top of page
  • Writer's pictureAva Marie LaMonica

5 Types of Toxic Friends Who You Might Not Know Are Toxic

Chances are, you have encountered someone who fits the criteria for one of these.

Photo by roya ann miller on Unsplash

People are quick to label a friendship as “toxic”.

But what is “toxic”?

Toxic is not limited to the backstabbing, heartless friend who tries to pursue your significant other behind your back.

Toxic traits can show themselves in a variety of ways, sometimes being so subtle that you do not even realize that they are indeed toxic.

Here are five types of toxic friends that you might not know are toxic:


1) The Flake

The word “toxic” might seem like a far reach for a flaky friend, but there are a plethora of reasons why a flaky friend can fit the criteria.

Check out my article:

Stop Normalizing Flaky Friends (


  • If you find yourself pouring so much effort into a friendship and never receive that effort in return…

  • If your friend consistently cancels on you or always seems to be looking for a better option…

  • If you feel like you would never see your friend again if you were to never initiate plans with them…

Then they are most likely a toxic flaky friend.

The truth is, people can come up with excuses all they want…but if they habitually get your hopes up to hang out, only to give a half-hearted excuse as to why they cannot, they don’t truly care or value your friendship.


2) The Opportunist/The Freeloader

It is common sense that friends should help their friends. You know, give them rides, offer to pay for their drink occasionally if they are short on money…

But…the problem arises when a friend expects these favors and takes advantage of your gestures.

This is likely a friend who also rejects your favors or needs the rare times you ask for them and overall uses your friendship as a crutch to benefit from.

Opportunist friends will also be the ones to mooch off things they know will serve them.

For example: You invite them to a party. Not only do they show up empty-handed, but they eat, drink, and indulge in whatever the party has to offer and leave with no recognition or appreciation.

Often, this toxic trait may be overlooked because it is generally a good thing to go above and beyond for your friend, so by constantly catering to their needs, you might feel like you’re just doing the right thing and being a true friend.

But if you often find yourself feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by your friend’s neediness and never receive any type of appreciation or reciprocation…chances are they are an opportunist and taking advantage of your friendship.

This can lead to a very toxic and stressful relationship.


3) The Clingy One

Now, everyone has different comfort levels with their friendships.

Some friends like to spend every waking minute with each other, while other friends like to keep a certain level of space. Others are caught somewhere in-between.

A clingy friend, however, does not have respect for the other friend’s comfort level when it comes to this.

They may want to hang out 24/7 and take it personally if you spend time with another friend or sometimes even a significant other without them.

A clingy friend might often invite themselves to occasions and lack boundaries when it comes to your personal responsibilities or comforts.

This can lead you to feel anxious doing things without them, because of their negative reaction.

While this might not always stem from bad intentions, a long-term clingy friend can definitely become toxic and cause you to feel smothered, trapped, and weighed down.


4) The Jealous One

Everyone gets jealous. I’m not going to go on a spiel on how jealousy in itself is a toxic, abnormal trait like so many people do.

Jealousy to an extent, keyword “extent”, is a normal human emotion.

Every human being has felt jealous at some point in their life and if you claim you have never, you’re lying.

Jealousy becomes toxic when it is taken out on others.

Let us decipher the differences between normal jealousy and toxic jealousy:

  • Normal jealousy: Your friend is constantly failing in the relationship department, but you manage to find the guy/girl of your dreams. Although your friend is happy for you, inside, they cannot help but feel slightly jealous and yearn to have the happy love life that you have. Internally, they may have insecurities and self-doubts, wondering, “What’s wrong with me?” That being said, they are genuinely happy for you and if they do express how they feel, they do so while also reminding you of how happy they are for you. Because they truly are.

  • Toxic jealousy: Picture the same scenario. Your friend’s love life is a mess and they just cannot seem to find Mr. or Mrs. Right. You are flourishing in a blissfully romantic relationship. Instead of feeling any bit of happiness for you, your friend will express no positive emotion towards your relationship. They may also throw slight digs in here and there or subtly mock your relationship.

This is one specific example that contrasts normal jealousy from toxic jealousy, but of course, it is not limited to a relationship scenario.

Maybe your friend doesn’t compliment or praise you that much anymore. Maybe they don’t support your goals or accomplishments. Maybe they criticize or critique your relationship with another friend.

Whatever it may be, a toxically jealous friend contradicts everything a friend should be. It is something the friend needs to personally work on for them to grow as a person and be a better friend to you.


5) The Narcissist

Here’s that famous word that reeks of toxicity — narcissist. A narcissist will often latch themselves onto a kind and generous friend. Empaths are even more at risk of befriending a narcissist.

Narcissists like things their way or the highway. You might find that they are often droning on and on about themselves.

Their wants, their needs, their interests, their life is more valuable and important than anything or anyone else.

They may gaslight you, dismiss your feelings, and manipulate you if you express your feelings or concerns.

Usually, a narcissist does not reveal their true colors in a friendship right away.

In fact, they may seem like the total opposite initially due to their frequently charming nature.

Here’s one subtle way to tell if your friend is a narcissist without the blatantly obvious traits:

The friend vents to you about a life problem. You listen intently and give the most genuine and thoughtful advice.

One day, you decide to vent to your friend about your life problem. Rather than being a listening ear, your friend brushes you off, barely listens, or finds a way to bring your problem back to themselves.

A true friend will legitimately care about you and want to help you with any problem that you are struggling with.

A narcissist is not only too self-centered to deal with your issues, but they also lack the empathy to care about you and your feelings.

A narcissist is always right, and no one can tell them otherwise.

And if you try to tell them they’re wrong, they’ll almost always make your life a living hell.


If you have a friend who fits one or more of the five things listed, then it is seriously time to evaluate your relationship.

No, this does not necessarily mean to instantly “drop them” or “cut them off”. I despise that expendable mindset unless it’s absolutely necessary and you do not see this person changing…but be sure to speak up, express yourself, and stand your ground.

If you find this does not work, then let them go.


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page