Five Types of Toxic Friends

Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” The individuals you’re with help to determine what you value, what you do on a daily basis, and your general outlook on life. Your success is impacted by the people you hang out with every day, which is why it’s crucial to look at the people around you and make sure you avoid these five types of toxic friends.

5 Types of Toxic Friends

Five Types of Toxic Friends

The Naysayer:

This person’s sole function is to make you feel bad about yourself. They are a constant negative presence in both what they say and how they act. They will drain your energy, positivity, and drive. Making yourself successful can be hard enough— who needs someone making your journey even more difficult? Nobody wants an extra devil on your shoulder to whisper that you’ll never achieve anything you want or you’re not good enough.

The Gossiper:

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” If you’re looking to be successful in your life and career, it’s important to steer clear of small-minded habits such as gossiping about others. We’ve all associated with people who gossip, but the more you participate in gossip, the harder it is to control. It can be easy to get sucked into that behavior, but it should be avoided as much as possible. It’s unprofessional, unkind, and nosy. It also takes time away from the work you should be focused on, and if you’re really hustling, you don’t have time to talk negatively about others.

The Uncaring Friend:

If you’re discussing your latest adventure over dinner with a friend and they haven’t offered more than a monosyllabic response, it’s time to re-evaluate that friendship. Of course, what interests you will not always hold the same fascination for all of your friends, but they should at least be supportive. Your friends should be your cheerleaders. They should be excited and proud of your accomplishments.

The One-Upper :

We all know one of these people. They have a better phone, get a better grade, got a bigger promotion, and ramble endlessly about their hot-shot connections. They are engaged in an endless, not-so-unspoken competition with you in their quest to prove to themselves they are doing better than everyone else. Try not to get sucked in to their vicious cycle. Remember to focus on your own success as opposed to comparing yourself to other people’s.

The Debbie Downer:

Sometimes there is a person on a team or in a friendship who just doesn’t pull their weight. They don’t seem to have any passion for anything except going home or scrolling through social media. This behavior can dampen your enthusiasm. It also makes you bitter, because chances are you will have to do the work assigned to them in addition to your own, or you have a totally one-sided friendship. That definitely changes the atmosphere from one of optimism and ambition to one of angst and resentment. And really, who has the time for that? There is greatness to be achieved, and it probably won’t come from scrolling through social media during a brainstorming session or happy hour.

If you’re reading this and thinking of toxic people in your life, that’s a big sign. But remember some of these behaviors might stem from their emotions or insecurities. If you have a one-upper friend, talk to her about her tendency to belittle your achievements in a well thought out way. If you’re friends with a gossip queen, bring up current events next time you grab coffee and see if you can change the conversation. Ultimately, you want to be around people who build you up, and you should try and build others up as well.

By Lora Ghawaly for Mavenly + Co., a community of young women having honest conversations about college, career and life and helping them create a lifestyle by their own design. This post was originally published on Mavenly + Co. Image via J. Crew.

15 Responses to Five Types of Toxic Friends

  1. That quote by Eleanor Roosevelt is one of my favorites! This is such a great topic with good tips to remember as we go through life.

  2. Kait says:

    I love this list because it’s so true! This year I have been very careful about what types of people I let into my life. For too long I had way too many Debbie Downer friends and life is just too short!

  3. alex says:

    Great post!! So true. Thanks for sharing!
    Xo, Alex

  4. Laura says:

    Great post! Some friends are just so toxic!

    Laura B. |

  5. Cristina says:

    I feel like I have finally reached a point in my life where I’ve been ok with having a smaller amount of friends and not sticking in toxic friendships! I feels great and it’s so nice to have a strong support system.


  6. Such a great post, girl! Thanks for sharing.
    Kayla || Keynotes from Kay

  7. Kayla says:

    SO thankful and happy to say that I don’t have any friends like this in my life. I’m super careful about who I keep around and I think that adds to my success and happiness every day!

    Kayla |

  8. Annaliese says:

    I have definitely had my fair share of experiences with toxic friendships in the past year so I can relate to this post! Such important info to be aware of.

    xoxo A

  9. Ashley says:

    Great post. These can be tough to recognize in relationships, but so important in weeding out those toxic friendships in your life!

    xo Ashley

  10. Amy says:

    In the past year I did a lot of cleaning of toxic relationships from my life. It’s been tough, but I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders! Thanks for sharing with us!

    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  11. Oksana says:

    Such a great post, especially about toxic Debbie Downers! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Teresa says:

    This list is SOO accurate. Love it.

  13. I have a friend that is a one upper and it has gotten to the point that I don’t even want to talk to her. It is always a competition now.

  14. Tiffani says:

    Friendships are so hard, but finding out what kind of friend someone is early on has seriously saved me so many times.

  15. Sara Kate says:

    Ugh. Isn’t it unfortunate, but I can literally think of different friends for each of these. SO true and sometimes it’s good to take a step back and evaluate your friendships.

    Sara Kate Styling

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