21 Verrrrry Subtle Signs Of A Fake Friendship That Might Make You Reevaluate Your Social Circle

    "You know it's a bad friendship when you're exhausted after hanging out or talking on the phone with them — not because of all the fun you've had together, but because they've sucked up your energy and emotion. It could be for a number of reasons, but it's a good indication something is very wrong."

    We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us subtle signs of a toxic friendship that more people should know. Here are the eye-opening results:

    1. "When they’re not happy for you…ever. If you have something good (new relationship, new job, etc.), and they just don’t seem happy, but are instead weird and jealous. Big red flag."

    "Also, people who never reach out, but make you do all the work and seem to prefer it that way."


    Two women talking on the couch

    2. "When they expect something in return for helping you out with something. Real friends will help you with no hesitation because they love you — not because they want a reward. Of course, you should show appreciation, but in no way does appreciation need to be physical gifts; it may just be a thank you or a big hug."


    Someone handing someone else a wrapped gift

    3. "They can talk all day to you about their problems, but the moment you bring up your own, they cut you off after hearing the first few details with how they 'understand' exactly what you’re feeling and use it as an opportunity to segue into talking about their own stuff again — OR, they simply minimize your problem with something like, 'Someone has it worse than you, look at it that way.'"

    "Anyone who overrides or invalidates you is toxic. Even if it seems like 'their heart is in the right place.'"


    People talking at a get-together

    4. "Anyone who has some kind of weird system or order when it comes to friends. I get having a number one BEST friend, not what I'm talking about. But literally being 35 years old and them putting you in fourth of fifth place, having this person before this person, having three best friends and putting them in order — that kind of thing."

    "It's extremely childish and shows that they don't care about the actual people — just what they can get out of you when your number comes up."


    Two women shopping and walking down the street

    5. "When they're selfish but also kind. I had a friend for over 40 years, and the lockdown gave me a lot of time to think. She was very selfish but didn't have a mean bone in her body. I honestly don't think she ever did it purposefully — she always lived in her own little world and was pretty clueless. But when I tried to talk to her about it, she couldn't accept what I was saying and just brought up every crappy thing I'd ever done in life."

    "I decided I was done putting up with her behavior and ended the friendship. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner."


    A woman looking stressed and rubbing the sides of her face

    6. "If you feel stressed out when bringing them around your other friends. My ex-best friend was constantly finding issues within the entire friend group that I couldn’t see and trying to pit me against them. Now that I’ve dropped her, I realize the reason I felt stressed out whenever we all would hang out was solely because of her."


    People hanging out together and laughing

    7. "When you call them, and they don't answer — OK not a big deal at all. But then, they don't call you back all day, all week, or all month. And you realize the only thing keeping the friendship going is you."

    "If they only speak to you as a response to your contact and never initiate contact on their own, cut them loose. You'll instantly feel lighter."


    A man on his phone

    8. "One of my other friends and I had a friend that was only ever interested in doing things if it benefitted her. She was also very up her own backside and expected every conversation to revolve around her. My friend and I would ask in group chats how each other is, but the toxic one never asked after our lives but just continued to talk about herself."

    "The day my other friend and I called it quits was when my friend’s mom was gravely ill, and my friend had been told she may not be around for much longer.  No less than 10 minutes after being told this, the toxic friend in the group chat started going on about her boyfriend and how she is 'living her best life!' without a single thought or consideration to her friend who has just received such devastating news! She is no longer in the friend circle!"


    Women in the back of a limo drinking champagne

    9. "When they don’t know your birthday. I’m not saying it has to be memorized, but maybe have some kind of system in place. I gave some of my friends in college a pass, but then the guy who lived down the hall, who I barely talked to, wished me a happy birthday (and kept it up for the rest of college). If he can make the effort of remembering, someone I consider a friend should, too."


    Someone holding out a birthday cake

    10. "One-uppers! One of my ex-friends was soooo bad about this. I could say something simple like, 'Hey, sorry I’ve had a bad mental health day,' and she would reply with something like, 'I totally feel you, I got yelled at by my boss, and I cried so hard I passed out and cracked open my head and had to go to the hospital by ambulance, and then when I got home, I had an eviction sign on my apartment door.' (This was a mashup of things that had happened to her throughout our friendship; I wouldn’t be surprised if all of those supposedly coincided on one day, though.) It just made me feel so unheard and like she only talked to me to make me pity her."


    Two women talking surrounded by trees

    11. "When they disrespect boundaries. I had a friend who would message me 24/7 and get angry when I left them on seen/didn't regularly send messages in the morning and at night and expressed that I don't like to talk 24/7."

