People With These 5 Personality Traits Are The Most Likely To Be Toxic In Friendships

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Friends gossiping

Even platonic relationships can be complex and scary to navigate, and it's just wise to keep your eyes and ears open and alert for potential signs of a toxic friend or love.

People with certain personality traits are more likely to form toxic friendships and abusive relationships than others, and knowing what to watch for can help you avoid ever being subjected to their abuse in the first place.

To save yourself from potential heartbreak (and possible abuse), watch out for the signs of toxic friends with the potential to be abusive in relationships.

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Here are 5 personality traits that are the most likely to be toxic in friendships.

1. Spotlight-hogging

Everyone has ups and downs, and it’s perfectly okay for friends not to cheerlead every time something good happens. That would be unrealistic to expect. They have lives, too, and they get busy.

Yet, beware of the friends who seem super supportive when times are tough and then, without explanation, go M.I.A. when you get a promotion, new relationship, car, etc. It’s like they can’t handle the spotlight being on you.

Which brings me to the next trait.

2. Being an emotional black hole

As a psychotherapist, I often caution people to be mindful of how much they give in relationships versus take. I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t let your guard down or be generous with your friends, but there is some truth to the saying, “Friendship is a two-way street."

Stay alert for the signs someone expects you to be the giver in all the interactions.

You supported your friend’s new business launch, but they are nowhere to be found to plan the birthday party you asked them to help you with months ago. They expect you to be all ears while they vent about the boss you share, and then they ditch work early and leave you to finish the project the boss gave both of you. These are problems with your friendship.

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3. Showing harmful intolerance

Similarly to romantic partners, friends who are together long enough will eventually be involved in some argument. This is to be expected. But there are healthy ways to disagree that make debates lively and fun ways to expand your moral horizons rather than debilitating and demoralizing stressors.

Life would be boring if everyone agreed with you, but toxic friends will not tolerate you disagreeing with them. Ever.

After a disagreement with a friend like this, you'll likely find them sub-tweeting or vague-booking about the argument — posting motivational quotes on social media about how "true" friends are "eternally supportive."

As you read their passive-aggressive message, you can’t help but wonder if that was some reference to you, as there seems to be a connection between the last disagreement you had and the last time you were invited out, but nothing so specific you could irrefutably call them out on it.



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4. Acting possessive

Even the best of friends need to be able to spend time with other people from time to time, so watch out for toxic friends with manipulative personality traits who attempt to isolate you from everyone else you are close to.

Be wary if they exclude others from spending time with you or act possessive or angry when you tell them you are spending time with your college roommate or family visiting from out of town.

You deserve the freedom to hang out with whomever you choose, and your friends should also have other friendships (and lives!) of their own, and sometimes, those friendships may not include you.

It’s unrealistic, unhealthy, and potentially abusive for someone to assume they should be the only person you spend time with. After all, if you spend every waking moment together, what would you ever talk about?

It’s similar to couples who work together, spend evenings together, and then go to sleep together at the same time every night. At some point, everyone needs to do activities alone to grow independently and regroup once they’ve had time to recharge.



5. Draining your emotional resources

Toxic friends are draining because they only care about themselves. They may be financially draining, emotionally draining, spiritually draining, or some combination of all three.

This can be a challenging one to spot. This personality trait may not be immediate and is likely to become more and more problematic over an extended period.

Notice how often your friend offers to cover for you. If you are spiritual, do they allow you to discuss your beliefs, or are they just trying to convince you to attend church with them this Sunday? If they're fighting with their spouse and not speaking with them temporarily, do they get angry with you when you say a friendly hello to their partner in passing?

Friendships offer so much enrichment to our lives, from support to fun times to celebrating each other’s milestones along the way, but they are also complex and can be scary to navigate without proper guidance.

Many people are suddenly uncertain whether they ever truly knew someone they've once called their best friend, as that person is behaving in ways they don't recognize. This commonly leads to feelings of guilt — "I should have known they weren't my friend!" — followed by additional hurt as that so-called friend denies there’s a problem or perhaps cuts off communication with you without warning.

That's why it's crucial to regularly evaluate your friendships and relationships to make sure they are balanced and supportive.

There are ways to know if you are heading toward a toxic friendship with someone before pieces of your broken heart need repair.

We’ve all been there at one point or another, but knowing which personality types to be wary of can help you avoid making ill-fated connections with toxic friends.

Ultimately, you have a right to be who you are in your relationships.

Friendships and people do change over time, and arguably, you may change, too.

Just as you would donate shoes that may no longer fit you or clothes that have holes in them, it is always a good idea to regularly reassess your friendships and then rid yourself of friends with toxic personality traits that cause you distress.

The friends who remain in your life will propel you forward and uplift you rather than make you feel trapped, insecure, or exhausted.

RELATED: People With These 8 Personality Traits Are The Least Likely To Break Your Heart

Maxine Langdon Starr, Ph.D., LMFT is a marriage and family therapist specializing in adolescents and young adults, partner/owner of Sunflower Therapies, professor of psychology at Brandman University, and motivational speaker on self-esteem.