Skip to main content

Is My Friend Toxic? 5 Types of Problematic Friends

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
These problematic types are more common than you think.

These problematic types are more common than you think.

1. The Beautiful, Exciting Friend

Most girls have one friend who is significantly more popular and fun than their other friends. This is the person that you ditch your regular social group for, because you always have the time of your life with her.

Comparable to Effy from Skins, she is probably a terrible influence on you, but you are attracted to her style, wit and carefree energy. She's all leather jackets and skimpy outfits, and you put her on a pedestal as an angelic demi-god, based on the fact that you very rarely see her when you're sober. This means that the friendship is supported by intoxicated, sacred memories of you two in rum-induced bliss.

She has transcended the human state in your eyes and is now the living embodiment of vodka, heavy club makeup, intimate conversations in toilet cubicles and the way that you feel a million dollars when you go out with her. For this reason, you let a lot of things slide and ignore warning signs of her being quite irresponsible and occasionally a poor friend.

You might also be just a little bit attracted to her, but that's mainly just female admiration, right? You don't quite know, but she sure is gorgeous when she's covered in glitter, and you feel in love with the world when you and she are causing chaos on the 5 a.m. night bus. Goodness, this girl is so much better than your regular friends. Even though you're loyal to them, you feel like she shows you what proper friendship is; this fills you with joy until you remember that you're probably her eighth favourite friend, while she's your number one.

You treasure your deep, truthful conversations with her, mainly because it's always you asking her about her love life, her emotions and her regrets. She's more than content to talk about herself, and you're so smitten that you ignore this one-sidedness, convincing yourself you have a healthy friendship with her. The rare moment that she asks you anything, you're suddenly agonisingly aware that you're not nearly as interesting as her, and actually have very little going on in your life outside of your nights out with her. You mumble something about how you've been too busy with work to socialise, and that everything's going okay, desperate to switch the conversation. You're conscious enough that you're not cool enough to hang out with her, and the last thing you want to let slip is that social life secretly revolves around her.

Does she always keep you waiting?

Does she always keep you waiting?

2. The Unreliable Friend

This situation is notoriously frustrating; this girl may have a heart of gold, but you just can't invest much energy into your relationship with her. She is full of life, a riot to be with and seems committed to you in real life, but the second that you try and make plans, she will either seem unenthusiastic or will agree to meet and then cancel. This leaves you embarrassed, wondering whether she actually considers you one of her friends, but then you remember that she behaves like that to everyone.

You can't call her out on her chaotic inability to stick to times and dates, so you let everything slide. Sadly, this means that the friendship remains simple "substantial", never progressing, and you never feel like you can rely on or totally open up to her because of this fundamental incompatibility.

3. The Judgemental Friend

You may be no Miley Cyrus but certainly enjoy the odd bit of hedonism; this girl makes it her mission to belittle you every time she hears that you've indulged in anything of the debaucherous nature, convinced that she's an absolute straightedge saint. She probably does better than you in terms of work, but she also spends all her weekends plugging away at her desk, too uptight to respect that others like to let loose once in a while.

You wonder what's behind her judgemental front; surely she must be like you in some ways, anxious, insecure and keen to forget woes with a bit of alcohol? However, she shows no signs of sympathising with your needs, quickly turning cold and snappy when she hears that you've been out on the town with some of your mutual friends. For this reason, you share absolutely nothing personal with her. Your friendship revolves around a couple of topics, maybe Spanish and TV shows, never dipping into the intimate realm. You consider her a very situational friend and wouldn't mind never seeing her again if you two naturally parted ways. After all, she would never want to hear about your life or meet for drinks, the latter being ironic considering you feel like you need to lose a bit of sobriety to cope with her stern face.

4. The Reckless Friend

This girl is a fantastic friend but a shameless alcoholic. She's so charismatic and carefree that you'd enjoy your nights out with her, if they didn't end in chaos each time. You're sick and tired of her going off with strangers while drunk and ending up comatose in locked club toilet cubicles. Part of you would love to take part in her wild antics, but you know that one of you needs to be the parent figure, so you're constantly cleaning up after her (physically and metaphorically).

It is likely that stress and work caused her to deteriorate over years, resulting in her now approaching drinking with the completely irresponsible attitude of "let's get as trashed as possible". It's unfortunate that she can't control herself, because she's gregarious and a fabulous companion. Clearly, certain opportunities for fun like travelling abroad with her are out of the question. You're left hoping that one day she will have such a bad experience that she won't return to tragic levels of intoxication, but this seems unlikely. After all, you've dealt with her on one or two shocking nights featuring projectile vomit, angry bartenders and the police, and those hardly seemed to put her off. She bounces back, like an enthusiastic hippo into a mud bath, clearly harbouring some psychological issues causing her to behave in this way. She's lovely but you worry about her greatly.

5. The Needy Friend

Even the most genuine people tend to have one friend who is just below them in terms of popularity and who they slightly resent being held back by. In your heart of hearts, you do like this girl, and she brings out an honest side of you. You don't feel judged by her as she is not on any form of pedestal, so you open up more to her than you do your other friends, but you still don't truly consider her someone important (shame on you!).

In some ways, she knows you better than anyone else. She absolutely loves and emulates you, desperate to be included in all your plans. You may find that you rarely ask her about her life, because she diverts the conversation whenever you do. Instead, you tell her stories of your wild adventures as she listens with bright eyes.

You do enjoy the friendship, but when you see that she's been invited to a party you're attending, you die a little bit inside, aware that she will stick with you throughout the night and make you look bad in front of your more enthralling friends.

You are fond of this girl and share some interests with her, but she's definitely someone that you want to keep as far as possible from your "inner circle". This is unfortunate, as she regards you one of her most appealing friends.

Questions & Answers

Question: My best friend is too reckless with her life, and I worry about her. I don't know what's going on in her head suddenly, but I don't want her getting hurt. What do I do?

Answer: It all depends on how old you two are. If you're teenagers, unfortunately, this situation is relatively common. A lot of young people go off the rails, usually temporarily, but sometimes irreversibly. Is she into drugs and a reckless drinker? You should definitely have a serious conversation with her - it's essential, however awkward, as it may save her life.

If it's like pulling teeth and the message doesn't get through, alert someone else (another friend of hers, her sibling or even her parents). Better safe than sorry.