    "They would also spill details about their sexual life despite my discomfort. Needless to say, it's one of many reasons why they're an ex-friend."


    A man on his phone

    12. "When you're exhausted after hanging out or talking on the phone with them — not because of all the fun you've had together, but because they've sucked up your energy and emotion. It could be for a number of reasons, but it's a good indication something is very wrong."


    A man looking drained in his car

    13. "When you find yourself apologizing to them ALL THE TIME. It always seems like they’re right and you should apologize, but none of your other friends seem to get upset by you this much."


    "Yes! They are NEVER wrong — everything is always your fault."


    Flowers with a card saying, "Sorry!"

    14. "When they give qualifying compliments. I had a friend that used to go, 'I love that shirt on you. It really works for you, but I could never wear it for XYZ reason.' She was so self-involved and insecure that a compliment could never be about me — it always had to try and make me feel less because she was deeply insecure and jealous. Your insecurities are not other people's responsibilities."


    Two women trying on clothes in a store

    15. "When they only contact you when it's convenient for them. I had a friend who moved during high school and stopped calling me. When she come back, she apologized and then did it again."


    People hanging out at a social gathering, with their phones on the coffee table

    16. "Adopting, or attempting to define themselves by, your accomplishments or strengths, rather than appreciating their own accomplishments or strengths. For example, I’ve been working out almost every day since I was 12, have run marathons, whatever. My friend, who barely works out, began to lie about how much she was working out, that she was training for a marathon, and that she’d essentially been doing professional-level training since high school. I was on a huge kick of reading the classics for a while. The same friend, who barely reads, started to lie about how much she was reading and had read. It should be noted that her lies are blatant — she’s unable to discuss the very basics of what it means to train intensely or of what she’s purportedly read. Her doing this speaks to her enormous insecurities and lack of a sense of self, which is too bad, because she is incredibly accomplished and amazing, and has many traits I really admire and wish I had."

    "Before anyone tells me to end this friendship, she’s been in therapy and working through these issues, but there were some tough years during which I thought about cutting her out of my life many times."


    People running in a marathon

    17. "When they criticize all your relationships/other friendships. I had a friend who kept doing that under the pretext that she was 'looking out' for me. It’s just a way to isolate you and better manipulate you."


    A couple talking on the couch

    18. "When that friend invites you to events where a gift is expected — birthday party, baby shower, etc. — but otherwise doesn't invite you to other things. But you find out about other plans on social media, and they're also too busy to attend any events that you host. No thank-you cards for attending events and bringing gifts either. I have a 'friend' who does this."


    A group of people clinking glasses

    19. "You're the one who reaches out, texts first, invites them over, whatever. The only time they get in touch with you is when they need something, even if it's small, like asking what that hangover medicine was called. Stop being the one to reach out, and see how long they go without talking to you. It's eye-opening."


    "Big yes omg! I speak from experience. I cut off so many friends because I realized I was the only one reaching out and texting first all the time. I decided not to reach out, and our contact completely stopped — that was it for me. Good for me, though, because I'm far better off without such 'friends.' I'm actually going through this right now with someone who was supposed to be one of my 'close friends.' I've just decided not to put much effort in and bother reaching out and texting first. If they can't be asked to reach out unless they want something, then that's that, and I'm not wasting my time and energy further. It's exhausting!"


    Men talking and laughing on the basketball court

    20. "When you hear them talk about all your other friends behind their back to the point where you become so self-conscious about what you're doing and saying because they will find something wrong about it and talk about you behind your back."

    "I had a friend group back in middle school, and it was toxic from the start — I just never realized it because it was all I ever knew. It wasn’t until I found some other friends that I realized that I was never really able to be myself around that friend group. That friend group led me to have severe social anxiety to the point that I would rarely go outside when I didn’t have to because of fear of being judged. Near the end of my relationship with them, I always felt targeted. They would pressure me into doing things and get mad when I wouldn’t because 'it’s not a big deal, like, just do it,' and I just became sick of it. I eventually cut ties with them, so now I’m all good."


    High school girls congregating near the lockers

    And finally...

    21. "You can tell a LOT about someone from their sense of humor. I had a 'friend' who was very okay making jokes at other people's expense but would immediately get upset or offended if someone made a similar joke about her. With many of my other friends, we make jokes that poke fun at each other, and that's a way we express our affection. But it's always mutual. If it's not mutual, then that person — consciously or not — thinks less of you than themselves."


    Two guys laughing

    What are some other subtle signs of a toxic friend? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

    Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.