When we hear the word “friend”, we think of love, trust, laughter, a feeling of security, comfort and happiness. It reminds us of bike rides on summer afternoons, camp-outs in the backyard and toasted marshmallows, of pillow fights and slumber parties. Life’s precious moments are always shared with a friend: first crush, first kiss, and first love. Friends share our joys, sorrows and triumphs. They brighten our lives and make it worth living. Although a friendship is always perceived as something positive, something that can make us feel better and make life more pleasant, it can also make a person’s life miserable.

Some people boast of having a BFF (best friend forever), probably somebody they’ve known since their training-pants-wearing days. But, for a lot of people, (especially women) a BFF is a mythical creature—female friendships don’t often turn out the way they should. A toxic friendship is a relationship that is consistently negative and draining. When a friend stresses you out, is unreliable and overly demanding and only takes what he could get out of you, then that person is toxic. In short, this person is more harm than good, which is what friendships are supposed to be. A toxic friendship can be one of our life’s experiences that is hard to forgive and forget.

Toxic friends come in various shapes and sizes. They all have something in common, though: they can hurt and harm you eventually. Watch out for these main types and try to avoid them at all costs. The Drainer: she thinks she carries the whole world on her shoulders—she always needs help but would rarely offer any. This person will only be friends with you as long as she can use you for her own devious designs. She always does the taking—she rarely knows how to give. The Judge: when this person is done with you, your self-esteem will be totally eroded.

Hurling Criticisms or judgments is her expertise, and pointing out your faults her hobby. Her life’s one and only goal is to make you feel smaller than Thumbelina. The Leaner: as clingy as a vine, she’s always knocking on your door. She is needier than a little girl, usually eats up a lot of your time and is more jealous than a lover. The Gossip: this dirt-disher can make you laugh and feel as if you’re sharing something intimate. She’s so smooth that you won’t notice it when she eggs you to share something private about yourself. Her mission: spread the word and betray your trust.

The Narcissist: this self-centered diva is incapable of thinking about other people (that includes you) because she’s too busy thinking of herself. Turn on the spotlight and the world becomes her stage. The Teaser: this is one witty and entertaining performer. She’s the clown of the group, but guess who’s the butt of her nasty jokes? YOU. Like the Judge, she’s good at undermining somebody—in a humorous way, of course. The Competitor: she always wants to be the first, the “one up”. Compete with her and she’ll do anything within her powers to swat you like a fly. She’s probably keeping you around because you’re a good sport.

The Man-Killer: this friend is charming, a great listener, almost perfect. Enter a man—your brother, your boyfriend, etc – she lights up her 100-watt smile, bats her eyelashes and you become invisible. Flirting is second nature to her, and it makes you feel insignificant and awkward when anything that resembles a male is present. Not all friends are worth keeping. Toss the nasty ones out and have a healthier life. Life is too precious to waste on anything toxic.

Author's Bio: 

The author of this article Ruth Purple is a Relationships Coach who has been successfully coaching and guiding clients for many years. Ruth recently decided to go public and share her knowledge and experience through her website relazine.com. You can sign up for her free newsletter and join her coaching program.