it, but she totally brings it up when there’s a huge group of people listening. You’re standing there, awkwardly trying to pretend it’s okay when it is so not okay.
It’s all about her and never about you. It’s consistently all about your bestie, and you never get a chance to share about yourself, and if you do, it always ends up coming back to her somehow. You shouldn’t have to scream like a banshee or flail your arms for your BFF to notice you. You don’t want to have the glazed ‘smile and nod’ plastered on your face forever while they drone on endlessly about themselves.
She knowingly goes after the person you’re crushing on. Sure, there’s probably going to be the occasional complication where the two of you dig the same person. But you’ve noticed a pattern where over and over again you’ve let her know you like someone and she just happens to go after them as well and you’re left standing there thinking:
She makes you doubt how you feel. You’ve brought up something that’s troubling you—whether it’s about your relationship with each other or just something you’re going through like school stress, family issues, or partner problems—and she plays off how you’re feeling, saying ‘it’s not that big of a deal’ or ‘you should just lighten up.’ You know your thoughts and opinions are valid, so her being unable to understand where you’re coming from has you internally screaming:
She dislikes that you have other meaningful friendships. The two of you get along really well and it’s easy to be yourself around her, and yet she dislikes that you’ve got other meaningful friendships in your life besides the one you have with her. A true best friend would be happy that you’ve got so many wonderful people in your life, not angry that she isn’t the only one you care about. Love doesn’t get maxed out, we can have more than one close friend and there will still be plenty of love left over for our best bud.
She gives you backhanded compliments. You’re feeling pretty fierce in a killer outfit or hyped about something you’ve created (like a painting or a short story) and you show your friend, only to have her react less than enthused, saying something like ‘Is that really what you’re going to wear? I just want to make sure you look your best.’ She almost gets away with it because it seems like it could be nice, but we know that’s not truly supportive.
Best friends are the people you can rant with, excitedly geek out with, and have existential discussions with. There should be an ebb and flow—a balance between the two of you—where you both feel like your voices are heard and like the other person truly cares about you, listens to what you have to say, and respects you. Real friends will love your unique, goofy self and won’t try to change you.
The best kind of BFF will be someone who feels good to be around and who brightens up your world. If that isn’t the case with your current bestie, it’s probably time to do some re-evaluating. That may mean leaving your friend, if she’s hindering your self-love, as she’s not the type of person who you want to have around. There are tons of wonderful people out there who’ll be delighted to meet your splendid self.